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What You Need - Tools Of The Trade
Model Portfolio - The portfolio is usually an A4 sized plastic or leather covered book with transparent sleeves in the middle. Photographs of the model that have been taken over a period of time in different situations and by different photographers are enlarged and are then placed inside. All models take them to castings and auditions and often the agency keeps a copy of the portfolio so that they can show it to any clients, which may walk into the agency. When models first start in the industry they will only have a few pictures to put in their portfolio. With time models build up a variety of different pictures, some of them from test shoots and assignments they have completed. Portfolios are not a necessity for anyone looking to work in the film extra or promotions industry, so don't be persuaded into paying out for one. Portfolios are not needed for young babies and children, as they are still growing and constantly changing. Most agencies suggest a few test shot pictures on a regular basis such as 6 monthly or annually, rather than a portfolio.

Portfolio and Photographic Costs - As we have already mentioned, portfolios are built up over time. When you first start out, you should have had at least one test shoot. A test shoot may only consist of 36/72 shots, but it will give you the opportunity to show what you can do in front of the camera. If you just achieve 1 good photograph per role of film then it is still a success. Once you have 3 or 4 good pictures of yourself, then this is enough for your agency to start promoting you. More photos for your portfolio will come from the jobs you do. You should listen carefully to you agents choice of photographer. Test photographs generally cost £50/ £60 per roll and then you also have to pay for prints at between £10/ £15 each. If you agent has a particular style, then there is no point ignoring their advice and picking a completely different style of photographer. If the pictures are not what the agency require then they will simply not use them. However, if you are more of a freelance model working with a number of agents, then you should carefully choose a photographer. You need to get a varied range of photographs which are not too way out, which can be used by all your agents.

Model Directory/Agency Year Book - This is just like a telephone directory, although directories vary in size. On each page the agency places one or more models best and most recent portfolio pictures. The directory is sent to photographers, casting agents and potential clients so that they can if they wish select the people that they want to use from here. There is sometimes a charge for entering this, but it should only be taken from moneys earned once the model gets assignments. Agents should give you the choice if you wish to be in it, as it does help to get you work. More recently some agencies have put their directory onto the internet. Agency websites enable the models to change the pictures more often and it can be a far more efficient and effective way for the agency to show the whole selection of models especially those who join during the year

Head Sheets - These are produced by the agency to promote all of the models on their books. Agency head sheets are usually poster sized and contain a head shot photograph of each of the models. Those with a lot of models will have one sheet for female and one for male models. You can usually see the agency head sheet in the reception area of the model agency you visit.

Model Cards - All working models are expected to have an up to date model card. They are usually A5 in size and printed on card. They usually have a headshot on the front and between 3 & 9 photos on the back. They can be produced in black and white but always look better in colour. Unlike the agency directory and head sheet fees, you will be expected to pay for these model cards yourself and they belong to you so if you leave the agency, and you paid for them, they are yours to take with you. Every time you go to a casting or assignment you should leave your card with the client. The agency also uses these cards to send to prospective clients. Model cards are not needed for small children as they would be out of date within months, if not weeks.

Call the people at Publicity Cards and quote Oska's Agency Cardiff. Publicity Cards can be contacted on 08702 403375 or 07751 220100

The Internet - Many agencies are now replacing model directories by putting their models upon the Internet. This can mean that pictures are easily updated. Your appearance upon the site should be optional and not a requirement of your agency.

Training - This is sometimes paid for new models by their agency and the cost deducted from fees earned once the new model is found work. However, not all agencies are large enough to afford to do this, so the cost may fall upon the model since technically a model is self employed and all costs are tax deductible. Top models such as Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista, Kate Moss and Claudia Schiffer all had to be trained in catwalk skills in order to be able to command the huge fees they now earn. The rule of this being that they had to LEARN to EARN. The famous Judy James School of Modelling trained Naomi Campbell and she took up a part-time weekend job in order to be able to pay for this. At fashion castings they will always ask to see the model walk and the better your confidence and posture, the better your chances of being successful. However, you should really only consider training once you are taken on by an agency and be wary of anyone who offers you a one day model course for £200 or more. It is impossible to train a catwalk model fully in one day, catwalk training actually takes time, practice and effort!