Forums > General Industry > Suspicious Agency

Model

Spencer Kayne

Posts: 4

Stockton, California, US

Hello,

Sorry for posting if this seems like nonsense or a no brainer but I have a few questions. I have an "agency" that has scouted me out. I feel flattered, but I am a little uneasy about who they are for a few reasons. The first being they expect a payment of $144 ($12 / 12 months) to become a part of their agency. (Basically post a few images on their website) Second, they are located somewhere that is a little remote. And lastly, their webpage, looks a bit shaky and they only have about 12 models and consider themselves to be very big in the market, claiming pay rates from $400 - $4500.

Could someone please advise as to whether this is a scam (as it feels like it is) or whether this is a common practice. Out of fairness, I am leaving their name out of the post for now.

Jul 05 10 06:01 pm Link

Photographer

MisterC

Posts: 15162

Portland, Oregon, US

Spencer K wrote:
scam

Jul 05 10 06:02 pm Link

Model

Sierra Sunshine

Posts: 11876

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

MisterC wrote:

Vote.

Jul 05 10 06:03 pm Link

Photographer

MisterC

Posts: 15162

Portland, Oregon, US

Alice Nguyen wrote:

Vote.

Yes!

I don't have enough info to make an informed decision, but if they're asking for money from you... they're preying by flatter. You're an aspiring model, you fell fairly handsome, and along comes an agency to represent you. It's usually not how it works. : (

Jul 05 10 06:05 pm Link

Model

Lulu W

Posts: 343

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Spencer K wrote:
Hello,

Sorry for posting if this seems like nonsense or a no brainer but I have a few questions. I have an "agency" that has scouted me out. I feel flattered, but I am a little uneasy about who they are for a few reasons. The first being they expect a payment of $144 ($12 / 12 months) to become a part of their agency. (Basically post a few images on their website) Second, they are located somewhere that is a little remote. And lastly, their webpage, looks a bit shaky and they only have about 12 models and consider themselves to be very big in the market, claiming pay rates from $400 - $4500.

Could someone please advise as to whether this is a scam (as it feels like it is) or whether this is a common practice. Out of fairness, I am leaving their name out of the post for now.

Fail.

1. Agencies make their income from getting commission from their model's jobs,
NOT from changing a 'joining fee'.

2. Consider the 'remote' market the agency is located in, just how much work could they really offer you?

3. They have.... 12 models? Nope. Warning bells are ringing here.

Jul 05 10 06:05 pm Link

Model

Alonna

Posts: 14

Wausau, Wisconsin, US

yeah, that sounds like a scam to me.

Jul 05 10 06:05 pm Link

Photographer

Ruben Sanchez

Posts: 3570

San Antonio, Texas, US

Scam.  They'll take your money, and never send you out for jobs, while they have your name on a contract, saying you HAVE to pay them every month.

Save your money, and don't sign anything.

Jul 05 10 06:18 pm Link

Photographer

Sun Studio

Posts: 793

Greensboro, North Carolina, US

.. if it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck.

Jul 05 10 06:19 pm Link

Model

Spencer Kayne

Posts: 4

Stockton, California, US

Thank you everyone for the responses. It sent up flares when I heard from them, but I wanted to get a consensus from those who are in the industry more than I am.

Thank you for the input and I will let this one go with mere flattery wink Just as an FYI, if anyone has heard of "Active Male Models" this is the situation they start you with...

Feel free to visit their "site" http://activemalemodels.com/

But it is limited at best. If you are a legitimate photographer / agency, I would love to hear from you!

Spencer

Jul 05 10 09:07 pm Link

Model

Mariah Christine

Posts: 187

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US

definitely a scam. don't post ur email on your MM or any other modeling site, to try to avoid this

Jul 05 10 10:29 pm Link

Photographer

Lucas Chapman

Posts: 6129

Scottsdale, Arizona, US

Spencer K wrote:
Hello,

Sorry for posting if this seems like nonsense or a no brainer but I have a few questions. I have an "agency" that has scouted me out. I feel flattered, but I am a little uneasy about who they are for a few reasons. The first being they expect a payment of $144 ($12 / 12 months) to become a part of their agency. (Basically post a few images on their website) Second, they are located somewhere that is a little remote. And lastly, their webpage, looks a bit shaky and they only have about 12 models and consider themselves to be very big in the market, claiming pay rates from $400 - $4500.

Could someone please advise as to whether this is a scam (as it feels like it is) or whether this is a common practice. Out of fairness, I am leaving their name out of the post for now.

Yes, its a scam, and here's what leads me to feel that way:

1. You were "scouted".  REAL agencies have more than enough potentials walking in their door, where they wouldn't need to search for talent.
2. Without critiquing... I'm not seeing the typical agency level male model.. no offense.
3. Stockton, California.  Agencies?????
4. The money... HUGE red flag

No offense, JMO

Jul 05 10 10:33 pm Link

Photographer

Simon Gerzina

Posts: 2288

Brooklyn, New York, US

Lucas Chapman wrote:
1. You were "scouted".  REAL agencies have more than enough potentials walking in their door, where they wouldn't need to search for talent.

That's not actually true.  Agencies like Ford have entire scouting departments, with a Director of Scouting, and regularly send their scouts on trips to other markets to hunt up new talent.  Others use commission-based scouts in various markets, while I've heard of agencies in smaller markets commissioning photographers who refer promising talent their way.  I can think of times where I've lost access to my bookers at Wilhelmina for a few days because they were all off on a scouting trip to Myrtle Beach or Phoenix or Galveston.

This isn't something that immediately declares an agency to be a scam.

4. The money... HUGE red flag

All agencies have fees, including for things like website placement...it's just generally charged on a one-time or annual basis.  Larger traditional agencies will charge these fees against the model's future revenues, but boutique agencies are hurting these days...I've been watching them close up shop left and right.  It wouldn't shock me to see more agencies unwilling to run a debit on a model's behalf and start saying, "we think there's work for you in Berlin this season, but you're going to have to pay your own way there."

That said, $12/month is a red flag - agency representation isn't a subscription service.  It's a pretty insignificant amount, but that income trickle just tells me that the agency will nickle-and-dime everywhere else as well.

Jul 06 10 04:45 am Link

Photographer

JRSFoto

Posts: 693

San Francisco, California, US

Louisville, Kentucky - Is all you need to know. That is their contact city. I'll put you on my website for 10.00-per month, and get you just as many jobs as they will....
You've been punk'd

Jul 06 10 04:56 am Link

Photographer

Scott Johnson Studios

Posts: 3353

Wausau, Wisconsin, US

Spencer K wrote:
Hello,

Sorry for posting if this seems like nonsense or a no brainer but I have a few questions. I have an "agency" that has scouted me out. I feel flattered, but I am a little uneasy about who they are for a few reasons. The first being they expect a payment of $144 ($12 / 12 months) to become a part of their agency. (Basically post a few images on their website) Second, they are located somewhere that is a little remote. And lastly, their webpage, looks a bit shaky and they only have about 12 models and consider themselves to be very big in the market, claiming pay rates from $400 - $4500.

Could someone please advise as to whether this is a scam (as it feels like it is) or whether this is a common practice. Out of fairness, I am leaving their name out of the post for now.

Any agency that wants you to pay them is a scam.. no legit agency works this way... they take you on and make money from the jobs they book for you. They take a percentage.

Jul 06 10 05:00 am Link

Photographer

Saadiq Photography

Posts: 1366

Los Angeles, California, US

Simon Gerzina wrote:
That's not actually true.  Agencies like Ford have entire scouting departments, with a Director of Scouting, and regularly send their scouts on trips to other markets to hunt up new talent.  Others use commission-based scouts in various markets, while I've heard of agencies in smaller markets commissioning photographers who refer promising talent their way.  I can think of times where I've lost access to my bookers at Wilhelmina for a few days because they were all off on a scouting trip to Myrtle Beach or Phoenix or Galveston.

This isn't something that immediately declares an agency to be a scam.


All agencies have fees, including for things like website placement...it's just generally charged on a one-time or annual basis.  Larger traditional agencies will charge these fees against the model's future revenues, but boutique agencies are hurting these days...I've been watching them close up shop left and right.  It wouldn't shock me to see more agencies unwilling to run a debit on a model's behalf and start saying, "we think there's work for you in Berlin this season, but you're going to have to pay your own way there."

That said, $12/month is a red flag - agency representation isn't a subscription service.  It's a pretty insignificant amount, but that income trickle just tells me that the agency will nickle-and-dime everywhere else as well.

I agree!  I know 1st hand of many note-worthy agencies that charge their models any where between $250-$375 yearly for website placement. Including "Wilhelmina, Ford and Elite" just to name a few... neutral

FYI, "qualified" model(s) hire "qualified" agencies to work for them... not the other way around!  And said agencies require professional marketing tool such as visual website placement and visual office placement aka "comp cards" and this cost money via said model(s)!  Not to mention the "real world" fees related to portfolio updates... with "qualified" photographers, make up artists, stylist.  Sure you may get lucky (TFP) via this MM playground but often not!

There are countless scams in this industry regarding such issues... my advice is just do your homework before "hiring" anyone to represent you!

Jul 06 10 05:07 am Link

Photographer

Saadiq Photography

Posts: 1366

Los Angeles, California, US

Scott Johnson Studios wrote:
Any agency that wants you to pay them is a scam.. no legit agency works this way... they take you on and make money from the jobs they book for you. They take a percentage.

I'm not sure where you get your misinformation from!

Yes, scams are out there... but every "legit" agency I know, work with and or scout for charges their client(s) aka model(s) fees! Either up front, monthly or via gig recoup!  But maybe "Ford, Wilhelmina, Elite, Race, Marilyn Agency and or Next just to name a few are all bogus agencies according to your point of view... hmm

Jul 06 10 05:29 am Link

Model

Dina Ova

Posts: 163

Washington, District of Columbia, US

scam their website looks like crap

Jul 06 10 06:45 am Link

Photographer

GER Photography

Posts: 8462

Imperial, California, US

I've heard that real agencies pay models as opposed to models paying agencies. This sounds like that Mall Talent Search kind of BS agency!!

Jul 06 10 06:48 am Link

Photographer

Simon Gerzina

Posts: 2288

Brooklyn, New York, US

George Ruge wrote:
I've heard that real agencies pay models as opposed to models paying agencies. This sounds like that Mall Talent Search kind of BS agency!!

You've heard wrong.  Agencies aren't in the business of covering a model's expenses...they may or may not be in the business of fronting those expenses, but they're deducted back out of any revenue that model brings in, often including a markup on expenses.  If the agency puts a model up in an apartment, they charge the model for that apartment.  If the agency buys a model comp cards, they charge the model for comp cards.  If the agency sends the model's book to a client via messenger, the model pays for that messenger.

No offense, but you may want to give advice based on what you know, not what you've heard.

Jul 06 10 08:19 am Link

Model

E R I N _

Posts: 1234

San Francisco, California, US

OP, please listen to Simon's input here, he's the most informed person in this thread as to how agencies do work in the real world.

Unfortunately Spencer, this agency is most likely a scam... but you may want to check out Cast Images in Sacramento. They're a legit agency and probably the closest to you, about an hour away. Otherwise I'd make a trip down to SF for a couple days to make the rounds and get input from the agencies there- I do know of a couple models signed in SF that live in either Sac or Stockton.

Jul 06 10 08:44 am Link

Model

JT-MT-37

Posts: 6

Louisville, Kentucky, US

Look you people are crazy. Modeling is not free. You will have to pay for somethings. But all modeling places get a % of your work when they get you work. I have worked for active Male Models and it did me good. Model Mayhem is not the best place to take advice. I have found alot of these photographers are a scam. They take your pic give you free copies and then sell your pic. any of you dumb people who call everyone a scam should look at alot of people on here.

May 11 11 12:47 pm Link