Models from Los Angeles to New York have a number of common questions when they first enter the modeling business. As an entertainment attorney who has represented a number of models from London to Los Angeles to Palm Springs, this article attempts to answer some of the most important questions a model faces from day one.
1. What are the things you should pay attention to when signing a
This is a tough one to answer briefly. First, a model should have an experienced attorney look over any modeling contract before signing it, but if you don’t have the money for one or can’t find one experienced in reviewing this type of contract, here are some pointers.
There are primarily three types of modeling contracts out there. With an exclusive contract, the agency is your exclusive manager and booking agency and you will not be allowed to sign with any other agency for the length of the contract. Therefore, as discussed below, make sure you are signing with a reputable agency that can advance your career and not an agency that will simply tie you up.
A non-exclusive contract allows you to find work on your own without the requirement that you pay the agency a commission. You may also sign other non-exclusive contracts with other agencies. If the agency you are meeting with does not have the money to advance your initial costs of building a portfolio and the like, this type of contract is better suited for you.
A one-time contract is one that is signed for just one job and one job only. When the project is complete, the contract has been fulfilled as long as you have also been paid. If you have not been paid, you can sue for breach of contract.
A fourth type of contract is a mother agency contract. This type of contract allows your agency to receive a commission even after you are signed by a subsequent agency. In this type of agreement, the agency may simply be looking to sell your rights to a bigger agency and still take a cut or they may even be a reputable agency, but one seeking to make every cent they can.
To understand how a mother agency contract works, you need to understand a little bit about how agencies are paid, and this is one of the key provisions of your contract. It is common for top-rated agencies to charge 20% commission on all monies a model receives for his or her work. Only a small percentage of very successful models over the years have been allowed by the agencies to bargain their commission down to 15% and an even smaller percentage of very successful models have been able to negotiate their own contracts with their own managers and lawyers.
On top of the standard 20% commission, such agencies have routinely been able to charge an additional 20% of the model’s fee for the job to the model’s employers and to …