|Protecting the Sheep from the Wolves
With hopes of becoming a movie star or model you respond to an ad in your local paper. When you call their number you are told for a prepaid fee sometimes as low as $10.00 (or whatever price they decide on that occasion) you will receive an objective, selective evaluation, called a "screen test" or "demo tape". The screen test will determine whether you will be one of the lucky select few to obtain paid work as an actor or model.
This screen test consists of a ten-minute (usually less) session taped with a video camera conducted at a local hotel. Upon arrival you are encouraged you to buy a copy of the test for an additional $20.00 and do not discuss any further fees.
The talent director claims to have many years of experience in talent evaluation. The talent director also claims not everyone who takes a screen test is selected. You are reassured that if you are not selected, your fee for this test will be refunded.
After your video-camera test you are told "what a wonderful job you did" and of course how natural you look on camera. The search company talent director will insist they do not provide employment, nor do they provide agent representation or agent services. However, you are encouraged to allow them for an additional fee to submit your screen test to leading talent agencies. They will also tell you what a great service they will provide for you.
During this time the talent director claims those who purchase this service are more likely to obtain agent representation then those who don't. Furthermore, they will almost guarantee that at least one agency will contact you to offer representation.
When you begin to feel overwhelmed they will re-assure you they are members of an Entertainment Association formed to protect you from unethical business practices.
Approximately two weeks after you buy into the agency mailing list, you receive a telephone call for an Agency that wants to meet with you. Upon arrival to this agency they will tell you how much work you can receive and how busy you will be. You will be encouraged to sign up with their in-house acting lessons ($1000.00+) and to use their in-house photographer for headshots ($2000.00) To add insult on top of injury they request you sign a 3-5 year contract with them.
They (the agency) will however send you out on at least one audition. They have too, that of course would be a breach of contract.
So it turns out the screen test was not an experienced persons professional objective. The search company was correct they didn't offer employment nor did they provide representation or agents services.
They offered YOU and provided YOU a SERVICE!
A service that can be costly if you don't do your homework!
Remember this: Real agents Don't need to Advertise
Please do your homework and ask questions.
If it sounds too good to be true...it probably is .
Places that can help you: