I get a lot of email from you guys asking about how to get started in modeling and acting here. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions I get… hope this helps!
1) How do I find an agent in Japan?
For commercial print work, the process for most agencies is pretty simple. Submit photos, contact the agencies, and register. It’s best if you do a little research beforehand and check out an agency before you register to make sure they have a solid reputation and a history of good work. This is pretty easy to do with a simple website check. I wrote a piece for GaijinPot that goes into more detail here.
2) I have a full time job, can I still get work?
Yes… but remember: modeling is a numbers game. The more times you’re submitted for jobs the more auditions you’ll get, and the more auditions you get the more jobs you’re likely to book. If you’re strapped to a 9-5 during the week, your opportunity for making auditions and go-sees goes way down. That said, there are still a lot of jobs that are direct bookings (no auditions or go-sees!) and you can shoot on the weekends. In short: register, and let your agents know that you’re availability is limited. If you’re the right face for the job, you’ll book it.
3) Can I model on a tourist visa?
Not professionally, no. Japan is pretty strict about this. Getting a humanities specialist visa lets you do work in the advertising field which includes teaching, writing, and modeling—that’s what I have. More info here on visas…
4) I’m broke. How do I get a decent portfolio together for cheap?
Two words: network and hustle. Find shooters who are willing to do trade for portfolio work with you. Look into doing a bit of stock work. The one area I wouldn’t skimp is getting a headshot—I think paying a pro for a great headshot is worth it because it’s the very first shot clients see of you. Make sure it’s a timeless, classic, warm look. I talk about building your portfolio in greater detail here.
Also check out the podcast I did with GPod on the dos and don’ts… we cover a lot of ground on the basics…
Feel free to send me your questions here. I’m always happy to help. I’m off to San Francisco to spend some time with my people… see you on the other side!