Thursday, August 24, 2006

Modeling for Teens....

Okay, this is the post that I have been dreading the most. The Baby post had me sweating...This one gave me an eye twitch. We get more calls from and about teens than any other kind of call. Do I have something against teens? Absolutely NOT. Teenagers are fascinating; you can take a huge cross section of them and not find two that are remotely alike only to discover that half of them are best friends....They are often the most accepting and the least accepting....They can be innocent and at the same time sage. (Yes- sage. Do you know who the lead singer of the Greenday is? See? That counts for wisdom in some circles)

Alright, I have stalled long enough. Here is the deal with Teens and modeling: It is just like baby modeling except they are taller. Seriously. If you live in a small city and there are no industries that have their headquarters in your city (here is that reference again) then there is no place for teens to model. (The hinky part is if you tell a 15 month old they can't model the repercussions aren't as grave as telling a 15 year old the same thing- go figure)

So here it is again: Teens are cast for ads like clothing make up and hair care products. If there is no department store headquartered where you live, then they won't cast for catalog models there. All the big make up companies find their models in NY and LA or use celebs. (See, even the big time models have competition! Doesn't that warm the cockels of your heart...Whatever a cockle is)
The thing that makes this such a sticky problem is that the people that want to model more than any other faction or demographic on the planet are TEEN GIRLS. And who's spirit do we want to break less than theirs? Like they don't have enough to deal with...Acne, peer pressure, physics lab, rising make up prices, shrinking skirts....teen boys....
So your teen daughter comes to you and says: "Mom, Dad, I want to model." Here's where I could say "RUN LIKE A RAT FROM A BURNING BUILDING" but that probably wouldn't be helpful huh? :-)
Every parent thinks that their children are beautiful (I know this writer does). I can't think of too many things that are less subjective than beauty to begin with but then you have to factor in that size and weight matter and no one cares if they are a straight A student, student council president or make their bed everyday. NOW factor in that where you live can put you at at a huge disadvantage and what you have is potential for major disappointment.

So what's a parent to do? You explain to them that there are approximately 1.4 billion women in the world and about 12.5 more since you started reading this blog. Then let them know that the number of super models in the world wouldn't even fill the closest Abercrombie and Fitch. Those are some crazy numbers. I am not saying you can't have your dream (or we wouldn't have ANY super models would we?) but you can't discount these kind of odds either.
The realities of trying your hand at this in another city is fodder for another post.....more to come...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

"Looking for an agent?"

So you think you want to model and you would like to have an agent. Good idea. Could you do this without an agent? Sure- I have done it myself. Is it easier with an agent or manager? You bet.
You can try to paper your small city with your head shots, comp cards or zeds and hope that potential clients hang on to them and call you OR you can have your agent do all the work.
So how do you find an agent? Here is once again the small town skinny. (if you try this in NYC or LA you may get an un-cheerful earful OR a long laundry list OR a "who are you and why do you want to know?") So if you are in a smaller town then here is a down and dirty shortcut and it is nearly foolproof.

I am always saying that this business is just like any other so you have to look at it like any other business. If you moved to a new town and wanted to know where you should shop for shoes you would ask someone who had nice shoes. If you needed to find someone to color your hair, you would ask someone with nice hair color. (and hope they tell you the truth :) And so it is with Talent agents but here is the hook: if you want to find a good one- don't go where the models go- go where the CLIENTS go. To find out who the best agent in town is, call the biggest commercial photographers and production companies (look them up in the yellow pages or online) and ask them who THEY call when they need a model. If they say all say they call XYZ Talent then BINGO you have it. If you get a receptive person on the other end of the line, then you may want to ask them a couple more questions: "Is the agency easy to deal with? Does someone answer the phone full time?" Don't get carried away and inquire if they take babies or how many seniors they have. Ask your two questions and thank them for their time.

Now this doesn't mean that they will accept you or their rates are competitive or that you will think they are swell; it just means that when someone needs a model in your town that you now know who most people call. Like any other business, an agent is probably going to tell you they are the biggest and the best; now you know how to get the real skinny.

Copyright Ann Marie Stonecypher, All rights reserved.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Baby Modeling....

Baby Modeling...there could be an entire blog devoted to this topic but it really isn't that complicated. It is just like any of the other categories of modeling in a "little" city; if you have a company that produces baby products that is based in your area (again with the headquarters thing), there is a good chance that there is a baby modeling market there. It could be clothes, diapers, food, toys or whatever. If not, then you are in a market like most American cities and the requests for babies coincides with the appearance of Haley's Comet.

Every week we get a couple of calls that sound like this (it is funny because nearly EVERY call starts with the same first few lines as if all the mommies are reading from a script) :"I am calling because I want to get my baby into modeling. He/She is beautiful- Not just because he/she is mine, but every where we go people stop and tell us how beautiful he/she is and he/she should model."

I have no doubt that every mom or dad that calls us has a beautiful baby. (most babies are beautiful one way or another) The problem is that if there is no company that needs to hire babies in your market to sell their product (be they pretty, ugly or seed of the Frankenstein), then there is no baby market. I have actually spent a lot of time explaining all of this to parents on the phone to have them say: "Thank you, we will call another agency."As I have said in a previous post: I don't make the news- I just report it.....OYE...It's a good thing I am not a drinker.

There is also the issue of: "Does the baby really need to be cute?" Answer: NO! If given the choice between an average looking baby who has a sweet disposition that will let a perfect stranger hold them verses one that looks like the genetic byproduct of Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt but who won't go to strangers or smile for the camera- the average looking baby will win every time. The subject of cuteness is moot if the baby can't "perform".

So who's gonna call me asking for a baby? The occasional extraordinarily patient photographer that wants to roll the dice and see if a 6 month old baby that they have never met before can be still, cooperative, and happy for several hours under hot lights while simultaneously getting poked, shuffled and prodded, while several strangers stare at him. Then there is the whole issue of dealing with the baby's parents, most of whom who have never experienced any of this before. (Yikkies- that is something for another post altogether!) Hmmmm... And we wonder why there isn't more baby work? LOL

AND there is a very small window of time that humans are even babies. A baby photo is obsolete quicker than a new entry in Nicole Ritchie's buddy list. If someone sends me a baby photo and I don't get a baby request until 6 months after receiving it then I can get pretty much get rid of that photo.

In a small city, babies are usually only cast to accompany a person who actually IS part of the target demographic for the advertiser (a 25- 45 year old for example). That being the case why not hire a 5 year old and make life easy? Why not indeed. :-) In small city markets like this, a 4-9 year old will get a lot more work than babies will(they will often get more work than preteens or teens for that matter which is fodder for another post). A child that is 4-9 is the right size to be photographed smiling hand in hand with a person that is 25-45 to simulate a happy little family. Happy Families sell stuff!

So the bottom line is this: You either live in an area where baby models are in demand or you don't. If you don't and you really, really, really feel a masochistic urge to immortalize your child on a jar of baby food then you'd better strap yourself in! It's a whole different thing trying to get your baby's mug in pantries or toyboxes around the world. You have just entered an alternate dimension- the Big City Baby Modeling Agency. That is so the subject of another post....

Copyright Ann Marie Stonecypher, All rights reserved

Thursday, August 03, 2006

You're 45 years old, 5'5 and a size 8-You're Model Perfect!

So what makes a perfect model in a little city? Quite possibly-YOU!
My most popular model right now is actually an attractive woman who is 47 years old, 5'6" and a healthy size 8. Why does her look work here? Because where we are (and quite possibly where you are as well) our clientele wants someone who can look like a mom, doctor, lawyer, retail customer, patient, waitress etc. Tommy Hilfiger is not trucking through town looking for models; neither is Cover Girl, Victoria's Secret or Pampers (that last one is fodder for another post altogether :-)
Frankly my 5'10" size 3 girls don't get anywhere close to the amount of jobs that my 47 year old woman does. If your town is not a "high fashion" town but is home base to a lot of companies that market to an older demographic, then you may be just what they are looking for.
We are constantly looking for people over 30, different ethnicities and seniors. Let me put it to you this way- If you were the owner of an upscale furniture store and you needed to cast a salesperson and a customer for your next newspaper ad- who would you cast? What if you owned a medical supply company? A nursing home? An autobody repair shop? You get the idea.

To figure out if your look can work in your area, you have to ask yourself what kind of businesses are headquartered in your area? The headquartered part is the key. Most advertising is done out of the company's headquarters (the exception being very large corporations (auto makers etc) who would tend to reach out to ad agencies is big cities) The company hires a local ad agency who hires local photographers who hire local models. Simple right? So here is a shout out to all of you regular guys and can be a BIG model fish in a little city pond if you feel like it!

Copyright Ann Marie Stonecypher, All rights reserved

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Big City vs Little City models...

Well, I might as well start somewhere so I thought I would start here. There is a lot of basic information about this business that people don't have so I am going to start out with the difference between big city modeling and "little city" modeling. (if you aren't living in a city like NYC, LA, Chicago, Miami or Dallas- then you are a "little city")
In a BIG city there are "rules"....lots of have to be a certian height and weight AND have a certain look. (and the look could depend on which way the wind blew up Fifth Avenue this week- it changes all the time) Usually the Big modeling agencies in the BIG Cities are looking for girls 5'9" and over who are THIN (and by "thin" I mean scary-sharp-hip-bones-sticking-out-over-the-waistband-of-your-Seven-for-all-mankind-jeans thin").
Yup- we're talkin' thin here.
Why do they have these rules you ask? Why does Tom Cruise only date gorgeous women? Why do gym teachers make you do push ups? Why does my puppy do his business on my living room rug? ANSWER: Because they can! They have the power- they make the rules. Period. That is the short answer. Here is the long answer. There are different types of models: Print, TV, editorial and runway to make it easy. The runway models have to be tall because the designers like how their clothes look on tall skinny people (no duh). So, if you are a modeling agent in a BIG city and you are going to hire a model, wouldn't you want a model that could be fit into all of these categories? I mean if you hired a gorgeous healthy 5'4" girl for your agency and the call came in for a "runway model" you wouldn't want to have her end up in the mix would you? LOL. So if you have ONLY skinny 5'9" or taller girls in your agency you would never have to worry your head about such things. Simple. (remember folks, I am just reporting the rules, not making them up or endorsing them)
**** For the record, the average "Super Model" is 5'11" and 117lbs. The average WOMAN is 5'4" and 140 lbs. (wow) So that's how it is in the BIG city.

Now for the good news: In a little city you don't have to be tall! Hot Dang!

Why don't you have to be tall in a little city? Because little city agents (that's me) don't usually have designers coming in and ordering up a weeping willow of a girl to strut down a runway. In little cities we have malls with clothes for average size women and if they were to spring for a fashion show there wouldn't be enough 34" inseamed pants to go 'round. I can't imaging if I had to outfit a gaggle of girls who were all over 5'9"- impossible! (I happen to be over 5'9 and until a year or two ago could barely find pants to fit just me) For all intents and purposes, a little city is a designer free zone. The jobs we send models out on are for local companies like furniture stores, banks, medical supply companies and the like. I can't think of one of these stores that would hire Giselle. She would stick out like a sore middle finger. So take heart. If you are NOT 5'11 and 117lbs there is a place for you in this business and it is probably in your own back yard. That is just one of the differences between them and us. More to come....

Copyright Ann Marie Stonecypher, All rights reserved

Here I am.....

Here I am. I have been dragged kicking and screaming into the wonderful world of blogging. I consider myself a fairly technologically inclined person; I am totally dependent on my cell phone, PDA and computer with all it's finery, but somehow blogging scared me. So with a fair amount of prodding from my friends- I have done it. I don't know if anyone cares what I have to say- but here goes. If it turns out that no one cares a wit about my ramblings, then I will just go back to my blog-free life and pick up where I left off :-)

This blog will hopefully help people who have an interest in the modeling business get a handle on what it is all about. This is an industry rife with misinformation and scams. If you have a question or observation that you would like to post, by all means do so. Moms- this means you too! When I am not doing this, that's what I'm doing too: Momming.