I wanted to share this quick story here because I think it teaches an important lesson about the importance of being reliable and how it translates into success. I am really proud of two models on the Advanced Photography Techniques DVD
. I chose them from a list of about 2 dozen different models and think I have a good eye for talent.
They were excellent communicators, on time and professional in every regard. When I see models that are beautiful, hardworking and professional, I know they will go far. These two young women, through a lot of hard work and dedication also won Miss MIssissippi USA 2011 and Miss Alabama USA 2011 a few months after we finished production on that DVD. Both will be competing in the Miss USA Pageant this summer. Madeline in particular had huge challenges in that she she was almost killed in a car accident the year before and sustained many serious injuries. True success will never come looking for you as you sit idly on your couch, it is something you have to hunt, chase and conquer. I think both of these young woman are perfect examples of this.
I stumbled upon what I thought was a "natural talent" in the local mall about 7 weeks ago, just before I left for Japan. This young woman had super-star model look written all over her, so I introduced myself asked her if she would be interested in modeling for a video and she agreed. If it went well, I was also planning on recommending her to every photographer I knew on the island, and suggesting her to 2 different movie producers- she was THAT impressive. As a side note, I would never recommend a model to someone else unless they have certain communication and professional skills. Turns out she had some modeling experience already and this triggered the question: "Ok then…Why in the world is someone like this doing at a mall store?" Something didn't fit, and I couldn't put my finger on it.
Now that the T3i Crash Course production is underway, I was able to contact her and set up a tentative shoot date. We asked each other about what our expectations were and all I asked for was "reliability and professionalism", and she confirmed this wouldn't be an issue.
The shoot was supposed to take place (today) Thursday morning. I spent 3 hours (yesterday) Wednesday morning scouting the location, doing set up test shots on the beach, arranging for assistants to help and a good chunk of the afternoon prepping gear. This was also a paid job, very good money- so its not like this was a TFP or TFCD kinda thing. I want my videos to be the best and was excited to have her on board.
We hadn't talked since Monday night, and I also needed discuss changes about the shoot (location and time) so I send this prospective model a message around 9am Wednesday to confirm, asking her to call me to touch base about Thursday's shoot. She texted back saying she would call as soon as she got a chance.
And for some odd reason, she doesn't call….
9pm rolls around and I still haven't heard from her or even know if she still plans on showing up. While this may or may not be a problem for some photographers, it is for me. There has to be some kind of communication, especially when the shoot less than 10 hours away. Considering the changes in plans, being that other people were involved and we have no clue if she will show up, I was forced to cancel the shoot and sent her a message to let her know I would make other arrangements.
It wasn't until I was finally climbing into bed that I heard from this prospective model, who simply said she had a busy day and still wanted to do it.
If someone proves to me they do not have good communication skills or that they cannot be relied on, I really don't care what else they bring to the table. I wont use them personally, and I would especially never refer them to another photographer or producer because it would reflect poorly on me if I gave them a bad referral. Ultimately, this is one major difference between those who are driven for success and those who are content with mediocrity. Success driven professionals have excellent communication skills and are reliable.
If you are about to give a first impression, no matter what it is- bring your A game. You just never know what opportunities these doors will open. As someone who constantly works with models, it isn't so much the looks that mean they will be successful- it is their overall professionalism and this is where many of them are confused. I cannot tell you how often prospective models believe their God given looks alone are enough to make it big- Modeling, as well as any other profession requires much more than pure talent.
I feel sad for this girl, she is a home run superstar waiting to happen, but until she sprouts the other necessary skill sets - it will never happen.
Which leads me to the point:
You can have all the talent in the world, but if you are not reliable …none of that matters.