Contracts are tricky things, full of legalese and containing inconvenient or downright unfortunate clauses. Modeling also involves contracts that come in various kinds. One such contract is the “exclusive contract" that is typically the one contract that an agency will ask a model to sign.
Basically, this contract is all about the agency being the sole representative and holding exclusive rights to a model’s services. This means you won’t be able to work for any other agency as long as the contract is in effect. Sometimes, standard contracts also involve granting the agency rights to collect a service charge from clients you work with, on top of the agency’s cut from your own earnings.
Contracts vary from agency to agency and depend on the talent, but typical contracts last from a year to 3 years, with options for renewal. The important thing to consider here is how long you’re willing to be tied up to one agency.
We understand that it can be difficult to assess just how well you’ll be managed and taken care of, especially if you’re just starting out. The key here is due diligence—just like in any other industry, it’s important to know what you’re getting into. Learn all about the agency, including its clients, personnel, and procedures so you don’t end up in a situation that’s detrimental to your career and well-being.
You have to consider all the provisions of the offered contract. If the items all check out and you think you will benefit from the contract, then by all means, sign it. Don’t hesitate to ask anybody that you believe can help you—it’s even better if you can get an experienced model.
There are also non-exclusive contracts, although the agency will likely protect its own interests by not allowing you to do jobs with other agencies that are in the same area. This type of deal is great in that it makes your professional prospects more flexible, while still allowing you to gain opportunities with your main agency.
When you feel like a contract’s terms don’t measure up to your expectations or if you believe it to be unfair, don’t think twice about contacting the agency to negotiate. In the end, it will be up to you to sign the contract, so make sure that you really agree with all the terms before putting your signature on the dotted line. Apart from making your situation more secure and desirable, you’re also showing character by letting the agency know that you won’t settle for less than what you’re worth.
To cap it off, while the idea of being locked up on an agency contract might sound like a bad thing for a model, getting signed is actually a solid first step in one’s career—especially if you’re being wooed by a top agency. There’s no need to be afraid of the word ‘contract’. Contracts can be intimidating and difficult to understand, but with a good amount of consideration and a proper understanding of what the contract entails, you’ll be able to decide if it’s right for you or not. Here’s hoping you come to a decision that’s best for your career. God Bless.