Friday, 22 July 2016

Social Media Following


REWIND 10-15 years ago when social media barely existed, where you met people face to face rather than hiding behind a screen, and a time when people walked down the street looking where they were going rather than glued to their smartphone. Fast forward to today and the world is a different place, with social media at the forefront of everything.

Influence now seems to be judged on how much of a following you have across social media. If you're a model, you are now often asked how many followers you have on Instagram, and could be the difference between booking a job and not. When I get asked, my response will often be, "If you give me 24 hours I will have as many followers as you require for the job". The ease at which people buy followers or sign up to a progressive scheme that builds your following through a robotic method is unbelievable. Do clients know that people do this? Do clients know that people can even buy likes? I haven't got the answer to that.

Do I judge people who do it? Absolutely not. If it brings in more work then why not. I know a guy who bought tens of thousands of followers across all social media platforms and now is paid to travel to different countries to write and video his experiences. That's simply a clever use of social media. Many have been successful doing the same. People see someone with 10,000 or 100,000 followers and will often think to themselves that this must be an interesting person to follow. It's a building process. Rihanna and Katy Perry apparently bought followers on twitter when they first signed up! So if they can do it why can't others.



Some people work hard to add specific hashtags to tweets and Instagram posts and work tirelessly to legitimately build their social media following. But if they were to go on a reality show like Love Island for example, they would gain a massive following straight away. Some contestants have comfortably over 200,000 followers. This opens up a huge amount of opportunities by having such a following behind you.

A presenter I know approached ITV recently about whether they were looking for any presenters for projects at all. Their response to me really sums up where we are at right now and the huge importance given to a social media followings.

"We do not look for presenters anymore. We will look at Reality TV Shows and find the right person to train up as a presenter. They bring a social media following, which will help to bring a wider audience to our shows."

Where does that leave your experienced presenters? Well, many will continue to work hard and consistently in the future, however, they may have to accept that it could be very difficult to make that leap into a mainstream show.


I am very intrigued to hear from people who have been affected in their workplace by social media and their thoughts on purchasing a following. Would greatly appreciate comments below.

Many Thanks

James

Monday, 13 June 2016

10 things they don't tell you when you become a male model



Working as a model for nine years for brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Diet Coke and Bacardi and being able to travel the world has been a dream come true.

In 2007, I was spotted by a top european agency and have never looked back. OK thats not entirely true. I have threatened to quit numerous times, but I am still here fighting the fight. 

My first job was shooting a TV commercial for Esprit, which involved travelling the world for four weeks, from Munich to Hong Kong, New Zealand, Fiji oh and finishing up in Vegas!
I was getting familiar with airport’s, shooting catalogues in Athens, Majorca, working in Tokyo for two months and filming commercials in Portugal and Paris. 

Two years was spent in Los Angeles signed to Wilhelmina Models, one of the most recognised names in the industry before returning to London and continually working from catwalk shows to catalogues, commercials to underwear shoots. You name it, I’ve probably done it, but I have stayed humble and extremely grateful to everyone who has helped me along the way.

When I started in this industry I expected showbiz, girls, money and that glamorous lifestyle that is often portrayed all over the media. What I was to encounter was something completely different.
  1. You’re usually not modelling, you’re waiting

If you can’t get used to waiting, then you will never get used to modelling. Once, I waited over four hours to be seen by a casting director for under five minutes! Imagine being in an airport, sat at your gate with no amenities, flight delayed, but no one giving you any information when your flight will start boarding. The frustration building amongst passengers, no seats left so people crammed on the floor. Now picture that gate with a hundred models and their egos. Painful.

If you’re not stuck in a room waiting for a casting director or a client, you’re glued to your phone 24 hours a day waiting for a phone call about a job. It’s like being in the worst relationship ever, not knowing if she's going to accept you or dump you. Sometimes that call never even comes and you find out you’ve not booked the job by simply not getting a call. 
You have to wait for calls for castings, jobs, options and do not get me started on waiting for buses.

2. Your life is totally unstable and you can't plan for anything

Have you ever seen a bank manager rolling around on the floor in hysterics? Walk into a bank and say you’re a model and that you’re looking for a mortgage and you will soon find out. The inconsistency to my wages makes it almost impossible to get a mortgage.
Taking a holiday is like going to the casino, a real gamble. I have cancelled two holidays because of jobs coming up and came home early on three separate occasions for the same reason. 
It’s not just holidays though, it’s nights out with friends, stag do’s, birthdays and family occasions that are often affected.
One minute work is constantly flowing in, the next you’re out of favour and have to wait weeks, even months for your next job. Two and a half months I have waited for a job to come in before and even then it may have only paid £200.

3. You’re lied to A LOT

How many times “the world” is offered to you and it never comes to fruition. Clients promising campaigns and plenty of future work and you never hear from them again. Being told you are on option for a £10k job and then never hearing anything back at all.
Countless times I have spent hours traipsing round London to castings only to be turned away as I wasn’t actually requested.
If an agency knows a job is worth little money, they will often hide that information just so you go to the casting. Once I confirmed a job for half a days work, but the day before was told it was shooting in Leeds, a two hour plus each way trip, which clearly meant it was a full day of my time.

4. You become a liar yourself

If you ask most male models they will pretty much describe themselves as superman. “Can you fly?” yes. “Can you time travel?” yes. When you are asked if you can do something by a casting director or client you just say yes, and worry about it later. It’s like an unwritten rule that all male models abide by, but all go through that awkward moment when you are asked to prove it.
Many times I have told my agency I’m ill because I do not want to go to an audition or because I have booked a job direct with a client. Quite a few years ago I told an agency I was away on holiday in Spain, when in fact I was working in Denmark for a client (sometimes you just have to do these things).

5. You’re humiliated on a regular basis

I have no shame, no dignity, and no problem with that if it gets me a job. I have sung, danced to no music, mimed to a Spice Girls track, barked like a dog and would do it again if I had too. Model, Matthew Carter, even had to spit into a cup and he said: “It comes to a point when you don't question what you’re asked to do, however humiliating, you just do it.”
Sometimes I wonder if casting directors just ask us to do this stuff because they are bored just seeing a new face appear in the room every five minutes. They know you will always say yes to anything.

6. You’ll earn good money, but it will take forever for you to get paid, if at all…

Sometimes the money you can earn for a days “work” (usually consisting of standing looking left and right and straight ahead) is ridiculous. The most for one days shoot I have earned has been £6,000. However, when you may not work for a couple of months that money soon deteriorates in worth. Not only that, when you have to wait sometimes six months plus to be paid its quite tough. A contact lens online commercial I shot six years ago was never paid, which was worth £2,000. I gave up chasing it in the end.

7. You become as competitive as the female models

We all play nice when we arrive to a casting, with friendly questions - how are you etc, when really we’re sizing each other up, both figuratively and literally. You will see a guy who’s been in a big fragrance campaign and quite frankly think you won’t get the job. Or when it is for an underwear job and some guys have 6 pac’s showing through their jumper, and you’re sat there regretting the pizza the night before. This all culminates in asking the one important question that we only care about - have you been busy?
When I was in a Nivea commercial, which went across Europe and on TV at prime times, another model took great pleasure in calling me afterwards to tell me why he would have been better in the job. He even asked me for the casting directors details so he could find out why he was not called in.

8. Your vanity is a necessity

Working out regularly is a must and that does not mean sitting on a machine in the gym checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and goodness knows what else. It means hard work day after day. Constantly planning meals and eating clean, which as you can imagine can become extremely boring after a while.
Planning hair cuts to look right for certain jobs, designer stubble, teeth whitening, it all needs to be kept on top of and becomes a regime. And do not get me started on the waxing process…

9. You develop the skin of a rhino

Dealing with rejection on a regular basis is not fun and even less so when it is about how you look. On average the common consensus is that you book one job in ten castings, so thats nine rejections. After every rejection you have to keep picking yourself up and go again, but it is tough and I really struggled to deal with the rejection in the first couple of years of modelling.
Imagine standing in a room full of male models, having your body openly analysed and compared to others in front of you. Once in a casting in front of six models I was told by the casting director that I couldn't dance. You just get used to all the critiques.


10. Your failure is everywhere

You always see other people in ad campaigns that you cast for, which reminds you every single time of your own failures to not book the job. A £40k Diet Coke commercial, which I was optioned for, but missed out on, went global and was constantly on TV in front of my eyes.


Models use social media and in particular now Instagram to show-off their work and to show other models how busy they are. Every time this happens it’s a reminder that you are not too busy yourself.  If you do not have self belief then this can be crushing to take.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Posh Hotel, Posh Car, Posh Bags and Me hmmmmm


The Hanbury Hotel and Country Club, an incredible vintage Jenson and a scruffy lad from Essex.....

Ok maybe not too scruffy here thanks to the stylist putting me in clothes that you would never normally see me in!

This was a different styled shoot for me. An editorial. A bit more serious, a bit more structured, but the visualisation (toilet paper word) is so much more impressive.

A fantastic backdrop at a beautiful countryside hotel, which I would recommend to anyone looking for an English break away (especially if you like your golf).

But the car! I mean...wow!!! They seriously don't make them like this anymore, but there is something special about them. Now I'm not a "car" fan, however I certainly am able to appreciate these incredible wheels!


Short post, but looking forward to showcasing the finished images when I get them.

Friday, 11 March 2016

The rollercoaster ride that is modelling




MODELLING is such an up and down industry and one you can never really rely on unless you are right at the top of the game.

This is not something new and it has always been like that for me since I started in the industry nine years ago. I guess thats the same situation for any self-employed people. 

Living each day not knowing what will come in and when work does, taking full advantage of the busy times. For me working at night on ITV and modelling and also studying means that at times my sleep is heavily sacrificed, as is my social life.

But these are the times you need to push through and take advantage of because I know it won't last for long. It will be back to those weeks that pass through without a sniff of work.

Right now though the ride is HOT! And I am riding it as long as I possibly can! (Of course that isn't a euphemism!)


Shameless? Maybe. I am not one to regularly post topless shots across social media. I mean there are plenty of guys in much better shape than me! But I have been working my ass off in the gym and I am proud at how much better my diet is too.

Does this link to being busy? ABSOLUTELY!

When you go into an audition, your mentality is 90% of it. The right positive, relaxed state you are in the better chance of landing the job. 

This may sound ridiculous to many, as "surely its all about the way someone looks?". Not necessarily. If you're frustrated, tired, angry, grumpy and feeling anything negative then your battle is pretty much lost.

They say exercise and diet is great for your mind. Its so true. And works so much for me thats for sure. I am at my happiest when I'm feeling fit, healthy and I am eating and sleeping well.

It gives you a spring in your step and is something that clients can certainly notice when you walk into a room.


If you ever feel a little down and tired with life then get some exercise, get plenty of rest, eat well and clear your mind of all the negative thoughts and start again. We all need to do that from time to time.

Thanks for taking the time out to look through this post.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Journalism - Conquering Shorthand Writing


When I made the plunge into the world of journalism I had thoughts of writing gripping articles, learning the art of interviewing and getting my name in a newspaper under an article. Well maybe thats all to come, BUT I did not foresee having to learn this...




Nope its not French, or Spanish, even though it looks like a foreign language, its Shorthand writing. This is the Teeline style of it. A true journalistic skill.

The aim is to be able to write this at 100 words per minute. A task that at the moment looks a million miles away!

100 WPM is the barrier that employers look for from a journalist. We tend to speak at about 150 words a minute on average.

With the developments in technology with dictaphones and mobile phones and other recording devices, shorthand isn't exactly used as much as before. So what's the point?

In a lot of circumstances journalists might not be able to use a recording device. It can be such a useful skill to have to be able to jot down quickly what someone says in a short interview or a statement being made.

But in my opinion it feels like its a test to whittle out those that aren't willing to put the effort in to learn a new skill. Its recommended to learn a small amount, but on a daily basis in order to keep up on it.

I had my first exam at 60 WPM 2 weeks ago, which I am awaiting the results from. Being in an exam was a new experience in itself, but being in one where you are dictated too was a whole new level.

The exam involved a 2 minute piece, 30 second break, followed by a further 2 minute piece. We are allowed 5 mistakes, that is all.

Now, if you get caught behind its very difficult to catch up. If you feel stressed and start panicking, there is no time to sit back and take some deep breaths as by then you will be behind once more. It really is a challenge.

It's been a challenge that I have strangely enjoyed. I'm so competitive in everything I do that I just want to beat everyone in the class. But its that urge that pushes me on to get faster and faster at writing shorthand.

Learning a completely new skill has really opened my eyes to so much more. Learning is something we should be doing throughout our lives and something now I intend to follow on with in the future.

Friday, 29 January 2016

WHATS COOL NOWADAYS

Social Media has changed so much in our lives, from speaking with friends, storing photo albums, shopping, DATING and now it's even changed what 'some' people perceive as being cool.

What is your perception of 'being cool'?

I have an image in my head of a confident person walking down the street dressed cool, without a care in the world of how anyone else perceives them. This is what I picture when I think 'COOL'


Yes OK it's David Beckham. And let's be honest he is one of the coolest men on the planet.

How about a better example, a neutral one.


This laid back guy with a cool hair style, a leather jacket (which is a classic sign of being cool right) and just oozing confidence.

BUT THEN Social Media takes over the world. 

People found a new way of discovering what is cool or what they perceived as being cool. 

Now I am not telling anyone what is cool to then because we are all entitled to our opinions and because one person thinks something is cool it does not mean the next must do too.

However, can anyone tell me why this is cool


Don't panic, you're not seeing anything different to anyone else. This is Salmon, scrambled eggs and avocado. One of billions of pictures of the same food seen across social media on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and probably on many others too.

Food pictures are controversial to say the least. Do we all care what someone else is eating for their meals?

If it is a Personal Trainer, Fitness Guru or Nutritionist, I completely understand the reasoning for posting food pictures. These people aren't posting them because they're 'cool' (they post gym selfies of their abs in the mirror for that), they are doing it for their business and for inspiration for others.

BUT so many normal people seem to believe they are one of the cool kids for posting pictures of healthy foods. Its like a way of bragging to everyone across social media that they are healthy and they are awesome. 

Hey thumbs up to those who are eating well etc, but do you really need the social media world to vindicate your achievements?


Glad to get that off my chest.

Let me know what you see so much of now across social media that 'erks' you.

I am now planning on posting much more articles like this about issues, funny or serious to help with my journalistic development. (see I'm already learning new words like 'journalistic')

Enjoy