I’m not sure what to do about this…

The blog always makes me feel better, so I thought I’d write a little.

I’m approaching the end of this traveling modeling for a little while. For the rest of the year at least, and then we’ll see what happens in the spring. No job related reason, I’m just getting too busy to be gone 140 days a year.

I’m presently on tour in the Southeast. Stops include Birmingham, Atlanta, Tampa and Orlando among others. And I’m having one of the worst trips of my career. I’m making money, but in the past several days I’ve had over 30 hours of bookings cancel for this week and next. This amount of work is the equivalent of my entire tuition bill for the fall. I have it all covered and everything, so no dire straits, but I’m so disappointed that this happened!

Many of the people who cancelled are my long time clients. Any they’re canceling for reasons like ‘I didn’t plan the money right’ or ‘I booked another job.’ Things I’ve had on the calendar since April – evaporating. I plan on one or two cancels every trip, and as much as 30% in places like LA….but I’m well over 50% at this point. I feel so disrespected…what happened to planning or at least a decent amount of notice? Most of them haven’t even * apologized*. I’m on this trip solely to work/travel while I have time before school starts, so when someone cancels I literally have nothing else to do. I’m spending hours and hours in Starbucks online attempting to rebook, sending out my pathetic “Last minute availability in your area” notices.

This isn’t a cry for sympathy, outrage, or even bookings. I’m doing a little venting here, but mostly trying to reason out what I’m going to DO about this problem. Model Jess can’t start knocking heads together because I have to be nice to my clients, even the (apparently) shitty ones. But at this point I feel extremely taken advantage of. I’ve never liked the idea of a shit list or a ‘do not recommend’ section, but its getting to that point. In the past I’ve felt that such actions would move me from ‘easy going, nice to work with’ to ‘high maintenance drama bitch’ which I’ve so painstakingly avoided. In three years of communicating with knuckleheads on MM, I haven’t made even one inflammatory remark.

This frustration paired with my upcoming hiatus may be the perfect storm. It may be time to tell it how it is, start spending some of that political currency, but I’m trying to think of the best way to do this.

Tangentially, I’ve never taken deposits and until this trip it hasn’t proved to be a problem, but if I resume this mode of work, I will certainly institute a deposit system.

6 Responses

  1. As someone who has dabbled in this business, I do sympathize with you. I’m the last person who could or should tell you how to turn that around, but I can suggest that as long as you are sitting around doing nothing, maybe you could pull out your camera and shoot some photos? Nude self-portraits would be nice…

  2. I can only imagine… Thanks in part to a solid, supportive group of photographers in my area and a blog post or two here, I’ve started shooting the occasional model. I’ve had my share of cancellations and I have had one disappointing no-show who I haven’t heard from since. But this has all happened locally. To be travelling, depending on modelling for your income, and to have that happen? Deservedly irked.

    Not that it means anything coming from a random voice on the internet, but everything I have ever heard about you has been absolutely positive. When your name comes up among the photographers I know, it is invariably followed with comments like, “She’s great” and “If you ever get the chance, shoot with her!” I have yet to hear a negative comment from any of the photographers I know who have shot with you. I think that’s pretty impressive, especially given some of the grumpy photographers out there.

  3. Jess,

    You have every right to be disrespected. It is unprofessional of the photographers that have “contracted” with you. They have broken that contract.

    Unfortunately, you are in a “service industry” and you cannot afford to piss people off too much, regardless of how frustrated you feel.

    Your goodwill that you have built up in the industry is through being a professional and keeping your “emotions” in check. Having a shit list will help other models but how does it really help you?

    When you entered the modeling game you did the right thing and treated it like a business. Go back to the business model basics (particularly given the state of the US economy post GFC, it is clear the rules have changed), which should now include a deposit system. I am sure that you can think of other ways to protect your business!

    Keep that political currency for another day.

    P.S. Your visit to the Moab inspired me to recently attend a formal workshop (with 4 professional models) there, I took some of the best shots in my portfolio (including one just above the waterfall at Ken’s Lake where your self portrait was taken). So thank you.

    • I’m sure that Paul meant to say something along the lines of:

      You have every right to _feel_ disrespected.

      • Jess,

        Sorry, I meant to say “You have every right to feel disrespected”.

        Phil,

        Thank you for the correction.

        Regards

  4. As photographer of naked women I have experienced similar rate of costly cancellations by models. I solved problem by working now only with a few trusted models. I also think you are experiencing the early indication of coming severe economic downturn.

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