Saturday, August 6, 2011

Model Mayhem or Flake City?

First and foremost, there is really nothing at all wrong with Model Mayhem. In fact it's a really easy to use website, quite seamless to do the standard things you'd want to do like upload or arrange photos or send messages. The website exists to put models in touch with photographers mostly, but also make up artists, clothing designers, hair stylists, etc. It's a very good site and I'm not knocking it at all. In fact, here's a link if you want to check it out modelmayhem.

So far the only problems I'm having are with the people. I've asked several models so far if they've been interested in doing a shoot, they've all responded positively to that. So I go "Great, here's my contact info lets meet over coffee and plan it. Do you mind if I bring my partner, Sheryl?"  And that's about as far as it ever gets. Some of them say, "I'm coming to your area this week" or that they come around here all the time. Some of them contacted me in the first place, and then flaked. True, I've only had contact with 5 or 6 so far, but I'm getting the sense that it's a trend.

I doubt it has anything to do with Chico, or Chico State, which is known to be a party school. It might have something to do with the general age of these models--- most are around age 20 or so. Maybe the idea, the concept of being a model is "I'm good looking, so maybe somebody will pay me to stand there and be pretty." When I'm pretty sure, speaking as a photographer and also as an all around older- -than-20-years-old guy, that there is a lot more to it than that. It's not the hardest work around, but it is work, and some people can play to the camera well and some can't.

When it comes to getting paid to model-- you might have to know something about that. You might need an agent or an agency, because paid modeling work is serious business, not a fairy tale. You've got a crew of professionals working collaboratively to produce a very fine product on a schedule, not "bang bang, shoot shoot, here's a wad of cash, now go home." But you've got to get started somewhere, and so Model Mayhem could be a good start. It could also be a place to just fart around and play fantasy games, without every having to pony up and actually do something, like follow through and show up, or at least follow through with making a plan which actually involves showing up.

Lest you think I'm naive, I didn't expect everyone on this site to be a professional, not even close. Most who do anything do TFCD at least for awhile until a decent portfolio is established. TFCD is a trade wherein all those involved are trading their time and effort for the end product: the photos themselves. It used to be called TFP which is "trade for prints" back in film days. I just didn't expect the first half dozen contacts to come up zilch, especially when they are expressing interest, have seen my portfolio and presumably my website and then. . .  nothing. They did put themselves up on the site. They do state that they want to improve or add to their portfolio, that they are willing to do TFCD. Many have really woefully inadequate portfolios: a handful of fuzzy, grainy, red eye snapshots and could really use my help. I may not be the #1 fashion or even portrait photographer in the region, but I can do much better than what many of them have right now, and my portfolio shows that. If they don't like what I've got, they're under no obligation to respond or to contact me in the first place. So what's with the flake factor?

Either I get it or I don't. In a vacuum  I'm going to have to make my own assumptions. The first, and pretty much undeniable one is that the vast majority in this venue aren't even the least bit serious, and that it is just a fantasy or a game to them. Maybe we should blame the mass media for this one too-- that's not my favorite thing to do, however. Have our younger generation gotten the idea that being and young and pretty is your entire one-way ticket to Moneyville? That all you have to do is hang out a snapshot or two and the mavens of fashion will swoop down upon you, raining dollars like manna from heaven because you are the one in a million who is in possession of the perfect pout? Wow. I hope that's not it.


joe said...

Having had several positive experiences on model mayhem I now find myself dealing with the flake factor... It's as if I hit a brick wall of flakiness. Like you I've either contacted or been contacted by models wanting to add to their portfolios and the initial communications go well until the "golden 24 hour period" (coined by me) or even shorter notice where "ka-poof" FLAKINESS occurs.

I don't understand it...

Anonymous said...

I've had similar problems with Model Mayhem. They're what I call 'pretend models'. They just like to call themselves models and put up a few bad pictures their boyfriend took of them in the back yard. The very few who did show up did not know how to pose or prepare for the shoot. They literally just stood there on the set without moving. Didn't even know one single pose. I had to direct her every movement, every limb, for each shot. I'm done with Model Mayhem and their flakes, no nudity, I'm bringing an escort " pretend models.