You’ve just received word that you’re being asked to attend a modeling audition, more commonly known in the business as a go-see. Congrats! That’s exciting news.
But before you rush out the door to attend, there are a few things you as a commercial model should do to make sure you’re handling your professional life properly.
1. Find out who the project is for.
If it’s a company or product you don’t want to promote, turn down the go-see. I know some folks who are strict vegetarians and won’t do ads for fast food restaurants because they don’t want to promote eating meat. Others might turn down alcohol, cigarette, or lottery ads because they don’t want to be associated with those products.
I have booked over 1,200 jobs and have only turned down a few offers, one of which I thought would be a bad business decision in the long run as it was about child abuse and I worried that having my face associated with such a dark subject would prevent me from booking future work with companies focused on kids, like Toys “R” Us and Crayola.
2. Check your availability.
After deciding you’re comfortable with the ad, find out the date of the go-see and the shoot. If you are not available for either, let your agent know.
The other thing you will need to tell your agent is if you currently have an ad running that’s a conflict. If you have an ad running for McDonald’s (or ever did an ad for that company) and this is a go-see for Burger King, you have to tell your agent. Chances are they won’t allow you to attend the audition because you are working or have worked for their competitor.
3. Figure out compensation.
Your agent will likely let you know what you will be paid if you book the job, the usage (where the ad will run—newspaper, magazine, direct mail, etc.), and how long it will run for. Typically, ads are used for 12—24 months and the models are paid a bonus if it runs in a high exposure format like on the side of a bus, online, a billboard, etc.
Commercial models may also receive a bonus if the company wants to use the ad for three or more years, or in perpetuity. This is something you should think about before accepting the go-see because when a company has the option of using your image forever, you could lose out on any work for similar companies or products for the rest of your life. You have to decide if you might lose a lot of work in the future for a small bonus today, or accept the bonus and take your chances.
4. Fill out the necessary forms.
For some pharmaceutical and insurance go-sees, models will need to list any jobs done within those industries for the past three years. They might ask for the shoot dates, what type of pharmaceutical product you promoted, and what was your character type in the ad. Always keep a list of these jobs on your phone so you have easy access to the details.
5. Make sure you sign in when you arrive.
The first thing you should do when you arrive at the go-see is add your name (and sometimes your agent’s contact info) to the sign-in sheet. This lets the casting director know who is next in line to be shot, so don’t sign in until you are 100 percent ready. You don’t want to be in a situation where you sign in, start doing work on your hair or makeup, they call you, and you have to tell them you’re “almost done.”
You will almost always be asked to also write down your basic measurements when you sign in (including hat and glove size), as well as an address. If you’re traveling to the go-see from out of state, I recommend leaving the latter blank as you don’t want anyone to think there may be an issue with you arriving on time for the booking.
And it’s also common to be asked if you’re willing to work as an extra as well as if you are in SAG-AFTRA (in case they have to shoot video during the photo shoot).
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and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.