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  • Writer's pictureKamla-Kay McKenzie

Landing paid model casting calls

Have you ever browsed on Instagram, Facebook or even Craigslist and saw a post that stated something to the effect of "Models Wanted" or "Model Casting Call?"

A model casting call, or casting, is when a client has a project that they would like to shoot either for print, video or runway and they are in the process of selecting models, or "casting" models to best fit their vision.

Aspiring models often find themselves doing local fashion shows, modeling for individual private brands and attending events with the promise that they will get exposure to elevate their career.

While I am a fan of getting your feet wet and doing some things for free to gain experience, let's face it.

If your goal is to be a MODEL, you eventually want to be taken seriously by agents and clients and get PAID modeling work.

Although freelance modeling has it's benefits, aspiring models are best suited to take their career to the next level if they get agency signed as this opens more doors to getting legitimate castings and booking paid work with larger brands.

As an agency signed model, 99% of the casting calls that I attend are sent to me directly from one of my agencies.

The benefit to doing casting calls through your agency:

1. The agency is able to ensure that the client and project are reputable.

2. The location you are being sent to is typically verified as safe & for a legitimate casting.

3. Clients tend to pay more when they go through an agency versus when the job is just posted to a random site online.

4. Once you are signed with an agency, higher end clients are more apt to request for you to attend their casting calls versus those who are unsigned.

5. The agency will fight on your behalf if the client does not pay as they initially agreed.

I've personally benefitted from being agency signed because I went from getting offers for TFP (essentially free shoots) to being taken more seriously and getting paid to work with clients such as David Beckham, Stella McCartney, The Ritz Carlton, AutoNation, Chase Bank etc.

How does this casting process work within the agency setting you ask?

Well, let's say that Target (Yes! I love me some Target) is doing an upcoming shoot and they want to book 3 talent for a job which will take place in Miami, FL.

Target would typically contact the known and reputable agencies in the Miami area - or maybe in other states and fly the booked talent in for the shoot.

Upon contacting the agency the client, in this case, Target, will submit a casting brief which essentially goes over what roles they need filled, the payment, the date of the casting, the date of the shoot and any other pertinent information.

Based on these criteria, the agency gets to work to finding the best talent to show to the client.

For instance, maybe Target is looking for young and bubbly faces, or real families with kids, or they are specific in saying they need a red head mom with freckles.

The agency reviews this casting brief and is then able to submit only those models who fit the criteria for the client's review.

The agency will often send out an email to the models who fit that criteria and ask if the model would like to have their images shown to the client for the job.

Models will respond back with "yes, available to submit" or "no, not available to submit" based on any other scheduling conflicts, based on if you like or dislike the offered rates or even as a result of wanting or not wanting to affiliate with said brand.

Once the agency submits their narrowed down list of models/talent that fit the criteria that the brand requested, the client will then make selections from that narrowed agency list of who they wish to actually see in person at the casting call.


* Do not submit talent who are not available all the listed dates.




ROLE 1: MOM Female, Looks 30’s – Early 40’s. Outgoing, Playful, Great with Kids.

ROLE 2: DAD 1 Male, Looks 30’s – Early 40’s. Outgoing, Playful, Great with Kids.

ROLE 3: GIRL Female, Looks 4 – 5 y/o, Outgoing, Playful. (Dad 2 has her up on his feet so she can pretend she is flying.)


CASTING: THURSDAY, 1/10/19 & FRIDAY, 1/11/19 MIAMI, FL CALL BACK: MONDAY, 1/14/19 FITTING: 1/15/19 SHOOT DATE: 1/16/19 & 1/17/19 in Miami area. Talent will work 1 or 2 days.

Casting briefs tend to be detailed in what the client is looking for so be sure to always read all the information clearly before responding to an agency on your availability.

For instance, if the casting calls for a brunette and you are a blonde, that is far from the scope of what the client is requesting. While there is sometime wiggle room, in that scenario it would be a waste of your time, the agent and the client's time to try to submit yourself for the job.

Once the client finalizes who they wish to see at the casting, should you be requested to attend, be sure to:

1. Arrive on time!!

2. Wear the appropriate attire if stated in the casting brief

(If no attire is stated, dress for what the character would typically wear. i.e a mom could be in jeans and a cardigan with flat loafers).

3. Sign in on the casting call sheet and be sure to list your agency name and phone number.

4. Always bring a headshot or comp card photo with you incase the client requests one.

5. Bring your modeling portfolio should the client want to flip through your images.

6. Bring snacks - castings can sometimes run long and if you are anything like me, being "hangy" is not what you want happening before meeting with the client.

Want more tips on "how to get agency signed" and booking modeling paid work?

Speak soon - and be sure to follow me online and say hello here.

Peace & love, Kamla-Kay

Model & Modeling Coach

Miami, FL but my model coaching classes can be done virtually via video conference calls.


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