How to Break a Contract With a Modeling Agency
As thrilling as it may be to sign with a modeling agency, the working relationship may not always be ideal. You might feel you are not getting enough go-sees and auditions. You might feel you are being submitted for jobs that do not suit your physical attributes and for which you are unlikely to be booked. If you are booking work, you might feel the agent is pushing you in a direction that is inappropriate or unpalatable. Breaking a modeling agency contract can be simple, though complications can also arise.
Look for a termination clause. It might allow for an amiable end to the contract at the end of, for example, four months. This effectively makes the first four months of a contract a trial period for both agency and model. If your contract includes such a clause, inform the agency in writing that you would like to dissolve the contract.
Ask to be released from the contract via written document. If the relationship isn't working, the agent usually knows. Agents are busy and looking to profit from their talent, so many will not try to hang onto an unhappy model, especially if she is not booking work. A verbal release is not sufficient, so get the agency to put it in writing.
Document the paucity of audition opportunities. In some states, a model is entitled to break her contract if the agent is not actively looking for work opportunities in whatever medium. Ask your agent how many jobs you've been submitted for each month for a couple of months or more. If the agency is keeping you on the roster but not submitting you for jobs, it may be in breach of its own contract as well as of state law.
Seek instances of agency breach. Some agencies insist that you go to a certain photographer for test shots. If your agency indulges in this practice, it may be getting illegal kickbacks from the photographer. Contact your state Department of Labor to investigate your agency practices. If the agency is found to be in breach, you do not have to honor the remaining term of your contract.
Contact a lawyer if you have trouble reading, or do not understand, your contract. An attorney should be able to help you interpret the document and also help you scout ways to break it.
If your agency refuses to release you from the contract and you go to another agency anyway, the agency can sue you for damages. Naturally, this is a situation that is to be avoided.