Friday, 26 August 2011

Being at the bottom of the food chain

Every week I meet someone new who asks me what I do for a living. I openly tell them that I do TV presenting and Modeling. Their reaction is always the same to the modeling, "wow, check you out! You must have an easy life".

If this were true, this blog would be a completely different read and would probably make readers feel jealous of all the greatness going on in my working life. The truth is in the title of this blog piece, "being at the bottom of the food chain". Life in the modeling industry has changed dramatically over the last 2 or 3 years. Gone are the days of huge payments for very little work. Gone are the days of constantly travelling to exotic locations. It is a completely changing industry.

When the financial market took a massive turn for the worse 2 years ago, businesses had to cut their out goings to survive, which meant reducing their spend on advertising (where models come into play). I've spoke before about this, but it is not going away and the money is being reduced every single week it seems. We are at the bottom of the food chain, its as simple as that. If they cut our prices, we have a decision to make, to either suck up the cut in price and do the job, or decide not to do it and let someone else take the job. We are replaceable! And unfortunately people are quickly realising this and the impact of the model advertising the products is becoming less of a priority.

Businesses are less concerned on the quality of the model, and more concerned about getting someone in at a cheaper rate. How tough is it if your doing your normal job one week, the next your doing the same job but for £100+ cheaper? How would you cope with this?

If you don't believe me, I have an example that has happened to me this week. As discussed before I worked with Burtons Menswear a couple of times recently now and had a huge potential to becoming very regular work, which would be ideal. I had to go into the company for a casting, as someone new took over the position of booking the models for the company. When someone new comes in, they often want to put their stamp on things and make changes to make it all about them, which immediately puts me at a disadvantage. I completely understand this situation and to be honest would probably consider doing the exact same thing if I was in that position. But would I openly say in front of the model that I have come in and I am cutting the rates straight away??? No.

Stood there and having to be told by the client that the rates will be cut in such a blase way, was very difficult to hear. I couldn't react. I had to just shrug it off and get on with what I am doing. Do I have a say in this? Not one bit. We are replaceable remember and if I say no to it, someone else will say yes.

Do I see a way past this? The future looks very bleak I must be honest. The only way to get the best rates is to become a commodity. To become irreplaceable. To have something that no one else can offer. To become a recognised name. How do I go about this? Please send me comments and let me know!!!


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

London Life - not that easy

Being back in England has been nice at times when catching up with friends and family, and back working on a regular basis, something that I greatly needed in order to improve my self esteem, which had become very low after a frustrating time on the work front in the US. However, it's still not an easy run of things in this country.

Castings are few and far between for modeling and I have been missing out on quite a few castings because of my knee situation, which is still no closer to being operated on. Speedo casting (need to swim), Mizuno casting (need to run)and others just seem a bit typical for my fortune right now. But I have not been dwelling on this and I am starting to do all I can to increase my opportunities to gain more work away from modelling. I am trying to get representation from a talent agency to help gain me some presenting work, something I firmly believe I am good at and could do very well if I get my opportunity to show people my talents.

Now, I hope people do not think I'm being arrogant by this comment, because this is not the case. I just feel very confident in front of a camera and believe that this is a career that I can do well in. Positive thinking often goes a very long way and it continually helps motivate myself to go after my dream. This is something that on a personal level I need, as it can be very easy sometimes to sit back and settle with what you have and not go after more and more. This is often the case when I get negative responses back from agencies that do not want to represent me. But I should be used to this from all the castings I have been to in my life that I have been told "no" from.

I certainly need to pull my proverbial finger out and be more pro active with my work. I need to stop relying on others to provide the opportunities and go out and grasp them myself. You make your own future and nobody will work harder for you than yourself, and why should they. This is what I am drilling in my head on a regular basis at the moment.

To sum up why London is not easy, just look above at this picture. This was a job I did for Optical Express. The pay was OK, for one days work don't get me wrong. And to be honest and put how much I received for this it was around about £400. A lot you think? Well, when I later found out that the usage for this job was 2 years, and all website, advertising and publications you start to ask yourself, "Are you taking the piss?!" This is absolutely ridiculous, but it is a sign of changing times in the market all over the world, not just London. Companies need to cut their costs as much as possible with the state of the economy, and advertising is the first area, which they look to cut. And as with any structure, the bottom of the pile are the ones that suffer the most. We have seen this so much in society of late and this is the case in my business too. You ask any models about their rates, and every single one will say the same thing. It is nearly impossible to make a living from this business unless you are at the very top of the pile. It is even harder for guys because there are fewer jobs available than there are for women, simple fact.

Times are changing and I need to adapt with it and work harder to achieve all I can in this world.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The Riots - an attempted destruction of society

This wasn't exactly the kind of news in my life that I thought I would want to be writing in my blog. I didn't realise how overcome with emotion and anger from watching what has been happening these past few days that I have become. I have been unable to keep my eyes off of the news reports, the live videos and the constant interviews with people across society over the matter. It has completely taken over my life, my thoughts and my mind and distracted me from all that I need to start doing to kick start my working life again.

The behaviour of every single person involved in these riots is absolutely disgusting. Some of them are showing violence, some are showing vandalism, some are showing thieving, some are arsonists and some are now even murderers. So many of these people are pure and simply opportunists, taking advantage of a very difficult situation that started with the death of Mark Duggen in North London. Worryingly, you could ask so many of these rioters who he is and they wouldn't have a clue. They are doing this because "they can". They are rebelling against the laws of the land and unfortunately they have no remorse for their actions and believe society owes them. This is a huge problem.

What angers me the most right now is that people are pointing fingers at each other for these events. The government, the local authorities, the police, the rich, the education and the parents. Let's be real, these young people are out of control. They are not a political movement, they are not protesters, they are pure and simply criminals. They are old enough to know whats right and wrong and they are the sole people responsible for their actions and should be punished. The only other people that deserve a big part of the responsibility are the parents and/or guardians. What on earth are they doing? Where is their control over the children? This is what angers me the most, as these rioters are just kids, and don't live in their own property, they live with parents or guardians. Parents need to get hold of their kids and start educating them from the home.
But concentration right now needs to be made to catch everybody responsible and bring them to justice. We desperately need a strong justice system in this country, which helps make everybody feel more at ease that these kind of people will be punished.

I don't like people blaming others for these mindless acts. By doing this, we are letting them get away with it and it will make them continue to do so.

The immediate future needs to be concentrated on getting them off our streets, helping people and businesses effected by riots and getting back to normal for all. It is only after all this is completed that we can start looking deeper into these issues and finding ways we can prevent this from ever happening again. Youth projects, better community links with the police would be a start and that has to come from the top end of the country, the government. I do not agree with those people calling for better education, as the teachers of our country work very hard as it is and for me education starts at home.

I am desperate for everything to calm itself down and to stop spreading around the country. It's upsetting for all involved and I hope it stops very soon!

My work has slowed as people are not wanting to come down to London or are expecting people to come into London if it is not necessary. This is affecting a huge amount of people!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Life back in the UK

It is amazing and very strange how in one country you can get hardly any work, and you move back to another and its non stop. But as my strange life continues, it brings about little surprise that this is the case, as it add's more confusion to my already complicated life.

After taking 5 days to rest up from my jet lag, I was straight back in the swing of things back at live casino channel Smartlive Casino. I am so grateful for everybody at Smartlive for giving me the opportunity to come back to the show after being away for over 7 months. In today's extremely difficult society, I feel very fortunate to be able to get some work as soon as I get back with Smartlive. Also, the advantages of smartlive is that it is Live TV and that you can often get the opportunity to talk about just life. This helps me get much needed practice for any potential presenting work that could come. I have set my sights on really achieving as a presenter and practice, like in any industry, is essential and this show really helps. It also helps pay the bills too ;-)

Modeling wise I have a great agency here in London MOT Models ( some fantastic people working their too have welcomed me back with open arms. After a little bit of time to get back into it, I had my first castings at the start of this week, 3 on Monday. I managed to get one of these jobs, a Malibu Ident, and was optioned for another one, which was a trip to Switzerland. A very good start by any ones standards, which delighted me of course. Then I managed to be booked direct for Burton's menswear on Thursday, a nice online Suits shoot, which could lead to more regular work. To make matters even better, I am working for House of Fraser on Monday too! So, work is going very very well.

Its just all completely different than that of modeling work in LA. The question I have been asked most about this is quite simply, why?
I have many ideas of why I believe this is the case, but there is nothing definitive to answer why. My ideas include quite simply not having the right look for the market in LA, the opportunities in LA are only for the really big jobs, where competition is at its most competitive, and my main idea is the way castings are in London. This is something I talked about in a previous post, and it certainly is the case when I get to cast in London and actually meet the clients. It's always a good opportunity as it gives you the chance to show your personality to them as well, which can have an influence on the outcome.

So life's been good, and been great to spend time with family and friends as always, as well as work and knowing that I am bringing in good income after a tough 7 months in LA. It's tough knowing that I have someone I love across the other side of the world and not being able to be there with them though. But I believe every job I can book here and every penny I can earn presenting here will stand me in good stead to move back to LA and to live our life how life should be lived.