Doing Your Research Before Committing to a Convention or Modeling School
If you live in a remote area and do not have access to a larger market, i.e. Chicago, New York, Miami, LA, a modeling school or convention can be a great way for you to get started in the business.
There are many advertisements for modeling schools and conventions. Some are legitimate and others are not. You must do your research before spending any amount of money! I answer emails on a daily basis with general questions regarding schools and conventions so do not hesitate to ask questions and get referrals.
A legitimate convention can give potential models the opportunity to be seen by agents from all over the world at one time. The costs can be staggering; however, most of these conventions also offer workshops on the industry as well as photo shoots.
Development plays a huge role in the progression of a new model. Most modeling agencies will do their own development in-house and therefore it is not necessarily required for a model to go to a modeling school first. However, reputable modeling schools not only teach the skills that are useful in modeling but can also offer guidance on personal confidence, poise and style which you can apply in all areas throughout your life. Many of the modeling schools end their classes with attending conventions which is a way for the students to be the most prepared when they meet the multiple agents.
If a company is asking you to pay a signing fee and has no written contract of what they are responsible for, they may not be a reliable company. Any school or convention should list exactly what they provide, i.e. classes (the subject and number), photo shoots, promotion to clients and/or agencies, length of representation, etc. You should not sign anything that limits you to exclusively work with that company as it may keep you from signing with an agency in the future.
Check with open calls first. If you do not have the money to invest in conventions you can attend open calls at almost every agency at no cost. Some agencies only have open call once a week, however, at Elite Chicago you may attend any day of the week promptly at 3:30p.
Always keep in mind that modeling schools and conventions are not a guaranteed entrance into the modeling industry. There are no guarantees in this industry and if someone tells you there are, they may not be a trustworthy source. As discussed in week one, as agents we can only give you the opportunities to meet the clients, but it is up to them to confirm you.
-Alyssa Dilts, Elite Model Management