1. Meaningful experience.
Models should expect to have a meaningful experience with abbywinters.com, an experience that has purpose, significance, and value. It’s positive, memorable, and satisfying, as well as fun and exciting.
2. Dignity and respect.
Dignity is the quality of being worthy of respect. Of course, all people are worthy of respect, but especially our models who are often taking an enormous first step into their personal liberation. We work to ensure a model retains her dignity at all times, by perceiving and being responsive to her needs and feelings; compassionate but never to the extent of condescension.
We respect all models decisions, and especially those relating to the work. Models are never to be pressured to do something, and all staff use the systems that are in place to ensure models have formal opportunities to change their mind.
Models are fully informed of the scope of the work, including risks and advantages.
Staff are ethical when working with models (identification of the morally correct course of action). In general, our approach is to very high ethical standards – to do what is intrinsically right in a situation.
We work to actively address underlying and unspoken assumptions, to bring them into the open and extend our social responsibility (a robust “do no evil” approach, be an organisation that helps make the world better, not purely for our own self-interest). We have defined ethical standards in these areas:
- Health and safety. The physical (and, where appropriate, mental) health and safety of models, staff and the general public is paramount to all our works.
- Fairness. Fairness in payment, work opportunities, care.
- Honesty. Models are informed of the scope of the process, risks, opportunities and rewards.
- Confidentiality. Models expect and deserve for their information to be kept confidential.
- Compliance. Laws, insurances, taxation.
Ethical matters are frequently raised and debated among models, staff, management and shareholders and dealt with in a “guided democracy” fashion.
We ensure models are informed of how their choices may affect the risks, rewards and process. We know that only with all the information in hand, can they make an informed decision. We inform models clearly about:
- What the work actually involves
- What they can expect from us in terms of professionalism
- The risks of being involved
- How the process works, from their first contact with us onwards
- How media captured of them is distributed and to whom
- What the rewards are for what level and amount of work
- That the contracts are binding indefinitely
We never use euphemisms or un-defined jargon. We always display an open, honest and factual approach. We use our judgement and our relationship with the model to establish language that the model feels comfortable with.
Some aspects of our work are inherently complicated to understand (for example, the legal contracts models sign and how our relationships with business partners may affect models). We go to additional lengths to ensure all staff are able to clarify aspects of these areas and present them in ways as to evoke understanding by providing real-world analogies and actual examples.
When working with models, staff provide clear leadership, by actively involving people, moderating conflict, being balanced, in control and approachable. We know this helps models feel in control and empowered.
Staff are aware they are responsible for the safety, quality and quantity of work delivered. As well as manage the allocated resources to ensure the results exceed our standards and for models to look their best.
From this responsibility, staff may discipline models and be firm to ensure our standards are being met. Staff use their skills to diffuse awkward or emotionally charged situations, but to always be personable and engaging.
Staff provide constructive feedback to models, freely complimenting excellent performance and working constructively with the model to change behaviours that will reduce quality.
Our staff are responsive to models needs, following up on promises, providing additional information, replying to communications in a timely fashion (a matter of hours or days at the most). Should staff not be able to respond (for example, due to workload or illness), they ensure the matter is handed off to a peer who can deal with the matter.
Complaints are dealt with swiftly, with the model kept informed of the progress of the matter. As necessary, issues are escalated to senior shooter, Production Manager, Creative Director, General Manager, and lastly Owner. Disputes are worked on constructively to resolve the matter to both parties’ satisfaction.
Should a model wish to have her content removed from the website – policy regarding which has been discussed with all models at various stages – there is a process followed to deal with the matter, that is followed to the advantage of the business and the satisfaction of the model.
7. Model communication.
Staff work to build trust by being effective communicators, such as encouraging “active listening” techniques (listening for meaning by suspending one’s own frame of reference and judgement, to fully attend to the speaker).
Staff are on the lookout for barriers that make effective communication difficult, such as distractions, pejorative words (words that have come to mean more than their dictionary definition), unknown or misunderstood vocabulary, language difficulties and limited attention spans, and work to change their method to further foster understanding.
Staff work with models to get their input for their shoot, guiding the model around paradigm requirements. Use the model’s input to collaborate and create something greater than the sum of its parts.