I have a model-mom friend (shout out!) who is great at helping me with blog topics. A few days ago, she asked, “What is a ‘big booker’?” I thought for a few minutes, and told her something like this.
Some of the biggest bookers I know can book 2-3 times a week, let’s say, 35 weeks of the year. New York’s busy season is basically between late February / early March (late February castings for early March shoots) until mid-October. Those are the shooting times for major back-to-school and holiday ad campaigns. Some companies shoot year ‘round in NYC, so there is regular work to be found all year…and of course the stores that advertise weekly (like Target and Macy’s) are always shooting. The only absolutely dead time is around December 20 until January 15 or so.
So back to the kid who works 60-75 times a year. That’s a major booker, and they are few and far between. You will hear from their parents that they are crazy busy when they are “in size” (fitting into common sample sizes) and that some clients will fiddle with the clothes to fit the model. These are kids we might call “the face of” some brand. For example, I have two friends whose daughters shot for Hanna Andersson for many seasons…and you would know their faces. I know a couple of boys, too, who have had regular gigs with Hanna and J. Crew. They also shoot for tons of other brands on a regular basis, so these are like the child supermodels.
I would say the next category of kid books on average once a week. These are also faces you’d recognize, and very successful models. I would still call them big bookers. Then there are regular bookers – who probably book 3-4 times a month. When my daughter was a size 3, she fit into that category. She had steady enough work to keep us hopping, for sure…and I think for our life (and distance from NYC) that was a pretty good balance for us.
For the past ten months or so, as a size 4, my daughter booked more like 1.5 times a month (but a lot of that was clumped together in the summer, so it seemed busy then) which was still enough for us to feel like she was “in the business” while she was also busy with lots of activities (this year we ended up with Girl Scouts, karate twice a week, ballet, AND she’s performing in the Nutcracker…so that’s two rehearsals a week and all of the tech work is coming up soon). It seems to me that most moms outside of those “big booker” categories would be happy to be in the 2-3 times a month category – just busy enough.
At some point, I should tackle the whole “pulling from school” issue we face. But that's a topic for a different day!
Booking alone isn’t what makes models busy. There are go-sees, which can be 1-3 or 4 times a week during busy seasons, depending on size (as always, sample sizes go out a lot more). During the school year, they tend to be between 3:00 and 5:00, which can make for long days.
And I cannot forget about holds. Even models who don’t book all that often have many holds. Holds are a client’s way of saying “we might want to book this kid, so don’t book him/her for anything else.” I think that even kids who get regular holds are “busy” models – they are on the radar at their agencies, and are very much in demand. Some moms feel like they get a lot of holds and often there is a similar kid who books instead, but there is no scientific explanation for holds. And if you’re a mom getting a lot of holds, your life feels as though you’re booked until 6:00 the night before – because that’s when you usually consider yourself officially released and you’ve probably already scrambled to clear next day and get babysitters for the other kids already. That’s when you need to pour yourself a stiff drink, curse the client who didn’t book your kid – and hope they will next time.
What do you think? Are my estimations off or on? Give me some feedback here, on my Facebook page (The Bizzy Mama) or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check out my Instagram TheBizzyMama for some booking photos (and maybe a pet shot or two). As always, thanks for reading!