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5 Tips for Understanding Your First Modeling Contract

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Signing a contract with a modeling agency is an especially exciting moment for any model just getting started in the industry.  If you’ve reached this point – congratulations!  You’ve just taken a significant step in your career, and it’s a moment you’ll remember forever.   When you first receive the paperwork, though, you may have some questions about the terms and it’s important that you don’t like your excitement override any hesitation.  Here are five tips to making sure you understand everything fully before signing on the bottom line.

First, you’ll probably want to consider having an experienced attorney look over the nitty-gritty details.  Attorneys are well-versed in legal jargon, which may be tough to understand at times.  This professional will be able to go through the entire modeling contract, line by line, and give you a nudge whenever there’s something that is too ambiguous and needs further clarification, or something just doesn’t seem right. 

If you don’t have the money or time to hire an attorney to give your contract a legal review, make sure you have a pen and an extra sheet of paper handy to write down any terms you’ll need clarified in advance.  Remember, this is an important step in your career, and you want your modeling contract to express where you want your career to head.  It also has to be said – there are no stupid questions!  If you are the only one reviewing the document, it’s up to you to get them answered.

Next, you’ll want to pay attention to whether your modeling contract includes the terms ‘exclusive’ or ‘non-exclusive.’  Non-exclusive means you can pursue work on your own without paying the agency a commission for helping you land gigs.  You also have the right to sign non-exclusive contracts with other agencies.  So, if this one doesn’t work out for any reason – you’re not getting enough work or there is a conflict of interest, let’s say – you can build your portfolio with other agencies and outside opportunities.

Remember, the agency receives a commission for any work you book through your modeling contract and the rate is typically in the 20% range.  This means every time you land a gig, this percentage is deducted from your earnings.  Be leery of any company requiring a hefty commission well outside this range.  This could potentially be a red flag.

You’ll want to research the agency with which you’re about to sign a modeling contract before you offer your signature.  Of course, there’s some big names you may already be familiar with, but there are also a lot of other reputable agencies out there that don’t yet have the same clout.  There are also a lot of scam artists. 

A reputable agency will do it’s best to invest in your and your career whether it has 20 models on the roster, or 200.  This is the business it’s in, and it also means you’ll have no problem getting paid after the commission is taken out.  Review the payment terms of your contract so you can be sure you understand actually how and when you’ll receive compensation.

These are just a few of the things you’ll want to be on the look out for before signing your first modeling contract.  When you’re ready (and only when you’re ready), take a deep breath and seal the deal!

To learn more about understanding modeling contracts, feel free to sign up for our next FREE Virtual Open Call. On this free Virtual Open Call, you will learn about the recent changes in the modeling and acting industries that is opening the doors for more job opportunities. You will learn cutting-edge ways to gain access to a steady stream of high paying modeling and acting jobs in your local area. You will also learn how to receive continued online training workshops that will prepare you for that big audition or casting call. Click the link below to Register Now!

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