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By Laila Elise

With the year we’ve all been having, it seems like there’s nothing certain or concrete anymore. Nobody knows what to expect. Everything is changing so rapidly it can be quite challenging to keep up with the pace – especially for impacted industries like modeling and entertainment. 

We recently had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Aldo Serrano from Into the Forest who has a tremendous amount of experience in the production process – from casting to directing to photography, editing, and filmmaking – in order to get a better understanding of the marketplace these days and most importantly for models: what clients are looking for from talent. 

Q: What’s the biggest change you’ve seen with regards to business since the pandemic began?

A: We’ve seen a shift in clients lately that are looking towards photography vs videography because of lower budget/quicker turnaround time. Video tends to take a long time to turn around, so more clients are asking to go the photography route and are using more models to do so, versus opting for a full scale film production. 

Q: What types of models do your clients look for? What do they look for in a portfolio/digitals/reel? Selfie video? 

A: As far as digital auditions – clients are looking to see as many types of media and current images as possible. They love to see a variety of videos, photos, as well as the model’s instagram. Consistency is a big thing clients look for – particularly in portfolios. Make sure your current look (especially things like hair color, beard length etc) is reflected in your photos. Videos are becoming more and more valuable these days and can definitely set you apart from the competition. (So if you get the chance, add your selfie video on AGENT!) 

Q: How has your need for models changed lately? Have there been any changes in the types of models clients are asking for?

A: There has certainly been a shift towards the need for more organic “everyday people” (but it obviously depends on the brand). In addition to glamour and fashion shots, models should also make sure they have some clean, simple, “girl/guy next door” lifestyle photos in their portfolio as it is something that clients typically request to see and find the most useful sometimes. 

Q: Have you ever looked at a model’s profile and loved it, but knew you couldn’t sell them to your client? What were the reason(s)? Do you need models to have professional quality photos in order to book them? 

A: Models don’t need professional photos to book work with a client. We usually will also look at their instagram, and they just need to have some nice, well lit natural shots. However, the model does need to have photographs that showcase different looks – client’s get turned off by just seeing different versions of the same photo over and over again. It’s definitely worth it to make an effort to include different styles, looks, and settings in your portfolio and instagram. 

Q: Do you think technology can replace in-person casting for good?

A: Remote casting is definitely the future and is here to stay, although I do miss directing the talent in person. Advice for remote casting is to read the directions carefully. You will most likely be rewarded by taking the extra time to try and convey the client’s vision in your photo or video audition – it’s worth the effort in the long run. 

Q: What’s the number one tip you’d give models out there today with regards to improving their online presence in order to attract clients? 

A: Keep in mind that clients are constantly looking at your social media and your online presence – particularly in the remote casting process. They DO get worried when they see your stories drinking/partying late at night and it ultimately may affect who they decide to cast for their project. Consider having a public website and IG for your career, and keeping your personal life on a private account so it doesn’t get in the way of bookings and career growth. 

Laila Elise

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