Sunday, April 29, 2012

Lessons Learned: Dayton Fashion Week Casting Call

Yesterday, I had the incredible privilege of being asked to be a panelist at Dayton Fashion Week's last casting call. Myself, Junda Morris-Kennedy, Caressa Brown (Junda's right hand girl), Tegan King (jewelry designer of Temiki Designs), Justin Scissorhands (makeup artist) and Amy Longo (Yong contemporary designer) were also on the panel. I believe I was first to arrive on the scene. I promptly ran into Paige (graphic designer and DFW Volunteer), and things began to unfold from there.

You know I'm not an expert "model casting agent".  And I do have a lot to tell about the experience. But rather than give you the play by play immediately since this is my FIRST EVER casting call, I want to tell you about the lessons I learned while on a Model Casting in the event that you too ever need a reference:

Yes, that's me in the corner.. soaked to the bone on my phone!

Chelsea - Loved her for print. Gorgeous.
Event Preparation
  1. Always have a backup plan! - This goes for everything. But it was POURING RAIN at The Greene on Saturday. There's no way we could have the models walking in the cold wet grass. So we hijacked the patio area of Pasha Grill next door (thank you Pasha Grill for being so accommodating of our circumstances). Then we all started blasting Facebook and Twitter for event changes. Thank you smart phones!
  2. Remember tape can double as rope when necessary - we had a sign. It needed to be hung. There was a role of clear packing tape. I went MacGyver on that sucker.  You'll see it hanging in pictures.
  3. Get EVERYONE'S Contact Information - In a place as large as the Greene, if catastrophe strikes you want to be able to get a hold of someone. In this case it was rain. Make sure you can call your organizer! I thought I had Caressa's number with me. I was wrong.
Being a Panelist
Ian (?) One of my favorite Guys of the day
  1. Practice your poker face - I don't have one. I think many models and panelists knew what *I* was thinking about someone the instant I saw them. 
  2. Don't try to do two things at once - I wanted to take pictures for this blog, and I wanted to evaluate the models. I quickly gave up on pictures. I was there for the models!
  3. Remember: It's always about the designer's choice - While you may have an opinion, the people who have to work with these models are the ones who are in need of the body. You may not like the model, but if they want to work with them, ZIP IT!!!
  4. Butts Butts Butts - If you like their butt as they're walking away they're probably doing a good job. But don't let that distract you from what else is going on meaning... 
  5. PAY ATTENTION TO THE FACE... and always have a photographer on hand - Some acne can not be Photoshopped out. You'll need to remember this when you see a pretty face that happens to be 14/15 years old and in need of a dermatologist. Apparently, it's easier to attack this on some skin tones than others when it comes to airbrushing.
First Group of Models - All pretty fun to watch. Middle Girl, Sarah (303), left our jaws hanging on the floor with her walk.
Also a Designer , but had the most sassy walk ever! Love!

If You're a Model
Oh dear.... here's the list big list and the one that will be the most helpful.
  1. Know the requirements! - When we say you must be 15, or must be 5'8" at least, make sure you are 5'8"! Five foot, eight inches tall WITHOUT Heels. You can tell us you're 5'8" but really, if you're 5'6" we can tell. Runway probably won't be for you unless you actually ARE Kate Moss.
  2. CONFIDENCE is key!!! - This WILL make the difference between "Pretty Girl" and model, I am convinced. It works for men too. Just don't let confidence boil over into arrogance and you're fine. Know you're good looking and do your best walk. We'll see it!
  3. Wear the correct shoes! - So many girls could have been saved or had a better score if they opted for the 3.5 inch instead of the 5.5 inch heels they didn't know how to walk in. Look good, have a good walk. I would have rather seen some of these people in bare feet. Between now and July you can practice walking in heels. Just make sure you're steady
  4. Dress for your body type - If you've got curves, don't wear the skin tight skinny jeans that aren't doing you any favors. Really, you want to look GOOD. If you are modelesque in your stature, don't opt for the Express Editor Pants unless you really want to.
    Tall 6' 4" man, nice, and could walk!
  5. Have something to tie your hair back - Please. Just Please.
  6. If you're a man, don't walk like a girl! - It kills it. Seriously. Video tape yourself and say "am I walking like a man?" Those tips from America's Next Top Model will not help YOU. 
  7. Do NOT compare yourself to anyone else - Your friend may be a great runway model, but maybe you're better suited for print. That doesn't mean don't show up. It just might mean that you get used for one thing and they get used for something else.
  8. Bring GOOD pictures! - Your high school shot's ok, but try to get someone to get you modeling. Get a friend (or a photographer - that's better) to take some practice shots. It'll be fun! And don't put them  in a trapper keeper - make a sleek looking book. We'll love it!
  9. Beautiful Girl who reminded me of Juliet Landau
  10. Take the braces out of the picture - Also make sure that photographer takes out stuff like braces. You have a beautiful smile - but the braces may kill it. We know they're coming off. Either don't put those pictures in your portfolio or have them removed from the shot.
  11. Relax, Relax, Relax! - If you don't relax that neck, those shoulders, your arms, you're not going to look as confident. And it stops us from seeing your personality. It's ok to tell us your nervous. Just let it go when you go to walk. Ok?
I hope this list will help you. Maybe you too one day will find yourself plucked from the masses and asked to participate in something similar, whether you're on the panel or you're auditioning. Keep this post in mind in case you do.

I have the feeling I'll be writing more than one post on this experience. I took my fair share of pictures too. But for now you get the "Lessons Learned" piece. Hopefully that's enough to wet your appetite. 

Very special thanks to Bob Coyle Photography for allowing me to use his images in this post. All images used here are by him, so check him out for me, ok?