Is your agent asking you to pay upfront fees before he can represent you?
Do not pay upfront to be “accepted” into an “agency” or for representation”
For many aspiring actors, models and singers, the dream of achieving their goal can be so intoxicating that it literally makes you a perfect and gullible target for scamsters.
The scam is so old and so real. Many fake agents will lure you with promises of making you a big star. They will praise you for your talent and ask you to come for the an audition.
Of course, you will pass the audition and you will hear stories of how wonderful and how talented you are. In fact, some will go ahead and tell you that they may have a job for you already. And then comes the rub “in order to represent you, you need to get our PACKAGE”.
How Much is the Package? $2000!. There are some that charges as much as $4000. This scam is real and you will lose your money when you pay to such agents. In this industry, there are so many fake agents that are out only to find gullible would-be actors and bill them for thousands. In most cases, you won’t even realize that you’ve been scammed until weeks or months later; no real auditions and certainly no offers to appear in any acting job. All you will be left with is mediocre photos, frustration and a lot of wasted energy and time.
Why Is this Scam Still Going On?
It’s hard to stop this scam or even arrest the culprit. In fact, this scam is not even illegal. This is because they don’t tell you specifically that they will certainly get you a job, they only promise to sell you to directors which they did. They will take your photos and send them to casting directors (whose assistants likely promptly threw away) and they will even provide you with shotgun “acting lessons”.
This type of agents give bad rap to real talent agents. This scam come in many forms as “talent agent”, “model agents”, “casting agents”, or “Model and Talent” companies. Irrespective of any form they come, they all have one thing in common and that is separating you from your hard-earned cash.
They will ask you to either pay for their Package or forget it. Real talent agency will never ask you to pay upfront. They don’t ask you to pay for photo session or acting lessons. Instead, they will give you a list or recommend some places you can get these things.
Fake Talent Agents
Only fake talent agents demand money upfront to represent you. If you are approached out of the blue in public by someone claiming to be an agent, this should be a red alert. Most reputable talent agencies don’t look for actors in public places; they let those with the right talent come to them.
Avoid casting call on an online classifieds site or in the newspaper; it is one of their strategies of luring in innocent would-be actors. Reputable agencies don’t usually advertise their services to the general public.
Avoid Photo Mills and Acting Lessons
Although it is recommended that you have a good photo session and take acting lessons. But be very careful, these are two things fake agent will use to take your money.
Fake agents will try to pressure you into taking expensive portfolio of photos with their photographer. They will also insist you take acting lessons from them. Stay away from such agencies.
Like we said above, real talent agencies will not pressure you into using their own photographer or taking acting lesson from them and they will NEVER ask for any upfront payment. They make money only when you get a paid job.
Ensure you read every contract before signing them. Don’t sign what you don’t understand. You can get a professional to help you understand the contract if you are not sure.
Under the Consumer Protection Act, your contract must include:
- Your full name
- The modelling or talent agency or agent’s name and address
- A full description of the services you are purchasing
- Conditions of cancellation and renewal
- The total amount that you will pay, the number and amount of payments you will need to make and any additional charges
- The start and end date for each service that is part of the contract
- The dates when the contract begins and ends
Finally, do adequate research when you are looking for a talent agency. Avoid falling for agencies that are out to swindle you. Do not let the dream of becoming an actor or model cloud your better judgement when dealing with talents agents. Ask questions, make research and ask for recommendations.