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In South Africa, the term Film Industry is generally used to describe a range of Entertainment Media Production activities including Feature films, Television, Television commercials, Stills Photography, Music videos, Corporate and In House media and even Video gaming. Models are in high demand by this Industry. 

In South Africa, Models are usually expected to work across all the disciplines of the Industry: Commercials, Stills shoots, Fashion shows etc, as well as promotional engagements. 

Models are selected or cast by the Producer, Director, Casting Director, Photographer and Magazine Editors. In some cases they may be recommended and booked on the Agents recommendation. 

Modelling is open to both male and female Models and people of any ethnic or National background.

 While some modelling categories can have very specific height or weight requirements, others can be more accessible. 

Modelling, like Acting or Presenting is a highly specialised area with strict criteria. Babies, Children, Teenagers and Adults of a specific age and who do not fit the Model criteria, are not considered Models. 

They are referred to as Characters and there are Agencies specialising in this market although most Agencies have a Character division. 

The Modelling Industry in South Africa is made up of men and women generally ages 16 – 30. 

With South Africa becoming a Global player in the International Fashion Community, it has become even more important to adhere to the International standard of Modelling as set by our American and European counter parts. 

It is an Industry that requires mature, independent, level headed, strong, healthy and like minded individuals. Models come from a variety of backgrounds, and it is difficult to pinpoint any specific career route.

 There are no guarantees of work or work progression. In South Africa only a handful of male and female Models can call themselves full time working Models. 

The Model Industry takes its direction from International Fashion trends. Nordic Looking Models work well in Germany where as Waif like Models work well in London. In general, the South African market prefers a healthier look. 

With that said, it is possible for a Model to have a long career. 

This can only be achieved with a strong, professional and reputable Management team behind you. 

Choosing the correct Agent is the most important decision of a Models career.

 Models should know how to prepare for and perform at auditions or casting sessions. A good, natural acting ability is of vital importance. 

They must be uninhibited in order to temporarily assume other identities. 

Dress code plays a vital role in the success at casting stage. 

If the Casting Director is seeking a Business man or women, wear a suit. If they are looking for a chicken, dress like a chicken. Specific physical skills are required from time to time - the ability to assume a different body shape or language, drive a motor vehicle or ride a horse. 

For some shoots dancing or more intimate settings such as kissing are a pre - requisite. 

More experienced Models also learn how their performance may be affected by the additional cast, camera positions, lighting techniques and the requirements of different sets and locations. They must be aware of the professional etiquette and traditions of working on shoots and locations e.g. how long a shoot day is. I never sign any documentation on set. I will be professional at all times. 

I will not complain to anyone on set. I will not discuss rates.

 In addition, they should be aware of Health and Safety regulations and insure that their actions do not constitute a risk to themselves or others. Not all Agents offer training courses but give classes as they are needed. 

Although not a pre – requisite it is advisable. Models pay for these courses themselves. The curriculum will include: · Ramp Training. · Casting. · Hair and Make – up. · Fashion. · 

General tips for Photographic work. A course like this does not cost the Model an exorbitant amount. It does not last for 3 months or consists of multiple courses and no diploma or certificate is issued upon completion. If this is in fact the case, chances are that you are not with an accredited Agency. STARTING YOUR CAREER: If you are reading this document, you are already off to a good start. It means that you have signed with a NAMA accredited Member. NAMA stands for the National Association of Model Agencies. 

To become a NAMA Member, an Agent adheres to a strict code of conduct and ethics. 

NAMA together with our Cape Town counter part CAMA and the PMA are the only Organizations accredited by the Industry pertaining to Model / Artist / Talent representation. Our mission statement includes: · 

To promote the highest possible standards by our Member Agencies. · 

To specify commonly accepted practise in the Industry, so that Clients, Agencies and Models/ Artists / Talent are aware of their respective rights and obligations. · To encourage fair remuneration and treatment for Models, Artists, Children and Talent.

 THE AGENT: Model, Artist, Talent, Creative or Children’s Agents represent Performers and / or creative Members who work across the disciplines of Film, Television, Commercial and Fashion. 

They also represent Individuals for Corporate, theatre and radio performances etc. Agents will build up a Models portfolio, Composite cards, arrange go - sees, send out casting briefs, find and book work, negotiate fees and contracts, find International representation and successfully manage the Models career. 

They represent a roster of all types of performers and cultivate relationships with Industry decision makers in order to secure bookings. They negotiate deals and act as the “Buffer” for the whole process in this Tri Party Alliance of Model, Agent and Client. They support and guide the Models career. 

Agents should keep up to date with Fashion trends, the Entertainment Industry, which Productions or Stills shoots have been given the green light, cultivate and maintain relationships with Industry Professionals and establish relationships with existing or new clients to ensure optimum growth of both Business and Model. An Agent should be up to date with all the rules, regulations, terms, conditions and fee structures that govern our Industry. In addition, they should have a sound knowledge of Tax law, Labour law or any other applicable laws not only governing our Country but applicable to our Industry. Agents need excellent social skills, have the ability to make contacts within the Industry and maintain them diplomatically and tactfully. 

Good communication and linguistic abilities are required as well as strong negotiation skills in order to market their Models / Artists / Talent to a diverse group of clients. Industry Experience and knowledge are the key components to becoming a successful Agent. THE BOOKER: An Agency Booker works the booking table of an Agency, the heart of all Agency activities. 

There is little difference between the Agent and Booker. In most cases they are one and the same. On a practical level, a Booker manages the careers of the Models / Artists / Talent he or she represent. 

That means interpreting casting briefs, giving casting instructions, organizing Model charts and bookings, arrange test shoots as to keep portfolios and composite cards current, arrange go – sees, make travel arrangements, negotiate contracts and fee structures etc. Maintaining a strong working relationship with your booker is imperative. Most Bookers were Models themselves and have an excellent knowledge and understanding of the Industry. Their guidance and advice is invaluable. 


 PORTFOLIO AND E BOOKS: These are the most important tools for any Model pertaining to Stills / Photographic work. A good Portfolio and E - Book will be diverse and representative of all aspects of the Industry. Head shots, body shots, commercial, catalogue and high fashion must be depicted in your Portfolio and E - Book. To obtain good quality pictures, it is advisable to test with a reputable fashion Photographer, working closely with professional make – up, hair and fashion stylists as to ensure your Portfolio and E – Book is current and depicting different moods to show your versatility. ·

 COMPOSITE CARDS / Z CARDS: This card will be representative of your Portfolio and E - Book. Your best images, depicting your versatility appear on your card. The card is sent to various Clients in all aspects of the Industry. ·

 MODEL BAG: A clean body, hair and nails are crucial. All professional Models have a Model bag. This bag must be taken with you to all shoots. The following is a list of what your Model bag must contain. 1. Deodorants, soap, face cloth and towel. 2. Razor and shaving cream. 3. Nail clippers and nail file. 4. Clean underwear. Black, white and flesh coloured. 5. Socks / Pantyhose. Black, white and flesh coloured. 6. Make – up and hair products. 7. A Head Scarf as to prevent make – up from getting on the clothes. 8. A robe. 9. A selection of neat and clean shoes. 10. A Good book.

 Ever heard of the term hurry up and wait. · 

MODEL DIARY / POWER BOOK / PALM TOP: It is important to write down all the details of your castings, go – sees, options or bookings. · MAP BOOK OR GPS: Buy a map book or attain GPS for all the cities you work in as a Model. It is important that you are always on time. MODEL CATEGORIES: There are many types of Modelling categories, each with different requirements. These include: · Magazine Covers. · Fashion / Beauty editorials. · Advertorials. · Catalogue. · Retail. · Campaigns. · Runway. · Commercials. · Stock / Image library. · Corporate / In House. · Viral. · Film and Television. 


 It takes up to 2 years to successfully launch a Models career. · You must attend your castings and follow the brief provided by your Booker. You have to re – shoot and update your Portfolio and Composite cards at least every 6 months and stay abreast with the latest fashion trends. · Agents are not Private Banking Institutions or Personal loan facilities.

 Your personal financial status is of no concern to your Agent. 

They run a Professional Business and are under no obligation to advance you fees. ·

 You have to maintain your appearance. The most frequent complaint by Clients is that Models look nothing like their photographs in their portfolio or on their composite cards. 

You may under no circumstance change your appearance without prior permission from your Agent / Booker. When attending a casting, go – see or shoot, make an effort to look like the individual in your portfolio. 

Ensure that you take a bath or shower before attending. Make sure your hair and skin are neat and clean and that you have groomed. Your apparel must be fashionable, neat and clean. 

Remember you only have one chance to make a first impression.

 Ensure that it is a positive and lasting impression. · You may not have more than one Agent. Your Mother Agency will place you with out of town or International Agencies. · You may not take a Direct Booking. All bookings must be handled by your Agent. They hold your chart and booking schedule and have a record of all the work you have done. They are also familiar with all special provisions maintained within your contracts e.g. You have shot a cellular phone commercial that states no competitive products. You accept a direct booking to shoot for a competing cellular provider. The outcome - serious legal ramifications. · It is unprofessional and unethical to discuss your earnings with other Models.

 Your Booker might have demanded a much higher fee for you or you might be the new kid on the block on a lower day rate and discussing this could have serious repercussions. · You are entitled to copies of your contracts. · 

Never phone your Agent or a Client and ask them for directions. All Models must buy a map book or attain GPS for the city or cities they work in. You must be self sufficient and always be on time. · Never sign any documentation when on set. You employ an Agent to do this for you and you trust them. If a Client insists, call your Agent immediately. · Special requirements re. nudity, partial nudity, a hair style or colour change for shoots will be discussed at time of booking or casting. 

This can not be forced upon or be insisted on at the shoot. Do not take your clothes off for anyone, unless this was discussed prior with your Agent. Contact your Agency immediately. · Improper behaviour by a Client or fellow Model must be reported. ·

 Please ensure that you understand the fee structures used by the International Model Industry. 

All NAMA Agents follow and abide by International norms. Booking Fee / Handling Fee is 20 percent and is between Agent and Client and Commission is 20 percent. You will pay 14% VAT on the 20% commission. Ensure that your Agent explains the fee structure to you in detail. · If an International Model is in South – Africa for a long period of time, 6 months for example, he or she should pay 25% PAYE. If the Model is flying into the Country for a particular assignment and will thus be in the Country for only 3 days, he or she will be eligible to pay PAYE of 15%. · All Models / Artists / Talent / Children should pay 25% PAYE unless a Tax Directive can be obtained. 

This is normal through - out the world. · Models /Artist / Talent are Independent Contractors. 

The correct code that must appear on your IRP 5, in order for you to claim back at the end of the fiscal year is CODE 3616. You would be able to claim back commission payable to your Agent, petrol costs, magazines, make-up etc. · 

However, for longer periods of employment such as 6 months shooting a Motion Picture as an example, the CODE 3601 must be used. ·

 It is your responsibility to collect your IRP 5’s from the Clients whom you worked for during the financial year. 

It is also your responsibility to pay over your Taxes at the end of the financial year.

 This is not your Agents responsibility. ·

 It takes approximately 30 – 90 days before an Agent has received monies owed by Client and will pay you as soon as they have received it. · 

With the exception of Catalogue, Fashion or Beauty editorials, your fee is divided into 2 sections.

 A day rate and a usage fee. The Day rate is paid because you physically went to a location and shot a commercial etc. The usage is paid only if you are featured and recognizable. This gives the Client the right to use images shot for a specific period of time. You do not receive these 2 amounts at the same time. 

The Client has 45 days to notify the Agents if a Model / Artist / Talent is featured or not, you will wait between 60 - 90 days for the usage fee. · There are generally 3 categories at any working Agency: 

NEW FACE: This is a new Model starting in the Industry and would need a lot of attention as your Portfolio and composite cards needs to be built. From time to time your Agent may ask or expect you to do magazine shoots or a runway show for free as to give you the opportunity to attain tear sheets or ramp experience. 

INTERMEDIATE: A Model that has worked successfully for about 2 years. A strong Portfolio, a proven track record and strong working relationships with Clients. 

SPECIAL BOOKING: These are Models that are instantly recognisable. They have worked successfully in South Africa and abroad and can thus demand much higher fees. · A “New Face” can not earn the same as an established or International Model or Artist. This will be left to the discretion of the Agent. · A Shoot day is a working day. The Model / Artist / Talent go to a specific location or Studio to shoot a commercial, catalogue, fashion or beauty editorial etc. The shoot day can be either a full day or half day booking. 

When shooting a commercial, there are no half days. A Full day is 10 hours for a local Client and 11 hours for an International Client. 

When shooting Stills a half day is 4 hours and a full day is 9 hour for Local work and 5 Hours and 11 hours for International work. Always notify your Agent of the time you completed your shoot in case of overtime. · 

A Hold day is when you are on stand by for the client or if you are on an away shoot, it would be the day that you would not be needed. · 

A Weather day is when you were booked for a shoot but as the term suggest, you are unable to shoot due to weather conditions. · 

A Travel day is applicable only for out of town shoots. 

The days that you are required to travel to and from a far out location. ·

 A Fitting is when you are required to go and fit the apparel you will be wearing at the shoot or Runway show. · 

A Rejection fee can be paid if the Client decides not to use the images or commercial you shot. · 

Renewal fees are paid if the Client decides to extend the use of your images or commercial for a specific period of time. 

This applies only to the usage fee plus an escalation of 25% per annum. · 

Equity is a term that refers to the use of bit parts. This is considered to be a specialized area. Hands, feet, eyes etc. · A Go – see is an appointment set up for you to meet and greet Clients. It gives them the opportunity to view your Portfolio. · 

An Option means that you are not a 100% confirmed for a job. 

It is a tentative yes and you need to be available on the day until you have been notified that you have been released or booked. · 

Booking means that you have been confirmed for a job. In conclusion, you are about to embark on an exciting career in the Model Industry, a career that will allow you to meet interesting people, see and experience incredible places and different cultures, give you the opportunity to travel, maybe learn a foreign language.

 Many Models remain in the Industry once they hang up their Model shoes. Some become Bookers, Agents, Fashion Stylists, Make – up Artists, Hair Stylists, Fashion or Magazine Editors, Producers or Photographers.

 Think of our very own Josie Borain and Alexa Singer, both successful International Models, who today are top International Photographers. The important thing to remember is that hard work does have its rewards. 

Best of luck and enjoy.