Want to know how to get models, dancers or extras for your next music video? Then this is the guide for you! Today we’ll look at some of the places you can get extras for your music video, regardless of your budget. While you will often get much better results if you have money to spend on hiring dancers or models, it is still possible to get people to work with you even without any money.
Before we go any further, you may also want to check my guide on making a music video if it’s going to be you handling the camcorder or directing the shoot on the day. If however you’re only interested in getting additional people for your video shoot, then read on below. 🙂
Note: As this guide is meant for people looking for either models, dancers or general extras, you’ll find I alternate the wording between these three throughout this guide. That said, all of the below points can be used regardless of which one you’re looking for, so use which one you feel is best for you.
Hire Dancers And Models From A Modeling Agency
One of the best ways to get extras for your music videos is to hire them via an agency. There are talent agencies and modeling agencies who specialize in providing talented individuals for shoots such as the one you’ve got in mind. They often have a online portfolio of male and female extras which you can have a look at, and pick depending on your individual needs.
Here are some of the pros and cons of using such a agency to get models for your music video:
- Reliability. Often going through a company will be the easiest route in terms of making sure everyone turns up when they’re supposed to. Agencies will usually have briefed their dancers and models that they need to be reliable otherwise they won’t get selected for future work. This is often a strong motivator, and will mean less trouble with regards to chasing up where people are.
- Ease Of Booking. While some agencies can still take a while to finish up booking a model, compared to the alternative methods below, it’s still the easiest way to book your extras as the agency does most of the hard work.
- You Get Taken More Seriously. Sometimes if you approach a model personally, they won’t take you seriously. This will mean a lot of people not responding, and a lot of communications falling through regardless of how serious you are. As they know the agency however and trust them to make the right decision for them, this is a lot less of an issue.
- Cost. Agencies usually try and charge a premium cost for the use of their models and dancers, especially if they know you’ve got a big budget or you’re a big name artists. That said, if you tell them you’ve got a smaller budget, you can often get their models for a fraction of the cost you were originally quoted. At the end of the day it’s still work, and often a good hourly wage for the dancer involved.
The modeling agency also takes a percentage of the cost you pay for the work they do, which also makes it more expensive then the below methods.
In my opinion, the pros far out weight the cons. Having a reliable model or dancer that you know is going to turn up on time and not ignore their phone an hour before the shoot is good for the stress levels, as there’s nothing worse then your main model still not having turned up twenty minutes after the shoot was suppose to start. That said, if the agency route is too expensive for you, the below two options may be something you’d want to consider.
Find Models And Extras On Portfolio Websites
If you haven’t got enough money to hire through a agency but do have some change you can spare for extras in your music video, one option is to find someone through a portfolio website. Portfolio websites are sites which people can go on and put themselves up for work. If you look around, you’ll find ones that are specifically for models and dancers. If you browse a few of these, you should find people that are pretty close to what you’re looking for.
As well as models and dancers being able to add their profiles to these websites, most of them also allow people looking for talent (That’s you) to sign up an account and contact others through the site. By doing this you can let the potential extras in your music video know who you are, what job you have in mind, and what the details are. From here they can get back in contact with you if they wish, and see if you can come to a mutual agreement.
Two examples of such sites are Model Mayhem (One of the online leaders for this kind of site), and Star Now for people in the UK. Model Mayhem covers a lot of countries, and can be useful if you’re looking for a model, or anything model related for your video (E.g. Hair and make up people, stylists, even someone to take pictures). You can’t however find dancers on there.
Star Now covers more types of talent; as well as the above Model Mayhem provides, they also have dancers and actors too. Like I said though, they only supply UK based talent, so if you’re not from the UK you’ll have to find another similar site. A simple Google search should bring up the top companies in your country.
Here are the pros and cons of using a portfolio site to find people for your music videos:
- The Cost. It’s possible to find cheap or possibly free models on these websites. This is because there are often people who need to get work done for their portfolio, and are willing to charge that bit less. Furthermore, you don’t have to pay additional ‘finders fees’ to any agencies.
- A Larger Talent Pool. As literally anyone can join these sites, you will find a lot of people on there looking for work. You’ll also find a lot of different looks.
- A Lot Of Non Serious People. As there are a lot of amateur models and dancers on these websites, you’ll find there are a lot of time wasters on these sites. These can become a pain to deal with, as not only will you get people who simply won’t reply to you, but you’ll also find people who say they’re interested but let you down on the day.
- Harder To Gain Trust. When you go through a model agency, you’re leveraging the trust the models have for them. This leads to easy hiring with less hassle. When you’re looking for someone for your first video however, you’ll get a lot of people not trusting you and therefore not willing to work with you. This can make finding someone a timely process.
If you haven’t got the budget to go through a agency, this is a good option. That said, you will encounter a lot of time wasters before you find someone right for your job. As long as you’re willing to work though it though, you can find some good extras for your videos using these kind of sites. If you go down this path, be sure to include a couple of storyboards so you are prepared for someone not turning up.
Ok, so on to the final way to find either extras, models, or dancers for your video. This method can work for those with no budget to their name:
Get People You Know To Appear In Your Videos
The final option I’m going to look at today is using people you know in your videos. Call on your friends and maybe even family to play feature roles in your shoots. This is pretty self explanatory, so I’ll get right into the pros and cons:
- Reliability. If you have friends that are clearly interested in being in a video with you and you know they’re reliable, this can only be a good thing. You should have an idea of how reliable each person is before the shoot, so if you only pick your most reliable friends, most likely things should play out without any problems.
- Trust Factor. One of the biggest barriers to entry with using the above ‘portfolio website’ method is building up your trust factor. If you haven’t got any previous shoots under your belt or don’t have someone well respected to vouch for you, you’ll find a lot of models will steer clear. With friend however, they most likely already know and trust you, making getting into this conversation with them a lot easier.
- Cost. As you can imagine, using family and friends will be a lot cheaper then going through a agency. While it would be good if you could pay them a little something for their time and effort, if your friends are also a fan of your music and want to be part of that lifestyle, you’ll often find they’ll do it for free just to get their face out there as well.
- Unreliable Friends. Not everyone has reliable friends. If you know your friends are the type to pull out of things last minute or generally be too lazy to get out of their house, it’s best to avoid getting these people involved.
- Less Choice. You may want someone with a specific look in your video, but don’t have any friends who match that requirement.
- Friends Have Time Constraints. If you’re planning on doing a big dance routing or need time with the model to plan what they’ll have to do, this could be an issue if you’re not paying a friend. They may not be able to dedicate as much time to your project as you would like, leading to problems on the day of the shoot.
Using friends and family for a shoot can be a good option if you’re on a budget and have people who want to get involved in the music lifestyle, but wouldn’t be ideal for all situations. Whether or not you use your friends will depend on how much time they can dedicate to your project, if they’re willing to dedicate that time, and if they’re right for the job.
Get Models For Music Videos (& Extras), Conclusion
So there you have it, three ways to get dancers, models or extras for your music videos. Do you have any other ways I haven’t mentioned in the above? If so, let me know in the comments section below.
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