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Modeling Scams

Modeling Scams Author Theresa Moss For over 3 years my position as a Talent Coordinator/Production Assistant gave me the opportunity to experience working behind the scenes of the entertainment industry. As a broadcasting major with accomplishments in Communications, I gained extensive knowledge, on what to look for in talent. My duties included auditioning talents of all levels, coordinating audiences, interviewing video camera technicians/interns, as well as contributing script for the 1 hour variety show.

As a voiceover announcer, I periodically opened and closed the show, and contributed to the development of public service announcements. My ability to spot aspiring talent early was something I took very seriously, and because of my knowledge and honesty, my advice wasn't questioned by aspiring artists. I have been asked on a number of occasions to manager talent, however had to refuse the requests for different reasons.

Each was extremely talented, but unable to accept the type of advice I had. Take care of your addiction, associations, and come back and talk to me. As the Administrative Assistant to the Director of a west coast Talent Management agency, my opinion was respected in the selection process of talent. Models, actors, singers and dancers were considered, and sent down to our Los Angeles office where they would then audition for commercials, TV pilots, and other on camera spots.

While working alongside a producer who recruited talent from the streets, I would accompany him on shoots. Our goal was to find a certain 'type' of individual, provide them with a script, film the audition, and take their contact information. Whether or not the aspiring actor/model was selected, was left to the casting agent. At the modeling/talent agency my duties not only included scheduling appointments, but recruiting talent from the outside, and inviting them to the agency for free evaluations.

It wasn't until I began researching the roles of talent agent, talent scout, personal manager And modeling and talent agencies, that I discovered that I had worked for agencies that were bogus. And that was 2 months ago, I've been working in and around the industry for over 25 years. One agency, insisted 'hopefuls' schedule photo sessions with their in-house photographer, while the second encouraged 'hopefuls' to sign up for classes. Both, were 'shady' and operated unethically, but at the time I didn't know that, and now am sharing my experience of what to look for. First you should research the agency, on your local Better Business Bureau site, and don't hesitate to contact the Federal Trade Commission or get online and review www.

badbusinessbureau.com Over the years I would observe individuals that I personally felt were not marketable, and although attractive, were not 'packaged' to take that next step. Many were too willing to do, whatever the Director asked them to do, without really looking at the entire picture. In both offices the walls were lined with the pictures of soap opera stars, TV commercial actors, and even the face of a recently married star, who married one of the world's most bankable stars.

However, this woman was not a 'student' of the agency, in fact; she was a student of the agency that was purchased by the Director, who was practicing the unethical practices. Misrepresentation, and it was all done in the presence of parents who should have taken the time to do some research, before coming through the doors. So anxious to get their children in the business, and open up their purses/wallets for classes and photographs, not aware that, there's a lot more to getting there than that. But, the Directors with their sales pitches, convinced many that their child was the next big thing, and if they would just invest a little money in this or that?blahblahblah. Yes it would cost to take the classes, do the photo sessions, and after all that was done, the dessert prize, you would be invited to showcase your talents to hundreds of talent agents, scouts and managers, but that would be an additional $3,000.

00 What always amazed me about this sales pitch was all the parent had to do was look around and see 'between the lines'. If I'm going to spend hundreds of dollars on a service, I want to see a couple of things. First why is the agent/staff, walking around in sweat suits every time I come through the door, the reception area is always dirty and unorganized, and worst yet the Directors office is a mess. And I'm not talking about the dust or the dead bugs, I'm talking about the piles of resumes and photos on her desk. Take the time to ask yourself, why would any 'professional' present such a mess to a potential customer? If you've spent hundreds of dollars on composites, do you want to see them on someone's desk in a pile? If this doesn't matter to you, then it should.

It says this, what you bring or leave with me, isn't important enough to file safely away. What it says is, IF a casting agent called and asked for a particular talent, the Director wouldn't know what to send, because your picture is buried in a pile. And finally what this really says is, the resumes/pictures piles here, there, and everywhere, are of individuals who naively thought all they had to do was come in drop off a resume/picture, do a little sit down and that was it, she would call you if anything can in. No, what it really means is, you haven't enrolled in any classes or scheduled any photo sessions, so if and when anything comes in, you will not be considered.

At one agency, we had the dead pile, and it wasn't for people who'd passed away, it was 'hopefuls' who had refused to pay for classes or photo sessions. The only 'hopefuls' that were considered for commercial spots, or pilot auditions, were those individuals who had 'paid in advance'. I can't begin to tell you the individuals that I have had to schedule for classes and photo sessions that had taken the bait. Models who were 5'1 and overweight, acting students who could barely read and singers who couldn't sing.

There was a student; I believe she said he was a hip hop dancer. This child was rude and ill mannered, and although the agency offered the basic manners for children, the Director said she was more concerned in enrolling him in another class. Another class! In other words she didn't care that he was disrespectful to her staff, interrupted conversations, and was just without home training, she wanted to enroll him in another class. And the classes she wanted him in, had absolutely nothing to do with his dancing. Yes I have read the stories of talent scouts telling Clint Eastwood, Sophia Loren, and one of the latest American Idols they were all wrong for the business.

But, we all know they were wrong. Theresa Moss is the author of From the Inside Looking Out a self help guide for the aspiring artist pursuing a career in the Entertainment Industry. http://www.


But, run and don't stop if you are approached by a smiling stranger with a business card. If you've been told your attractive, good, but know that you've got to bring more to the table than a pretty face. Being successful in this business means not only knowing the right people, but being able to perform when it's SHOWTIME! Theresa Moss is the author of From the Inside Looking Out a self help guide for aspiring artists pursuing a career in the entertainment industry. http://www.


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