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MODELING AND TALENT AGENCY SCAMS
A reason that model agencies in states such as Florida are regulated is that there were many people starting "model and talent agencies" with no real intention of making money by booking models work and properly representing them. Some so called model agencies only make money by selling the models portfolios, composite cards, and other services, and do not follow through on getting them jobs. If an agency is licensed, it is a conflict of interest and illegal for them to offer products and services that models have to pay for and make money from photography or consultation work. Model and talent agencies are legally allowed to only make money from the jobs that they book models into. There is a loophole that some con artists have found around the state statutes that regulate model and talent agencies, and that comes in the form of "model management companies". More on these pseudo agencies below. Can you believe that there are model and talent agencies out there who are set up to cash in on the models and don't make money by booking models work? There are a LOT of agencies out there that operate just this way, and they make their money by doing model portfolios with the promise of jobs that never appear. This is one reason why model and talent agencies in Florida are professionally regulated. Real model agencies only make money by BOOKING MODELS into jobs, and they usually charge the models 20% for the booking and the company that books the model another 20%. They may also charge the company an additional fee for the booking. This is perfectly legitimate, and is how an agency is supposed to operate. Agencies are also not allowed to charge the model any sort of "consideration fee", "maintenance fee", or "entry fee". It is unethical, a conflict of interest, and AGAINST THE LAW for a model agency to make money from model photography and model portfolios, whether directly in house or indirectly through a photography referral. The agency should always give the model a choice of photographers to go to if the model needs a portfolio, and they can never make any sort of referral money from that. To be safe, we recommend that the model finds a good photographer on their own. Some scams try to become "model managers" to get around the strict regulations governing model agencies. Most of these are scams, and if they are not, then there is no good business reason for this kind of operation to exist. More on model management scams in a bit. Think about this: If there is no agency license involved, then it is AGAINST THE LAW to make any kind of money by booking models into work. If the model manager promises to get the model jobs, but is unable to legally make money by doing so, what financial incentive is there to book the model work? Well, there isn't. Most "model managers" make their money by doing model portfolios or exploiting models and making money at their expense, and then abandon them when they are done with them. Others "collect" models for personal reasons, and even try to take advantage of them in other ways.
If a so-called local model agency advertises for consideration for larger agencies in markets such as New York and offer model searches and contests, or they advertise at all, use EXTREME CAUTION, and USE THIS! Many model agency scams have been ripping off aspiring models this way!
Scams listed here are not limited to models, and different types can be easily combined for new types of scams. If you cannot CLARIFY their intentions and VERIFY their references, go somewhere else to do business. It's professionally responsible to do so and lowers your risk. There are lots of great companies out there, like our advertisers and the companies in our resource sections, who are not scams. You owe it to your career to shop around and be selective.
MORE ABOUT SCAM
MAIL BAG ARCHIVES: Modeling and Talent Agencies.
OPINION POST: Agency Conflicts.
OPINION POST: Agencies suck.
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