From time to time I see threads on here regarding Model Mayhem, particularly questions from newer members who are confused by the flakes, ozones (MIAs) and non-responders. Over the course of my 3 years or so offering TFP/CD shoots to Mayhem models I've gotten fairly good at smoking out what shoots will actually happen. I say that having been totally fooled just this past weekend, so this isn't exactly foolproof LOL.
First, accept that, at best, you'll actually shoot 3 of 10 contacts, and that's a hot streak.
In this thread I invite ALL veteran Mayhem members to list their "Red Flags" which give you a heads up of the probability of a shoot actually happening. C'mon guys/girls, let's help the newbies a little.
The first thing to know is who to NOT bother to contact for a TFCD shoot. If a models port has Maxim or Playboy quality images, there's very little chance that she needs anything from you. You can contact her as a long shot but don't get upset if she doesn't respond. Likewise, if a 20 year old model with four cellphone frames in her port says "Paid Assignments Only" it's better to just move on. Even if she agrees to shoot with you, she's delusional enough to be either a flake or a real pain in the butt.
Flags, Clues and Hints (keep in mind these are all just indications of probability, not hard and fast guarantees).
Assuming you see a model in your area (I use 50 miles) whose port is relatively equal to yours, the first contact fairly reeks with clues.
1) Does she respond at all -- No response is a response -- move on.
2) How long does it take to respond-- This is a 2 part assessment. If you see "Message Read" in your message and it takes her longer than 4 days to respond, it's a yellow flag. If it takes up to 2 weeks, the flag gets more red. After 2 weeks, the shoot isn't gonna happen and she just wants you to beg a bit.
HOWEVER, if she answers 6 months later and apologizes for taking so long, that's back to a 50/50 probability that the shoot will happen.
3) When was her port last updated -- If her last frame was posted in 2008, she probably doesn't shoot, she just likes to be asked. It feeds her ego without requiring any actual work.
4) How does she respond -- I don't know why, but the more she tells you how awesome/ great/ terrific you are, the less likely the shoot will happen. If she's "dying to work with you" the probability is it ain't gonna happen.
The best response is "I like your work and I'd like to shoot with you, here's my e-mail/cell #"." Simple, direct and professional.
5) Will she move to email -- Once contact is established and we agree we want to shoot, I always ask to move to e-mail and give my address first. If after 4-5 messages back and forth she ignores the e-mail and stays on Mayhem, it's a bad sign. The longer she refuses, the worse the probability.
6) Response time in general -- Once contact is established and she knows you're trying to set something up, there is no excuse for making you wait 2-3 days for responses. The probability of shooting drops greatly with each day of delayed response. It's a bad sign of her not taking you or your time seriously.
7) Inability to set a firm date -- No later than the third exchange, I always give a set of shoot dates (both weekend and weekday) and ask what works for her. If she ignores the dates or can't pick one, it's a serious red flag. Saying "I'll check my sched" is fine but if you don't get an answer the next business day, the probability is really bad.
7A) - How far out is the shoot -- IF she tells you she'd LOVE to shoot with you but not until some unspecified date more than 2-3 weeks away,
the probability is really bad. If she says "How about the 2nd week of July" the probability is better but still not great. If she says " I'm busy until September but contact me then" move along. Send her a message in September if you like, but don't count on it.
8) Failure to exchange contact numbers -- unlike everything above, this one is a 100% indicator. A week before the scheduled shoot, I always give a model my cell # and ask her to do the same. If that doesn't happen, she's not gonna show. Period. I don't leave the house without a cell # for contact and I tell models that.
9) How does she cancel -- Life happens and legitimate models do need to cancel on occasion. If a model cancels more than 48 hours out, with an apology and suggested other dates, the shoot will probably happen. However, if you wake up on shooting day to an e-mail at 3:00 AM saying she can't make it, move along cause it won't happen. At best, I tell her to message back when she's serious about shooting. At worst, I just put her in the "No Way" file.
Now none of these things are airtight (except # 8). These red flags deal with probabilities, not certainties. However, the more such signs you get, the worse your odds. It's like watertight compartments on a ship. You might survive one or two flooded but 3 or more is telling you the ship is going down. In these situations, your best friend is the word "NEXT".
With all that said, I use Mayhem all the time and it is still the most productive site that I have for shooting models. I have met some tremendous women on Mayhem and several have actually become friends with my wife and me. About 50% are now repeat session models for me. Just don't take things personally and stay with it.
Now how about other veterans? What are your flags??