FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

If you’re new to the talent business, the information on this page will help you better understand what’s required and help you decide if it’s the right choice for you. First of all, separate the glamorous fantasy of this business from the reality. This is a business, which like any other, can be enjoyable, but requires lots of hard work. The talent business is competitive and no one is running around with a magic wand that will make you into a star. If someone tells you they have such a wand they are telling you a fib and are usually trying to get lots of money from you. The real talent industry doesn’t work that way. You, the talent, are supposed to earn, money not spend money trying to buy a dream.

WHAT DOES A TALENT AGENCY DO?

A talent agency like Real People is a company with clients, which are other companies that create some form of advertising (you are not our client). This includes print ads for newspapers and magazines, billboards, and other projects that use still photography. Some companies shoot television commercials or create web videos or internal training or sales videos. Depending on the project, the client may need models, or perhaps actors to speak on camera about their product or service. Occasionally, film production companies are in the area shooting movies and looking for actors to appear in their film. First, the client contacts Real People to see what talent we represent to appear in their project. The client is spending a lot of money to produce the advertisement, so they are very specific in their needs. Their requirements could include a certain age range, a particular gender, race, or experience level. Our job is to show them as many talent as we can who exactly fit all their requirements. From our submission, the client will make several choices and may ask to meet the prospective talent through a taped audition or in person. The talent chosen for the job will depend on several things, the most important being how well the talent present themselves to the client at the audition. Is the talent available on the day the client needs to do the job? And, since the client is the one paying the talent, the final decision will always be the talent that the advertiser likes the best. So, as you can see, no talent agent can get you a job in this industry. Our job is to submit all of the people we represent that fit our clients’ requirements. You get the job by being professional and realizing that this business is not about you, nor about getting yourself on television. It’s about doing the best possible job of selling a product or service that you are being asked to represent.

WHAT IS REAL PEOPLE LOOKING FOR IN A MODEL OR TALENT?

Marketability and the ability to follow direction are key. What is marketable in a person is a professional judgement on our part, and that changes with trends and client needs. We look for people who are outgoing and animated, with good personalities and the ability to follow instructions well. We are not necessarily looking for beauty, although that is a part of the business, but only a part. We are looking for personality that projects on film or in print. Children cannot be shy or cling to their parents. There is no “warm up” time on a set. The child must like what they are doing and not be forced into this business by a stage parent. If your child is shy or withdrawn, don’t pursue this—it won’t work. Fashion models, both male and female, must meet height and size requirements. Women must be 5’9″ or taller and wear a size 2 to 6. Men must be 6′ or taller and have a slim build, 40 to 42 jacket size and 30 to 34 inch waist. Teenaged females between 14 and 19 years are normally wanted in the New York market, but you must have the height and look they want this season, and you must be willing to either move or go for the entire summer when school is out. Lifestyle models, both male and female, appear in advertising that does not involve clothing. Examples are banks, insurance companies, grocery stores, hospitals, and resorts. Here, height and age are not important. What is vital is an average “guy or gal next door” look paired with a winning personality. For instance, the use of too many hair products and obvious tattoos can be deal killers. Actors appear in commercials, movies and industrial training films, whether speaking or not. To be considered an actor, you must, quite simply, be able to act. Most of our good actors have studied drama from high school through college. You must be able to deliver copy and sometimes use equipment like a teleprompter or wireless ear prompter. Being a good actor is an art; you must be willing to devote yourself to the craft and be willing to crawl before you can walk.

WHY DO I HAVE TO SEND A PHOTO FIRST?

Because photography is one of the primary mediums in which we deal; therefore, we’re primarily interested in how you project via that medium. We need to see your hair color and cut. We need to see if your teeth are straight and white. We need to see if your complexion is clear. We need to see your body type. We look at everything about you to determine if we can find work for you. The last thing we want to do is to waste your time or ours.

HOW SOON WILL I HEAR BACK FROM YOU?

You may never hear back from us. Unfortunately, with the volume of photographs we receive, we simply don’t have time to respond to anyone except the people we are interested in representing. It may take us a month or more, but if we are interested in representing you, we will get in touch with you.

YOU DIDN'T CHOOSE ME OR MY CHILD. WHAT'S WRONG WITH US?

Absolutely nothing. Only some of those interested in modeling have marketable characteristics, and we necessarily focus on those applicants. We may already have enough talent in your category to meet our current booking requirements. Our decisions in no way reflect negatively on those we do not select.

CAN I BE DISCOVERED AT A MODELING CONVENTION?

Probably not. It has been our experience that “modeling conventions” accept anyone with the money to enter regardless of their qualifications as a model. The cost is quite high, but you will meet agents. You can, however, meet these same agents at their offices for free. Every agency in the country accepts submissions by mail. Some have certain days when they conduct open calls. If you are what they are looking for, they will arrange to meet you at no charge. Let’s say there is interest in you by a large agency from New York or Los Angeles. You will be expected to relocate. These agencies can not send you out for auditions and jobs unless you live in the same city.

I HAVE A FULL TIME JOB. CAN I MODEL ON WEEKENDS?

No, you can’t. Professionals in the advertising industry work during business hours on weekdays. This means an adult must have flexibility in taking time off work, and that a child will have to miss some school for auditions or assignments (and a parent will have to be available to take the child). Therefore, please consider your child’s academic performance and your own flexibility at work before considering involvement in this industry.

HOW DOES REAL PEOPLE EARN ITS MONEY?

We hold a commission from the money you earn, typically 20% (scale plus 10% on Screen Actors Guild [SAG] union jobs). So, you see, if you don’t make money, neither do we. The more you make, the more we make. This is the biggest reason why we are extremely choosey about the people we represent. We are only interested in people who understand the business, and who want to earn money. With us, it’s not about the glory…it’s about earning money by satisfying our clients.

IS THERE ANY EXPENSE TO ME?

Yes. If we choose to represent you (or your child), you will have to get commercial photography done. We do not shoot or provide this photography, but we can recommend reputable commercial photographers appropriate for you and you will deal directly with them as far as appointments and payment. Depending on the type of photography you choose and the photographer, the cost can range from $250 to $500. With that photography, you will order a head shot or a composite card. These are not provided by the photographer and are not included in their price. These “tools of the trade” are what you present to our clients when you see them in person. The cost is between $80 and $175. After that, you must be prepared to update your photography at least once a year.

HOW MANY JOBS WILL YOU GET FOR ME?

None. We don’t  get you jobs. We show your material to our clients when they are booking talent in your category. After that, it’s up to the client to choose who they will audition or hire. If they choose you for an audition, getting the job or not is really up to you. Helpful things can be excellent photography and a great attitude and work ethic if you do get chosen. Again, this business is not about you, it’s about selling a product for a client. A good attitude and professionalism create repeat business for you and for us. Some clients call us and simply ask for the same good people they have worked with before.

WHAT'S THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE AGENCY AND ME?

If we decide to represent you, you and we will enter into a partnership. We will be your agent and you will be our talent (you will not be our client—the advertiser is our client). We will advise you in all aspects of the business and we will act on your behalf regarding all the terms and rates of any job that you might be asked to perform.  Our guidance and assistance does not apply to your entire life, only to the talent business. Although all your payments will come from us, you are solely responsible for paying any taxes. You will be an independent contractor as defined by the Internal Revenue Service in publication 15, Circular E, “Employer’s Tax Guide.” We will not be your employer, nor will you be our employee.

WILL I BE ASKED TO SIGN ANY CONTRACTS?

Yes, you will be asked to sign an exclusive contract. Real People puts a lot of time and effort into developing the talent that we represent. This is especially true of new people who are just getting started. We expect a return for all our efforts, by finding you opportunities to work and earning our commission. There is  a saying at Real People, “Either we represent you, or we don’t.” Both we and our clients must know that Real People has the authority to speak for you and to negotiate rates and terms on your behalf. If you are a very experienced talent who is already represented by other agencies located in states other than Alabama, we will consider your contract arrangements on a case-by case basis.

The above information is copyright © 1987-2017 by Kiddin’ Around of Alabama, Inc., also doing business as Real People Models and Talent.

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