Iconoclast. By definition “a person who attacks cherished beliefs, traditional institutions, etc”.
Just before sitting down to write today’s blog piece in my now well documented coffee shop, the word ‘iconoclast’ sprang to mind. It’s probably one of my favourite words and creates mental images of people such as Sir James Dyson \(manufacturing\), Sir Richard Branson \(air travel\), Quentin Tarantino \(movies\), Heston Blumenthal \(food\), Steve Jobs \(Apple\), Tim Berners-Lee \(the www. part of the internet - he was preceeded by Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn\), Isambard Brunel \(engineering\), and others.
These are the creatives who, by and large when told what they couldn’t do, challenged this, then went ahead and did it anyway. They attacked existing and outdated beliefs to cut a pathway forwards from where those beliefs had been up to then. Rigidly standing, and arguably stagnating.
So when these pre-existing and outdated business models are challenged to the point where it becomes a serious threat to what has been seen and regarded as the ‘norm’, smear campaigns and other dirty tricks ensue to kill off the new competition.
On a much, much larger corporate scale you should Google, Virgin Airways difficulties with British Airways for evidence of this
Branson sued British Airways for libel, using the services of George Carman QC. BA settled out of court when its lawyers discovered the lengths to which the company had gone in trying to kill off Virgin.
Only a month ago I found myself in a similar position when I had to publish an on-line ‘Cease and Desist’ notice because someone had posted on social media sites reckless and defamatory claims about me and models who I co-work with.
This industry does rather attract obsequious sycophants like a magnet, and they will use whoever to climb the greasy pole upwards and leech on to one person, and the next, to take them one step further all the time.
I am by no means in the same league as Branson, Dyson or Berners-Lee. But I do believe in the spirit in which they work. There’s a tremendous amount to be learned from the iconoclasts. Their determination to go it alone into the darkness and isolation of creativity and invention. To bravely face the challenges of all that is thrown at them and carry on.
They’ve ignored the efforts of the many back stabbers and turncoats encountered along the way: and other gutless, spineless people who have chosen to cosy-up to and ass lick the more established contemporary operators in order to ingratiate themselves.
If choosing to look for new ways of doing business separates and distances me from the established, then I too am an iconoclast, and unashamedly so.
The days of producers controlling the market are numbered, as more females find their feet and become independent of them.
The same could be said for agents as well. As models travel around and work with photographers and producers along the way they gradually build their contact list and the agent becomes less important as time goes on. Because next time the client will contact the model direct and the agent can kiss goodbye to their commission. So in that respect the agents role nowadays is slowly on the wane.
It’s important to remember that this isn’t the X-Factor or Britain’s Got Talent, and there are no million pound deals on offer for winners to be signed up to. So with the best will in the world contracts with agents are a complete and utter waste of time where models are concerned, and are more than likely to be thrown out of court in the model’s favour if it comes to litigation.
In essence, producers and agents alike are finding themselves in a more vulnerable business position than ever before. This is what they fear. You only have to look at nature to understand that, when ants for example, sense threat they will congregate to defend themselves.
The same goes for industry people who will also join forces to protect what they see as their protected territory and livelihoods. When in fact what they should be doing is facing up to the fact that they need to embrace the times, move with them and change their business models to survive.
From my own business perspective everything that we are doing now to encourage new blood into the industry is to offer model talent a free service to get them up and running from the point of entry. So basically free induction and training. Free images and film, and free marketing and publicity.
It’s basically an entire package which we shoulder the risk on, and if someone pulls out after deciding it’s not really for them, then so be it. At least they tried and it’s cost them absolutely nothing and whatever they make financially up to that point is theirs to keep with our blessing.
If on the other hand a new model really goes for it and does well it’s a feather in our cap, as we’ve done something positive to help and enable that new talent to establish herself independently, and if she needs our further help at any point after that first month we can renegotiate the most appropriate terms for both of us as we head into the future together.
So whichever they choose is in fact a win-win situation for the model and ourselves, as we are still able to use whatever we’ve shot in terms of images and movies for our own future promotion and marketing purposes, which is to us far more valuable than charging a fee to the model for the month or so of time and work resources we invest in her.
The bottom line is that photographers and producers are in the business of promoting their own work to make money from, not to promote the model. She is just a component of the process which enables them to make money.
Whereas we are entirely about the model and promoting her to make money. Which is why we have created the M.A.P - \(Marketing Action Plan\) to empower and enable models to grasp the process which will make them the money independently, and then hit the ground running with it.
This is the way forwards which is creating such opposition to us, The fact that we can literally take a girl off the street, who may not have a penny to her name, and offer her independence in her own business with the possibility of a better quality of life financially; and at no cost to her if she is prepared to work at it, is a positive life changer in terms of getting out of the rut she may be in, and thrive.
When a lot of people are just about managing on national minimum wage and disadvantageous contracted hours, the opportunity to earn even thirty or even sixty pounds an hour is one not to be easily dismissed. Let alone maybe £250 plus per day! But like anything in life, if someone isn’t prepared to put 100% effort in they can hardly expect to get 100% back. For our part we can show them how to do it. But what we are unable to do, is do it for them.
Ours is an innovative and entrepreneurial, modern day approach to an existing business, in a world where iconoclasts rule. Okay?