Back in high school, my friends and I used to love watching Eddie Murphy stand-up comedy. One friend in particular (shout out!!! Not a model mom, but I’ll make her read this today!) could perform the sketches with amazing accuracy and timing. A bit I remember particularly was about the ice cream truck coming and a kid who gets an ice cream and holds out the cone to offer a lick…”Wanna lick?” and then pulls it back and says, “Psych!” That’s basically been burned into my brain for 25 years. Cracks me up every time. (Here’s a link to the bit…warning: strong language and sexy black man in red leather.)
So my point is this: sometimes modeling can be “Wanna lick? … Psych!” A friend (shout out!!!) messaged me last night wondering if I was going to take on the subject of…dramatic pause…being a backup kid at a photo shoot.
I can say, without fail, that my daughter’s three best bookings (in terms of “name” and “coolness” – not necessarily in terms of money or exposure) were a jewelry company that features blue boxes and two shoots for a doll company that features – hmmm, well, let’s just say it can take your kid’s college fund rather quickly if you buy their stuff. I think you get what I’m saying, right? But those three shoots? No pictures. She shot both times for the dolls – one they shot four girls and chose one for the ad campaign, and the other time they shot a ton of girls and used a few but I never found pictures of my daughter. She never even shot for the jewelry company; she just stayed on set during the shoot and two other girls shot. She got paid for all three; and not even a bad rate. Same rate as the girls who shot. (Well, the first doll shoot paid hourly and then a usage fee for the girl they selected, and obviously we didn’t get the usage fee. It was the first job for the girl who did print, so I was very happy for her. Shout out!!!) So, for all three of those shoots? “Wanna lick? Psych!”
Now I’ll give you the opposite scenario. I got a call one random summer afternoon that my daughter had been selected to be the backup for an insurance company shoot. It was a big production shoot by an ad agency (love those) and paid extremely well just for backup. I didn’t even remember going to the go-see. I was like, “Hellz yeah, we’ll sit around and do nothing for that money!” When we got to the shoot, the producer told us we both girls would shoot and both would be paid the same principal rate (fist bump!) and then after all was said and done, my daughter was the one who printed. (Not my favorite tear sheet by any stretch of the imagination – shelooked kind of haggard – but it was a fun shoot on a beach on a gorgeous summer day.)
What you need to know, especially with younger kids, is that it’s entirely likely that you may go to a shoot and not shoot. Or not print. Or maybe it printed somewhere but you will never find it. Or maybe your kid’s feet will print. Or you’ll be in the window of the gap with a giant flower covering your kid’s face. Or maybe you’ll get to the shoot and your kid will be a total beast that day and no amount of iPad/candy/toy/playground bribery will get a good mood. Any one of those things can happen and you need to be totally ready for it. For babies, they may hire two or even four babies to get one look shot, the first one may nail it, and the others will get sent home. Everyone gets paid (although occasionally there are separate rates for backup, but that is more the exception than the rule). Yay! Your kid booked, but sorry; no tear sheets to look for in a few months.
Flush and pray!
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|The insurance company shoot with the "grandma" (like, a couple years older than me!)