Archive for April, 2010


Stills and Motion: The Model Dilemma

Just when I thought I got the “hiring a model for a still shoot” process down, along comes motion and throws a royal monkey wrench in my casting gears.  For still shoots, I stopped looking at the model’s portfolio first and instead go straight to the Polaroids.  Why the Polaroids?  Because they are an unedited record of how the model actually looks without make-up, styling, and someone else’s vision. With the Polaroids I am able to see the model from all angles, not just his or her best angles, without color enhancement or retouching.  I then look at the portfolio to understand their range, to determine if they will be able to give me I will be asking of them for my shoot.  With still work, since I work with a small group of agencies when I need to cast, and the agents understand the concept behind the shoots, and know how I work, I will often bypass the “go see” and cast on the basis of the stills.

But with motion, things have changed.  The personality of the model, the way the model moves and sometimes even the model’s voice become considerations. You now have to be concerned with whether the model will be comfortable taking direction and taking directions with motion is different than having someone bark directions at you during a still shoot.  In fact, I find myself looking for the newly emerging category I call “model/actor” more and more, because story- and theme-based motion work involves assuming a role, as opposed to posing or the “frontin’” that you do will stills. It gives that expression “you have to own it!” that you hear so often on modeling reality shows when the judges are looking at the film, a whole new meaning.  I find myself looking at model reels when they are available, and requiring a face-to-face if at all possible before casting.   

From where I sit, one of the most important things I can do is to describe, in as much detail as possible, what the shoot is about and what the role the model will be playing is. This means I am up-front about not only the story but the apparel as well.  With the video shoot entitled the “Pink Slip” (which you can view by clicking here) the models were told up-front that they would be portraying people walking the streets looking to “hook-up.”  The male models were told they would be rearing underwear underneath their coats.  Our female lead was told that she would be wearing a short pink slip under her coat.  I provide this level of information because I want to work with people who are genuinely excited by what they are getting involved in, who understand what I am going to ask of them, and can commit to it.  I don’t need or want the drama of someone getting to a shoot only to find that they have an issue with what I need them to do.  It was 36 degrees and windy the night of the shoot, and I had three models who we absolute joys to work with.


April 2010
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current ipod playlist includes:

Eva Cassidy - Over the Rainbow, Rascal Flatts - Unstoppable, Renee Olsstead - A Love That Will Last, Train - Hey Soul Sister, Trisha Yearwood - How Do I Live, Jason DeRulo - Whatcha Say, Byron Kelsey Atkinson - The Love That Heals, Luther Vandross - Love Forgot, Patti Austin - True Love, Phyllis Hyman - No One Could Love You More, Keisha Cole with Monica - Trust, Shontelle - Impossible, Nickelback - This Afternoon, JayZ with Ms. Keyes - Empire State of Mind



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