In the past 30+ years, we have been asked A LOT of questions… and that’s okay! You should be asking questions about a potential career as a model or actor. Questions like “Where do I Start?” or “How do I know if something is a scam or not?” Modeling and Acting can be a very rewarding and life-changing experience but there are some things you should ask before you get started to ensure your best chance of success in a very competitive industry. We’ve compiled some of our most asked questions below. If your question isn’t listed here, drop us a line and we’ll do what we can to answer them for you 🙂
How To Get Into the Business
Q: How do I meet with an agent?
Q: Do I have what it takes?
A model must no longer look a specific way in order to succeed. Looks can range from character to cutie. As lifestyles change, so do the trends in advertising, television commercials, print ads and fashion. Socioeconomic trends plays an important role in determining which looks will be in demand. Model & Talent Agents decide who to represent based on their clients current demands. Judging an individual’s potential for success can be difficult in this field. Often more important than any other physical feature is attitude, personality and a sparkle from within. This will inspire decision makers to book the appropriate model/talent. Everyone has their own look which makes them unique. The modelling field is very diversified and utilizes people of many different looks and talents. Persistence and professionalism are the keys to success.
Q: Do I need acting experience and training?
You don’t need experience to start out but experience is a vital part of the entertainment business if you are serious about your career. You should always be training, working on and improving your craft in order to book the job. You should also always be looking for work in your own time on top of what the agency is getting you in order to grow your resume and gain more experience.
The more experience you have/the more on your resume, the more the casting director’s trust you to do the job and can increase your chances of getting booked. Often times to get paying gigs, you have to do a lot of non-paying work to build your experience level/resume.
Q: Do I have to take a course to become a model?
No, but it helps! Professional training for modeling and especially acting can be a vital advantage in any highly competitive field and most clients do not want to book a total beginner. Besides, the skills and knowledge acquired during training can be applied to any other pursuit or endeavor.
Q: Do I need to spend lots of money to be a model in Canada?
Models are self employed and work as independent contractors. You are starting your own business, therefore like any business you must invest for your business to succeed.
Q: People tell me if an agency likes you they should pay for everything? Is this true?
This is a common misconception. If an agency decides to advance funds to a model for photos, housing etc, it is a LOAN. The models must pay this back whether the model works or not. If a model develops a track record of continual bookings and income, agencies may advance some funds. Carolyn’s does not advance money to any new models.
Q: I really want to be in the catalogues
Catalogue houses use professional models that have developed to a professional level. Catalogue houses do not have time to waste training new models.
Q: Do I have to have a portfolio?
A portfolio is crucial! Not having a portfolio for a go see/open call is like going to a job interview without a resume. A portfolio will aid you in receiving jobs because it demonstrates your capabilities and potentials.
A portfolio is a model’s book that is built up over time, not in one day. In order for any agency to start marketing you, you will need a least a few good pictures. For fashion models in particular, it is a lengthy and expensive procedure but is necessary to stay competitive and working. For some models, particularly those seeking work in television, fashion shows & promotions, A portfolio may not always be required. However it is proof of a models experience.
Q: What should I put in my portfolio if I am just starting in this business?
You should have a couple of photos if your just starting. This should include a head shot (close up shot of your face), Full length body & a 3/4 Length shot (from head to hips). When you are selecting photos try to keep in mind different looks, i.e.: a casual look, a polished look, a current/trendy look. This will demonstrate to a client that you are versatile.
Q: What do Carolyn's Specialty Workshops Offer?
Carolyn’s offers a variety of new and exciting workshops. these workshops will help you gain the confidence and knowledge you need to succeed in this industry.
Q: What are Signs of a Scam?
Be cautious if an agency tells you any of these things listed below.
– “We can guarantee you work”
– “You are exactly what were looking for”
– “Babies require professional pictures or portfolios.”
Q: What questions should I ask before registering with an agency?
-What associations is it members of?
-What jobs/contracts have the models/talent received?
-Do agents and bookers from major agencies around the world visit looking for new talent?
-Is there any type of administration fee?
-What percentage is their commission on bookings?
You should feel comfortable with who represents you
You're In! Now What?
Q: How soon can I expect to see myself on the web site?
All models and actors will be able to be viewed by a log in password provided to clients for security purposes. Only our professional models and actors division will be displayed without a log in feature.
Q: What does "Booking out" mean?
“Booking Out” is a term we use when you the model/talent calls the agency to inform us that you will be unavailable from X date to X date. Please be sure to tell us in advance of when you will be unavailable. Do not contact us the night before as we may have already submitted you for a possible job. This is a business and our role is to submit and promote the appropriate people to casting directors and clients to get you that audition /go see. If you can’t make that audition/go see you have taken away that spot from someone else. We then have to call the casting director or client with a regret. By doing this, it can potentially give the agency a bad name among casting directors and can therefore affect the entire roster.
Q: How soon can I expect to get work? Or How come I'm not getting any work?
This is a question that we cannot answer. Getting work in this industry depends on a wide variety of things. How much experience does someone have, how busy is the industry are you what casting directors are looking for at the moment, do you have the knowledge to land the part or booking when you get that audition or go see?
#1 – We do not give people auditions. It is the agency’s responsibility to submit your pictures to casting directors and clients for work that may be coming up. It is then up to the casting director to call us with who they would like to see.
#2- To get an audition is an amazing opportunity! You have to remember that in order to get that audition you have just been selected over thousands of other people to go in and meet with that client or casting director.
#3- If you actually get an audition, SHOW UP! DO NOT BE LATE! Casting directors work very hard to have everyone scheduled in at appropriate times. You also may have to audition with other people. If you are late chances are casting directors will not see you. It is not tolerated in this business. Time is money! This is not the first impression you want to make on some one who has the power to give you a job.
#4- Once you get that audition it is up to you to land that booking. Don’t have any experience? Never been on an audition? What makes you think that a casting director would pick you over someone who has lots of training and experience? It is a definite must to have some sort of training / experience in this industry. If you go into that audition not knowing what you are doing and you blow it – chances are that they will not call you in again. For more information of training please contact your agent.
A little note… Have you ever watched biographies on your favorite TV and movie stars or seen them talk shows or award shows? Do you think these people became stars overnight? Most of your favorite celebrities worked hard and for almost no money for many years before getting that big break. Remember this is a business and like any business you must train yourself and know what you’re doing and gain experience before you begin doing very well.
Q: Why do I need a health and safety certification?
Q: Does the agency give us directions to auditions, Go-Sees or Bookings?
NO WE DON’T!!! At the most, we can sometimes provide you with a closest intersection, but that’s it! We can’t stress how important it is to have a GPS! We are only ever given an address to a location. Not detailed directions on how to get there from your specific location. We do not want to be responsible for you getting lost and not being there on time. Plan your route ahead of time! Please don’t ask us for directions as that is your responsibility.
Q: What can I do during a "Downtime"?
If you find that you are not getting the amount of auditions, booking or go sees that would like, during your downtime gain some experience. Take some workshops & acting classes. Do some community theatre. Try to build up your resume. For models, build up your portfolio by calling photographers to see if anyone is doing any test shoots. Do free fashion shows. Your main goal during this downtime is to GAIN experience.
For more help finding workshops, community theatre contacts, or finding photographers to do test shoots or doing free shows please contact us.
Q: When can I expect payment for a job I did?
Depends on the job. If it was a union job then payment can be expected within two to three weeks. Residuals take longer. For more information on the union see www.actratoronto.com or contact our office.
If you did a non union job for a commercial or any type of print or promotional booking you can expect payment within approximately 3 months. Reason for the length is because once a job is completed we must invoice the client. Then they must invoice their client and then it must travel all the way back down. So by the time all of this happens it is approximately 3 months. Paydays are on the 30th of every month. You must call in to see if payment has arrived. Cheques must be picked up in person unless otherwise requested. The reason for this is because the agency likes to see you!