TAMPA MODEL MANAGEMENT SCAMS
This is going to be a touchy subject, and we are aware of a handful of legitimate photographers and other professionals who are sincere about managing models, so please read all of this.
From the Florida State Statutes, 468.401 Regulation of talent agencies; definitions: (1) "Talent agency" means any person who, for compensation, engages in the occupation or business of procuring or attempting to procure engagements for an artist. So, what does a "model manager" do? What exactly is a model manager? Do they promise to guide and protect a model during their career? That's fine. Do they promise to introduce models to agencies? That's fine, too, as long as they do not imply a special relationship with the agencies named where none exists and let the model know that ANYONE with a simple $1.00 snap shot has the same chance of being considered as a model referred by a "manager". The model does not need a manager to call up an agency and visit them for consideration purposes; as a matter of fact, most model agencies would prefer that a model come to them WITHOUT a so-called model manager involved. Do they promise to find models work and book them into jobs? Here's where the problem is.
It is against the law in Florida for a "model manager" to make money from booking models into jobs unless they are working under the license of a model and talent agency. If the "manager" is working under the license of a model and talent agency, then they would say that they had an "agency" and not a "model management company", too. If the "manager" is working under the license of a model and talent agency, they cannot offer portfolio photography services; it would be a conflict of interest and is against Florida law for them to be a model photographer or offer any services that a model would have to pay for, and this includes so-called consultation fees! These are big dangers to the career of the model. The only reason that some people are "model managers" in Florida is to get around state regulations governing model agencies and use the promise of finding models work as a sales pitch "promise" so they can sell them some service, take advantage of them, or both. As an example, we've known of so-called "model photographers" who advertise themselves as "model managers" who will get models work after they have done their portfolios. Of course, this does not work, as there is no financial incentive to find the models work because you have to be a licensed model agency to make money booking models into jobs, and it is against the law to do so otherwise. Some so-called model managers will tell the model that they will do this anyway as a "professional courtesy", and they set out to build a large group of models to "manage". Right. We believe that. It takes a lot of time and work to book models into jobs, and no one who is business savvy and has the skills to really help your career would do it for free for a large group. Either way, the "model manager" is extinct in today's industry. If you must be managed, make sure that they have financial motivation to get you work. After you have paid them for your "portfolio", there is no longer any financial motivation. If the manager is not with a licensed model agency, make sure that you are not obligated to get your portfolio done with them, that they'll manage you regardless, and that you are non-exclusive. If you get our point that we are trying to make, good. Only a fool allows themselves to have their portfolio done by a "model manager", and if you must be managed, do so with a licensed model agency and get your portfolio done elsewhere. There is a reason that model and talent agencies are regulated in Florida, and this is it. In the past, before regulation, unethical model agencies made their money by doing model portfolios and not by booking them into jobs. Now, we have model managers doing the same thing, with restrictions applied to them preventing them from making money by booking models into jobs. Model managers are model managers so they can make money doing portfolios and other services like workshops, and the promise of helping a model with their career and finding them work more often than not is only a selling tool to get you to spend money on their services. Then we have the issue of qualifications.
Is the "model manager" really qualified to manage the career of a model? How about the issue of motivation? What are the motives of the model manager? Some model managers manage models so that they can exploit them and make money in other ways. Models do not need pimps, as that is not the career that they are in, and they certainly do not need sexual harassment. Does the model manager tell the model that they have to pose in risque poses, skimpy clothing, and do "artistic nudes". Does the model manager only do glamour photography work, with no commercial looks in their portfolio? The model has to ask themselves if they want to limit their modeling options and cripple their commercial appeal. If they are a model manager, there is a reason that they are. Look closer, and if you feel that you need guidance and cannot manage your career yourself, find a licensed model agency. Red flags to watch out for with "model managers" and model management offers: They drop the names of a lot of big name agencies that they are going to refer their "best models" to, they sell photography and portfolio services and have a large number of models that they "manage", they promise jobs but won't put it in writing, there are a lot of complaints about them, especially from supposed references, the scope of their photography or service work is limited, and they don't seem to really know what they are doing. Here's another point. You have this site, and it's not hard to manage your own career. Who needs model managers? None of us do!
With all this examined, is it possible to have a legitimate model management operation? Of course it is, it's just that large scale management operations have severe limitations on them as defined by Florida law. We understand that professionals love to collaborate, and we can see a photographer wanting to help out models who they want to collaborate with on an ongoing basis and work with in the future. It's perfectly fine to network and maintain professional collaborations with other professionals, just make sure that the "model management" is not a condition of buying services and that it is not being offered to everyone that they work with. We can see a small scale model management arrangement working, and being beneficial to the model. It's just that the majority of them are scams, AND there are a few characters, especially ones here in the Tampa Bay area, who are up to no good. Use common sense, look for red flags in the way that they operate, and CLARIFY and VERIFY!
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