Here are a few notes and thoughts from the recent FORD "activity":
- I used the lookbook casting from last month to inquire about testing.
- I reworked my website (and generally rework my website before anyone important views it) so it would be up-to-date for FORD.
- Called up the main office and requested the email for New Faces.
- Sent out an email with my information and attached a sequence of pictures linking to my website. The pictures ensure the agent sees a sample of my work without doing anything else.
- In the email I mention that I casted the lookbook through FORD last month and also test for several of the notable LA agencies.
- Followed up with a call 2-3 hours later.
There are other little things that I do strategically and deliberately to increase my odds of success. I don't call on Mondays, mornings, or too late because typically people are scrambling and playing catchup on Mondays, most mornings, and in the evenings people are getting ready to go home. I don't call right after lunch either because I don't want to talk to a groggy/tired agent. I time my calls for around 2-3PM.
With other agencies in the past, I mention the models I've worked with from their agency. That usually serves as a topic of conversation as well as an "in". If I've shot a model from that agency, I usually send those pictures in the email. Another angle is mentioning other photographers that also shoot for that particular agency.
Basically my goal for the phone call is to get the agents to like me enough to send models my way. Typically the modeling agents are incredibly outgoing and are a blast to talk to. I suppose you kinda have to be a people person in order to do what they do. Agents are extremely busy and there's a fair amount of work-induced stress as a result of their responsibilities. They sleep with their Blackberries next to their pillow and they are "on-call" more than most doctors. Actually that's a topic of conversation that I've resorted to in order to keep the conversation lively... along with "I don't envy you" (said playfully of course).
I put a lot of thought into making sure things go "positively". Sometimes I can't always get a hold of the person I need to talk to but I try to remember that it's not personal. They don't hate me/you. They're just busy. They don't mean to not call you back (even when they say they will). It just happens. Doesn't mean they're bad people.
I hate rejection as much as anyone else, but it usually pains me more to not try. Especially when it's something that I really want. The hardest part for me is always picking up the phone and dialing the number. Kinda like the hardest part of working out is actually driving to the gym.