Submitted by Derek Hay of LA Direct Models. TRPWL welcomes other agencies — and adult producers — to weigh in with their own take —
We’d like to address an important issue in the adult film business regarding fair practices and model rates. The practice of booking models at vastly different rates without justification has long been the practice of many agencies within our business. Direct Models does not support this practice, and does not participate in it. Recently we’ve been compelled to speak out against this practice, as several producers have asked us about it, and it has become apparent to us that many of our directors/studio clients are unaware that this is occurring, and the disparities between the rates models are being booked at by some agencies has reached an all-time high.
One producer client recently shared a story with us of how they found out that a major agency in our business had booked a female model to him at a rate of $1000 for a boy/girl scene, and then in the very same week had booked the same model to another producer for a similar scene at a rate of $350. Though that is a particularly extreme example, it is not uncommon for some agencies to book a model for a boy/girl scene at a rate of $700 to one producer, and then book the same model to another producer for a comparable boy/girl scene at a rate of $1000. We find this practice to be unfair to our producer clients, unfair to talent (who are sometimes pressured to work at very low rates), and ultimately damaging to the reputation of the model.
There are legitimate cases to be made for booking a model at a rate other than their standard rate. These might include a model accepting $100 less than her standard rate in return for same day pay. Another example might be a guaranteed number of scenes per month from a given producer (though this is more common with male talent, as many producers will use the same male talent multiple times per month, but won’t shoot the same female models every month). Another justifiable reason to agree to a lowered rate on some models may be if a producer’s shoot is significantly shorter than average,- perhaps a shoot that takes 1.5 hours instead of 4-8 hours. The issue is not $50 here or $100 there for reasons that are justifiable. What we are referring to here is situations in which producers of a similar nature, are being charged vastly different rates for what amounts to nearly identical work by the model.
If an agency wishes to book a model for a standard BG scene at a rate of $700, and the model agrees to accept that, then so be it. That is the prerogative of that agency and model. We take no issue with how they choose to conduct business for themselves, though in our opinion $700 for a female model is too low for a BG scene in most cases. What is unfair, though, is to then charge another client $1000 for the same work for the sole reason that the agent knows the client can afford it, and won’t question the rate.
Direct Models supports charging consistent rates to all producers. Never will there be a time when we will quote a client $1000 for a model, and then book that same model to a similar company/similar shoot for $600 or $700. Every model that Direct Models represents is informed of our stance on this at the time of signing with the agency. We are firm in our stance on this, as we know there will be times when a model is pressured by a producer on social media to shoot for them at a rate significantly lower than their standard rate. In these cases, we will always decline those bookings, as it is unfair to our clients paying full rates, and in the long run it is damaging to the model’s reputation. We wish for our models to be prepared for the fact that we will decline such work.
So what can be done?
We would propose that, in order to avoid being taken advantage of in this way, if you as a director are made aware that you’re paying significantly more for a particular agency’s models than a competitor of yours whose shoots are similar in nature, we encourage you to refuse to book any similar models from that agency at a rate higher than what you know others are paying. So if you know that Studio A is paying $700 for a standard BG scene, and you wish to shoot a standard BG scene with that model (or a model of similar caliber) from that agency, we would encourage you to refuse to pay any more than $700.
Why should you pay hundreds more just because you can? You are being taken advantage of. Would this be acceptable in any other business scenario?
Simply put – in all cases, we suggest you ask for the lowest BG rate that the model has ever accepted or the agency has ever accepted employment on behalf of the model. Simple.
To producers who may be angered by this post, due to the fact that they are booking models at rates they know to be hundreds of dollars lower than what their competitors are paying:
We are not suggesting those agencies should charge you more.
We are suggesting that they should charge others the same rates you’re getting.
Certainly you would not appreciate being one of the producers being charged more than the others.
We are not criticizing you for your desired scene budget. If you are a producer who wishes to pay $500 for a female model for a BG scene, that is your business and we respectfully support your right to do so and conduct business in a manner and within a budget that suits your studio.
If you are a model reading this, we encourage you to think about the long term repercussions of accepting bookings from your agency at rates well below what is standard for you.
Eventually word will get around that your rates are varying by hundreds of dollars for the same type of scenes, and it will reflect poorly on you with producers who might wish to employ you.
If you are accepting BG scenes at $500, that is fine, but then why should anyone ever pay you $1000 again?
You can fool some people some of the time, but you won’t be able to fool all people all of the time.
This is not a matter of attacking anyone individually.
It is a matter of ethics and standards that we feel needs to be discussed openly. Direct Models values its producer, and model clients, and we are always striving to do what is fair and reasonable for both.
We hope that, through open dialogue, we can help move towards a more fair and ethical business environment.