If you’ve been submitting to projects on your own–depending on what resources you’re using–chances are you may have come across gigs that mention wanting models with “video experience.” Sometimes they’ll also refer to acting experience but in general, this means the client is looking for individuals with the “model look and build” but who is also comfortable in front of a video camera.

So what does this kind of job mean and what exactly does video experience have to do with modeling? I’m glad you asked.

It isn’t uncommon–and completely normal, in fact–for some models to have absolutely zero interest in acting in any capacity. And that’s totally okay. It isn’t mandatory for models to have acting experience. Does it help? It sure does and with the way the industry is going, many agencies are purposely sending their models to acting auditions, whether they like it or not. But that’s a whole different story. For the purpose of this blog post, I’m going to stick to the topic of submitting to modeling jobs that require some form of video or acting experience. For the sake of argument, let’s stick to the gigs that don’t have speaking lines for the models to say. Actually, there are many “non-speaking” gigs out there so again, this type of work isn’t uncommon, should you happen to come across it while looking for modeling assignments. Typically, models walk the runway and/or they take photos. So where does the video aspect come into play? It depends on the project but one of the cooler ways clients are getting creative with promoting their product, company, brand or idea is to use a combination of still images and video footage of the models.

The best examples of this kind of modeling video experience would be any cosmetics/makeup commercial, fashion commercial, etc. If you’re thinking to yourself, that’s an acting job, you’d be correct. Kind of. Remember, not all models are actors but this situation is the best way to describe a job you may apply for that requires models to have video experience but not necessarily be “acting” on camera, saying lines and things like that. You’d be surprised by how many models have no problem striking a pose and smiling when it comes to photo shoots or unleashing their inner diva on the runway but put them in front of a camera that is shooting video and they become deer in headlights. Some models are completely comfortable moving around, taking direction and expressing themselves on video, while others simply don’t know what to do with themselves. See where I’m going with this? When it comes to clients asking for models with video experience, they want to know that the people submitting to the job will not only be perfectly at home in front of a camera that is capturing them on video, but that they won’t have any issues with following directions if told to flirt with the camera, toss their hair and smile, do a fun spin, interact with other models and/or play off their surroundings (indoors or outdoors).

If doing this doesn’t come naturally to you, that’s okay. Everyone has to start somewhere. Grab a mirror and practice so you understand how you look and move while doing various expressions and movements. Watch commercials and see how the models/actors move and express themselves and use it for reference when practicing at home. Grab a friend and a phone and start recording yourself to get a feel for what that’s like. Review what you’ve shot and tweak things until you feel like its second nature. Is video experience mandatory for modeling? No. Do you have to take on acting in order to succeed as a model if you have no interest in acting? No. However, if you want to spread your wings a bit and have a shot at booking the types of gigs I described above, taking these extra steps to add to your skill set can only boost your abilities and marketability as a model, as well as give you an opportunity to add more experience to your resume so it could definitely be something worth looking into if you’re up for the task.