Tips From The Casting Director of Full Figured Fashion Week

Tips From The Casting Director of Full Figured Fashion Week

The month of May not only means the blooming of flowers but it also means that Full Figured Fashion Week™ 2010 is right around the corner.  The model submission period has expired but this is information that will be applicable for years to come and will be helpful to you no matter WHAT production you are auditioning for.

What is Full Figured Fashion Week™?

Full Figured Fashion Week™ (or FFFWeek™ for short), is the brainchild of DeVoe Signature Events CEO, Gwen DeVoe. FFFWeek™ is the curvy alternative to New York’s hugely popular (but highly discriminatory) Fashion Week in Bryant Park.  Statistics repeatedly show that over 2/3’s of the world’s population is now a size 14 or larger and that this particular demographic spends upwards of 40 billion dollars on retail apparel alone with the numbers are growing exponentially every year.  FFFWeek™ was created to showcase the very best of the best offerings from plus size designers and models annually.  FFFWeek™ is not your run of the mill, ordinary fashion show.

It is an event that every plus sized model should aspire to participate in, it’s not a place to begin your career as a plus sized model – FFFWeek™ is the crowning achievement you ascend to in your profession.

The submission process is a fairly easy one; you simply go to the site and find the link(s) for model submissions and click on it.  All the information you need will be there, if it isn’t ready to be uploaded yet, you will probably see a notice on the site that says that it’s still under construction and to check back in the future.  It means exactly what it says – “the information isn’t ready to be divulged yet and when it is finalized we will make it available to you”.

All that you have to do after that is:  Be patient.

What you should NOT do is begin bombarding the producers (and anyone else that you think may be connected to the project) with emails repeatedly asking for the date of the casting and additional details. FYI:  You probably won’t get an answer – you’ll just have to wait anyway.

When the site is active – then you can begin the submission process.  When you click on the submission link, it will take you directly to a detailed form asking for you information and all that is required to be considered for the show.   The form will ask you for basic information:  Height, Weight, Measurements (Bust-Waist-Hip) etc.

When filling out the model information form – READ IT CAREFULLY!

Respond with the information requested and nothing else.

Do NOT send questions asking how to submit when the information is already on the site.  If the information isn’t up yet – come back and submit when the site is ready to accept submissions.

FYI – Unless this is the first show that you have ever done in your life (and if that’s the case – you are not ready for FFFWeek™) there is absolutely NO REASON for you to NOT know your basic measurements.  If you are familiar with walking in fashion shows or have ever been fitted for a piece of clothing at some point or another – YOU HAVE HAD SOME MEASUREMENTS TAKEN!!!  An aspiring model that is proactive and serious about her career – will ask for this information when it’s happening, take note and then keep it for her records.

If you have never had your measurements taken before, then it would behoove you to go out and buy a measuring tape and ask someone to help you take your measurements.  If you don’t have your measurements available at the time you are filling out the form, make SURE that you have them when you arrive to the audition.  Nothing irks or says to a producer that you are not ready like asking for your measurements and you telling them you don’t know.  You’re a MODEL!!! You’re SUPPOSED to know the information that will be most often asked of you!  Stay on top of your stuff!

FYI:  There is a difference between your bust measurement and the size bra you wear.  Make sure that you have BOTH pieces of information ready and available.

One more thing:  If your weight decreases or increases 10 or more pounds since the time you last had your measurements taken – you will probably need to take them again, as the numbers may have changed a bit.

Submitting Photos:  Believe it or not, this is the where most models shoot themselves in the foot before they even get out of the gate.  The submission process should be an easy one, usually the site will state VERY SPECIFICALLY what sort of photos you should submit and how, so it always

frustrates me when people mess up this step simply because they don’t READ and/or THINK about what they are submitting ahead of time.

What types of photos do I need to submit?  The photos that you are uploading should be in whatever format is required (JPEG, GIF, TIFF files, etc); it will be listed on the site and they should be resized and rotated to the correct position BEFORE you submit them.

Producers don’t want to (and won’t) go through the trouble of trying to resize or rotate a photo in order to see it.  It’s much easier to send it to the trash bin and move on to the next applicant.

Keep in mind that the producers ask for two types of photos (usually a head shot and a full body shot), which are clearly shot, well lit, unobstructed by props (i.e. sunglasses etc) and show you and your body in the very best light.

Please use common sense and avoid submitting photos that are:

Too Artistic:  That means a photo of you with your face covered in body paint.  (Hello?  The producers can’t see what your face looks like if it’s COVERED in paint!!!)

Too Provocative:  FFFWeek™ is not THAT type of show; the producers don’t want to see sexually suggestive photos of you in sports gear and just your shoes or photos with your thong exposed.

Thumbnail Sized Photos:  Sigh…. if it’s too small to be viewed – It’s just going to go in the trash bin.  Sorry.

Self Portraits and Camera Phone Shots:  Cute to share with your friends, not suitable for business purposes. Not professional.  Need I say more?

The same photo but cropped to look like a headshot:  Come back and submit again when you have more photographs.

Group Photos:  Are you and all your friends applying together?  And that doesn’t even matter now that I think about it.  It’s just not a smart thing to do.  And don’t try to crop your friends out of the photo and submit.  It’s not going to be a good look – just have a friend take a clear photo of you – ALONE.

Over a year old:  The producers want to see what you look like NOW – NOT what you looked like back in 1995.  Submit a current photo and then show up looking as close to your picture as possible.

Submitting Video Clips

This year the producers tried to make the submission process for FFFWeek™ a little easier for the models that live outside of the Tri-state area of NYC by adding a video upload link.  They (the applicants) were asked to upload and submit a short video clip of their runway strut.  It doesn’t have to be filled with fancy graphics or even music – it just needs to show your BEST runway strut; it helps if the person who is shooting the video shoots your full body in the frame while you are walking.  You don’t need state of the art video equipment to shoot this video.  A decent digital camera that shoots video is fine.

FYI:  YOU should be the only person in the video that you submit.

An example of what is NOT acceptable for video submission would be:

  • Videos that include YOU in a 10-minute clip of a fashion show and you write in parenthesis with your submission (I’m the one in the red dress!).  Uh…yeah…that’s going to go straight to the trash bin – no one is going to waste time looking at a grainy video trying to figure out which one YOU are.
  • You and a friend “tag-team” modeling in your video clip.
  • Clips that show a close up of your face but doesn’t allow the producers to get a feel for what you can do on the runway.

Once you have been invited to a formal casting – the next steps are CRUCIAL.

Come Alone:  More than likely the casting will be a “closed” one, meaning that it’s by invitation only and NOT open to the public so DON’T share the casting information with your friends.  If you are not invited to the casting and you show up and you aren’t on the “check-in” list – you won’t be seen; it’s as simple as that.

Be Punctual – NOTHING grates on a producer’s nerves more than a model showing up late for ANYTHING, be it an audition or an actual show.  It says to the producer’s that you don’t care enough about their project to show up on time.  A good rule of thumb to follow comes from my friend, Casting Director Wendy McKenzie:

  • To be EARLY is to be ON TIME
  • To be ON TIME is to be LATE

If you truly want the job you will give your self enough time to maneuver your travel time for traffic mishaps, late trains and the like.  Better to be early than late.  Trust me on this one.

Wear or bring whatever is requested of you.  If you are asked to wear something comfortable that shows your natural curves – don’t try to be creative and show up in something OTHER than what is asked of you.

Don’t wear a 4-5-6-inch heel to the audition if you have not mastered walking in them yet and/or you are not prepared to show your best runway strut.  Play it safe and wear or bring the shoe  (that fits within the recommended parameters) that you can walk your very best in.  If your feet hurt – trust me it will come across during your audition.  You will probably perform better if you are comfortable.

Slate to CAPTIVATE! – This piece of advice also comes from Ms. McKenzie -Think outside the box and your energy has to be over the top. A lot of times your audition will be recorded.  You will be given a piece of paper with a number and your basic information.  You will then be asked to “Slate” (i.e. state your name, size, height and agency affiliation) for the camera.  This only takes a few seconds to shoot but it is more important than you think it is.  You don’t know what will be asked of you in preparation for the show, there will be reporters and other folks from the media at the event and they are always looking for folks to interview or give sound bites.  More often than not the producers will take a look at the audition interviews to see who comes across better on camera.

If your “slating” is filled with energy, captivates and makes the producer want to continue looking and listening to you – more than likely YOU will be that producer’s choice to speak as a representative for the event.  And that means more exposure for YOU.  So please remember to always – “Slate to CAPTIVATE”.

What happens when the submission deadline has expired?

Once the submission period has ended, you will either receive an invitation to come in to the closed audition or you will get an email thanking you for your interest.  Don’t send emails asking when the selections will be made.  Either way you WILL get a response to your submission when the selections are finalized.  Also don’t bother submitting once the submission period ends – I can guarantee that you will get either an automatic response stating that the submission period has ended OR you won’t get a response at all.  It is up to YOU to take note of what your deadlines are.  Don’t send emails explaining why you weren’t able to make the casting or why you missed the submission deadline – No one is interested in why you don’t have it together yet.  Spend the remainder of THIS year sharpening your skills and get yourself ready for next year’s audition.

If you are selected:  Be prepared to WORK, as there will be numerous fittings and requests for your time as the date nears closer.  Be prepared to juggle your schedule and try to be cooperative with the producers and the staff as they try to put on the best production possible.  If you are selected – FFFWeek™ and all that it entails will need to be a priority for you.  Please manage your schedules accordingly.

If you are NOT selected – It does not mean that you don’t have a shot as a career as a plus sized model – it simply means that you are not quite ready or prepared to do a production at this level yet.  Remember, FFFWeek™ is looking for the BEST of THE BEST in the plus modeling industry; models who are at the top of their game or are ascending quickly towards it.  If you are just getting started in your career or you only have a few shows under your belt – although you may think you have all that you need, I’m betting that you don’t.  Don’t get discouraged; don’t try to badmouth the organization because you have sour grapes about not being selected; There are plenty other options offered by the producers of FFFWeek™, that allows you to be able to participate on various levels.  Get in where you can fit in because at the end of the day – it is always about celebrating Unity in the Plus Community.  Always try to keep in mind what the “Big Picture” is about and continue to support your local curvy girl.

As interest in FFFWeek™ grows and it’s popularity escalates the stakes will only get higher and the model selection process will only get – even more (for lack of a better word):  Selective.  It will pay off for you in volumes if you continue to study your craft and sharpen your skills whenever and wherever you can.  Good luck to you all!

“One finger won’t make an impact, but you ball all those fingers into a fist, and you can strike a mighty blow. Now, this community has got to be that fist.