The Characteristics of Successful Models
Happy New Year!
New year always brings the promise of new experiences and a hope that we will improve on what has gone before. Our calendars are new and blank, the year stretches out before us filled with possibilities.
As the agency manager, I receive IMs daily – inquiries from models or those who are considering modelling as a profession in Second Life and would like to be part of MAD Agency. Allow me to share just a few of our agency policies and viewpoints on the hiring and retention of models.
Everyone who is a model or wants to be a model in Second Life is keenly aware of the intense competition amongst all models to be hired by the most reputable and busy agencies. We at MAD Agency are very fortunate that our business model and commitment to professionalism have positioned us as one of the agencies that many models would like to join.
The best place to start if you are looking at joining modelling agency in Second Life is with their selection criteria. MAD Agency selection criteria lists all our preferred characteristics and basic requirements we look for when assessing suitability of new applicants.
There are many agencies who will hire inexperienced models and provide training to you if you have not graduated from a modelling academy. Still other agencies will hire only the trained and experienced “runway-ready” models who can begin work immediately with no time spent on skill development. MAD Agency has a very busy schedule of runway events and photo work and due to the demanding schedule we keep, we are only able to hire models who are seasoned and capable with the ability and readiness to work immediately with no further schooling required. We require our MAD Agency models to attend casting and walk in a minimum number of shows each quarter to remain employed with the agency, we need this participation to meet the demands of our show schedule.
Along with experience and training we need the model to have a varied and vast inventory of shapes/skins/hair/eyes/shoes/poses to suit any type of look the client may be trying to achieve. As I mentioned briefly in my previous post, the models at MAD are all not only modifiable in shape, but very happy to morph any part of themselves with out a moment’s hesitation.
Each agency has its own culture and atmosphere. If you asked the models who work there to describe the working conditions or the environment, they would probably all say about the same thing when choosing words to explain that agency. At MAD Agency we pride ourselves in a very structured and professional approach to the production of each runway event. All shows follow a carefully thought-out sequence of check-listed elements that lead up to the day of the actual show. All models who work for us are informed at the outset of the time commitment we ask when they accept an assignment and it is imperative we are able to count on them to be present for all aspects of pre-production. Fittings, rehearsals and photo shoots all take place before the actual walking of the runway is done with the live audience and the models need to be present for all of those stages of the event. It is important to mention that we do value your time as a model and strive to do all our preparations in as efficient a manner as we can to make good use of everyone’s time. Being punctual therefore ( or early, even better! ) and always at your keyboard instead of AFK for long periods, are real job requirements. We also require models in shows to keep a close eye on their notices and SL email to be aware of any information that may be sent in a group notice or anything we may send that needs a response.
Reputation is a strong factor. If you are known for being professional, polite and reliable, this will help you when hiring selections are made. If a person has a history of no-shows or broken promises, those types of information tend to be well known by those who are in charge of hiring and that may hinder a model’s ability to be represented by an agency they may want to join.
Similarly, “drama” is a commodity in huge supply and with zero demand. MAD Agency has had from the beginning a very strict and enforced “drama free” policy. This means if a model is unable to behave professionally and politely at all times or if they are disruptive due to anything that could be construed as “drama”, there is no place for them in our model pool. We have a primary focus on the client’s needs and wishes and personal attention-getting or demanding types of behaviours are not going to contribute to that goal. The corporate culture has been very much like a family since the beginning. We have all been client focused, and worked as a team to help any one of us who may need anything. Often a model who may need some help with a particular skill set buddy up with a more experienced model to “mentor” them in that area and bring their skills up for a particular show. I am always so impressed and touched at the willingness of MAD Agency models to be there for each other. We are truly a great team.
A major factor in being chosen for work is being here! Availability is a must.
It has been said that “80% of success is showing up”, in Second Life there are often jobs that arise with little notice and we send a group notice to see who is online and willing to work, if you are not in game much then most of the work that is offered may pass you by. We also like models to be able to respond to IMs that are sent off-line to ask about their availability when clients request it. MAD Agency models are all very client-focused and understand that it is a very real business in this virtual world! Being responsive to messages and notices in a timely manner is something we all practice as part of the commitment to excellence.
Another characteristic of the models who succeed in the field is uniqueness and style.
Look carefully at the avatars who work the most in the busiest agencies, they all have a look that sets them apart. Modelling is a very expensive profession in Second Life , the amount you spend on your avatar’s appearance will far surpass your earning potential in the field. This fact is well known to the most successful models who have a passion for bringing the designer’s vision to life and using their creations ( the avatar of the model ) to enhance the creations of the apparel designer. It is not enough to have a great skin and some nice hair since new high-end skins and hair are being released every day, models must always be adding to their repertoire of skin choices and hair styles/colors. The savvy models know that while some of these skins and hair may not be their personal preference, they may come in handy for a modelling assignment and it is wise to acquire as wide a variety of these items as possible to be ready when the client asks to see what options you have to offer them. Range is very important, to be as in demand as possible as a model, your inventory should support your avatar’s transformations from high society debutante to edgy Gothic raver and everything in between.
One more characteristic which pairs with the depth and breadth of your inventory is the ability to style yourself.
The majority of runway events are styled by the designer or their staff, but there will be photo shoots and the occasional runway walk that will require the model to fit their outfit prim and style their looks themselves. The models must possess expert prim edit skills, the ability to edit a hairstyle to fit perfectly when the client has just given you a new shape to use is one example. Your personal style aside, the client’s clothing / skin / shoes/ hair must be the inspiration piece around which the styling is centered and the skill there is in NOT making that look your own, but instead keeping the spotlight on the product you are featuring. As you can see, the consistent theme in all successful models is the client focus. Look at all outfits as a puzzle with a few missing pieces… which hair/skin/accessories will complete this puzzle and bring this outfit to the pinnacle of the designer’s intentions?
This new year 2009 holds many exciting events for us at MAD Agency, our skilled and dedicated pool of models make all the difference in creating the runway events and fabulous print products we are able to provide to our clients.
As always, I welcome your suggestions for column topics, please send a notecard inworld to Risa Bright. For more information on MAD Agency and the entire KMADD Enterprise conglomerate, see our website at www.kmaddcity.com
Until next time, have a great time in SL and see you at the shows!