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Frequently Asked Questions —

What will I have to do on set?

A day of shooting can be very tiring because there will be a lot of downtime. Modifying the set, changing characters and extras or bringing in props can mean you’ll be waiting around quite a lot. But try not to be too antisocial or glued to your phone; talk (and especially listen) quietly to other people on set. Show your engagement, your motivation, your eagerness to learn. During shooting, listen to the directions of the director or photographer. Greet everyone at arrival and when you leave.

What should I bring to the set?

Come as natural as possible. No makeup, no gel – that way the MUA (makeup artist) can do their job. Sometimes you’ll have to bring your own clothing (this will be discussed in advance), but even if this isn’t required, you’d do best to always bring a white and a black t-shirt, a pair of jeans and extra shoes. Always bring some makeup with you too (even as a man) and your shaving device with trimmer. If the job only takes half a day, bring your own snack. And, very importantly, bring your own makeup remover.

How do I obtain the results afterwards?

After every job, you are technically allowed to put the results on your portfolio, unless otherwise discussed. Some productions expect you to wait with publishing photographs until the production has gone live, but you will be notified about this on set. Afterwards, it is important to share the results, but don’t always bother your agency asking for them. If it is a commercial, follow the YouTube channel of the client. Or follow the website or Facebook page and look for the photos featuring you yourself.

Can I promote myself on set?

This can be delicate, because you’ll give your agency the impression that you want to accept the next job without their involvement, meaning they won’t get a commission. It is possible to talk directly, to promote yourself, but you should always let the production know they can only book you through the same agency. That way, everybody is satisfied. But again, this can be a sensitive subject, so be sure to discuss it with your agency.

Different agencies contacted me for the same job

You get the same job offers from different agencies on the same day. In that case, the principle is simpe: the first agency you’ve made the agreement with is the one you’ll be working with. Even if you get paid more through another agency, because not every agency uses the same commission rate. Stay loyal if you’ve made a commitment.

I received different job offers for the same date

It’s possible that an agency offers you a job for which you are supposed to block a few dates on your calendar. And just at that moment, you get another offer, with a request to block those same dates. If you accept both offers and end up being cast for both, you have a huge problem. Be honest and inform the second agency that you are already keeping those dates in option for another assignment, meaning that they are second choice for now.

How does an agency determine the commission rate?

It’s possible you get paid more for the same job through a different agency. If there has been a first selection round already, an agency might include those work hours in your fee. Or, when there is a casting, and the agency also has had to put in extra efforts for this. The client won’t be paying for this, so it will come out of your fee. Sometimes, a flat rate will be charged for a casting, while most agencies calculate a percentage.

When do I get paid?

Expect a 3 month wait to be paid, starting the day after the job. First, the client will pay the production company, who then in turn will pay the agency, after which you will get your money. For portrait rights, that 3 month term only begins when the materials are actually used. Check up on whether the materials are being used outside of the agreed upon terms (a different country, a longer time frame, a different medium), as in that case you are entitled to an extra payment for portrait rights.

What are portrait rights?

Aside from a salary, you’ll often get an amount paid to you every time the material is used. In the job description the medium, duration and location of use of the material should always be determined (i.e. 2 years in Belgium on television). You have to pay less taxes on rights. That’s why, when a flat rate has been agreed upon, you can discuss the possibility of dividing this up into labor and rights with your agency.

How much is the commission?

This isn’t always very transparent. Oftentimes, you won’t know the percentage, because you’ll only hear how much you will earn, not how much the agency will be paid. Expect a 20 to 40 % commission, but keep in mind that the agency deserves this. It’s not always easy to keep a production satisfied and find the right person, especially when a casting is involved. Discuss how much commission the agency keeps beforehand, and from there on out, put your trust in them.

Can an agency demand exclusivity?

High-end fashion agencies can certainly demand this, but commercial agencies cannot. Of course they would like to, but the agency landscape is scattered to the extent that even production companies will shop around at different agencies for one assignment. Don’t limit yourself to one agency, but be transparent about it.

Can I talk about salary on set?

Agencies don’t like you discussing your salary with colleagues. Sometimes, those colleagues will come through other agencies that use different commission rates, or they don’t have an agency at all. Sometimes, a colleague from the same agency will earn less than you, because the agency has determined you have more experience. In the end, it is nobody’s business how much you earn. Be discrete; that way you avoid potential irritations between colleagues and you’ll spare the agency of potential complaints of that colleague.

How do I get my taxes in order?

As a freelancer, you can take care of this with an invoice, or thought artistic temp agencies like Amplo or Smart. Always declare your job before it starts (Dimona declaration of employment). Some agencies can offer you a legitimate day contract. For assignments where you earn a maximum of € 126,71 per day, with a maximum of € 2.534,11 per year and a maximum of 30 days a year, of which maximum 7 consecutive days, you can work without paying taxes though a KVR (Kleine Vergoedings Regeling). Always discus payment methods beforehand and never accept to be paid under the table.

How far should I go with nudity and kissing?

That is entirely up to you. For roles, you’ll usually receive a script beforehand, so you’ll know what is expected of you. If any changes are made to the script on the set, and you are asked to do different things, you are allowed to refuse. Contact your agency immediately. Be aware that everything you do can be visible for years, and that content on social media can start leading its own life. Base your choices on your values, not on your desire for a career.

Is #metoo a real thing?

I can say without hesitation: yes. From my own experience (as a man too) and from what I have seen on set, I can confirm there are people out there who will take advantage of their status. People who can’t keep their hands to themselves or who make degrading comments exist, on set or during castings. Arm yourself with courteous but resolute replies and immediately notify the right people. If it happens on set, contact your casting agency right away. If you feel uneasy for a casting, ask someone to accompany you. Put your values and integrity first, not your career.

How do I make a voice portfolio?

There generally aren’t any castings for voice recordings, so it’s best to make some of your own footage. You can easily make a few recordings with a laptop or smartphone. Choose short taglines like for an advertisement, but also a few longer texts, like in documentaries. Dialects and other languages are interesting too, as long as you sound natural. Play with your voice and impersonate different characters. Go to Soundcloud and upload your recordings. You can place a link to them on your website and in your email to production companies.

How much does it pay?

Impossible to say. It depends on the commission rates of agencies, on how big the client is, on what medium is used, in what location and for how long. A commercial on national TV will pay more than a poster campaign. Although a new brand won’t have the same budget as a more established one. And when posters are only used locally, the salary will be smaller too. So try not to compare too much. If you accept a job offer, this means you agree with the budget. For your portfolio it can even be advantageous to take a job that pays less from a famous brand.

Is availability/flexibility really important?

Castings can happen at a moment’s notice. You get an email today to come to a casting tomorrow, for a shoot happening at the end of the week. But it can also happen that you’ll be asked to keep several days blocked, even if the shoot only lasts a day. Production companies often have to take into account many things, and unfortunately as a model or actor you are the last (and most replaceable) link in the chain. Availability and flexibility are therefore very important, and are the reason many talents are reluctant to take the leap to try to make a fully-fledged career out of this.

What information do I get before a shoot?

You will always receive a call sheet in advance. This contains all practical information, such as location, contact information on site, the hour you are expected and the probable end time. Also, any clothing you need to bring and whether there will be an MUA present. If unclear, contact your agency before you leave for the assignment. The end time can also vary greatly (e.g. due to rain or unforeseen circumstances), so be sure to keep in mind that a shoot can take longer than expected. Please notify your agency immediately so they can charge overtime as well.

What are polas?

Polas (polaroids) are natural photos, for which you pose without makeup or accessories, in natural light and with a plain background. Often they will be taken by the casting agency itself, but an agency can also ask you for polaroids when they are looking for a specific type. Your clothing for a polaroid depends on what kind of casting it is. If you are a lingerie model you’ll go for polaroids like Doutzen Kroes’, but as an actor you can keep your clothes on.

What should I send to a fashion agency?

They prefer to see you as natural as possible, so send in photos without makeup or mascara and without accessories. With your hair down and up in a ponytail. Make your body visible, so wear a tank top, skinny jeans or legging and high heels. Don’t put your hands on your hips, but make yourself tall by pulling your shoulders backwards, chin slightly upwards and legs slightly apart. Lingerie photos are initially not required. Don’t forget to mention your height, measurements, shoe size, age and contact information

What is the biggest career killer?

Attitude and motivation are very important, but the most important thing is your time. Many models are afraid to take the step to become a full-time model because of financial insecurity. But if you don’t make time and make yourself fully available, you won’t be able to get enough jobs to make a living out of this either. At a certain moment, and you’ll have to sense this yourself, you’ll have to take the step to full availability. That step into the unknown can be the biggest killer of a promising career: make sure you have time.

My underage child wants to work

Commercials and photoshoots often include children. For them, there is the Child Labour Law, with a mandatory document. As a parent, you get the casting agency and the school principal (in case of school absenteeism) to fill out this document, which you submit to the federal administration. It can take a while for them to accept your request for an exception to child labour, so submit the document as soon as possible. Your casting agency is required by law to inform you about this.

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