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Child actors and avoiding scams

 
 
sozobe
 
Reply Fri 20 Jan, 2006 05:27 pm
So, sozlet wants to be an actress. Rolling Eyes This has been a theme for a while -- it went up several notches when there was some big modeling/ acting thing going on at the hotel we stayed at in Chicago, and everyone in elevators and such thought she was there to participate in it. She thought that was a GREAT idea. :-? I had to explain that it's not something you can just walk into, you had to contact them ahead of time yadda yadda. She was like so CONTACT them!! I answered with something vague.

I thought she'd forget about it, but she keeps bringing it up.

I Googled the agency that was in Chicago -- ProScout -- and they seemed legit. I sent a coupla photos a few days ago. They just wrote back saying that sozlet has been selected for the same kind of "event" that was in Chicago, but here, in the fall -- registration is only $700.

Shocked

Yeah, right.

I did some research and it sounds like it's not completely shady but no guarantees. Basically it is a way to get connected to an agent, who then would find/ arrange jobs. There is just no way I'm spending $700, though.

IF I wanted to ease the way for her to be some sort of an actress if she's so interested, what would be the legitimate, scam-free way to do so? Is it even possible if I'm not in Los Angeles or New York?

I'm of two minds about the whole thing, so am just curious at this point, may put the kibosh on it even if it's theoretically possible.

Thanks!
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 9,687 • Replies: 25
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jan, 2006 05:33 pm
I did a BBB search on ProScout, came up clean.

Quote:
BBB MEMBERSHIP

This company has been a member of the Better Business Bureau since March 2000. This means it supports the Bureau's services to the public and meets our membership standards.

PROGRAM PARTICIPATION

The company participates in the Bureau's Membership Identification Program. This company participates in BBBOnLine. This company has agreed to use special complaint handling procedures including mediation and arbitration if necessary to resolve disputes.

NATURE OF BUSINESS

This company searches for talent.

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Based on BBB files, this company has a satisfactory record with the Bureau. Any complaints processed by the Bureau in its three-year reporting period have been resolved. The number and type of complaints are not unusual for a company in this industry.

To have a "Satisfactory Record" with the Bureau, a company must be in business for at least 12 months, properly and promptly address matters referred to it by the Bureau, and be free from an unusual volume or pattern of complaints and law enforcement action involving its marketplace conduct. In addition, the Bureau must have a clear understanding of the company's business and no concerns about its industry.

When evaluating complaint information, please consider the company's size and volume of business. The number of complaints filed against the company may not be as important as the type of complaints and how the company handled them.
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jan, 2006 05:44 pm
Soz- Have you seen this kid?

http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=67194

She apparently is connected with Jet Set Models. You might want to look into that company.

http://www.jetsetkids.com/view_story.aspx?id=89&type=2
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eoe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jan, 2006 05:44 pm
Would you consider her modeling, just to see if she likes that? There are several legitimate agencies in Chicago. I'd start with Elite. They will want pictures right off so it couldn't hurt to start on that now. One more reason to make that digital camera purchase and guess what? You'll probably be able to write it off on your taxes. Laughing Laughing
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jan, 2006 05:47 pm
Darn- My link did not work, and I can't edit it. Just Google Jet Set Models, and You will find the company.
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CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jan, 2006 06:02 pm
That agency (Jet Set Models) is in my town, sozobe. If you're interested, I could check it out for you.

My daughter is 10 years now and still wants to be an actress.
She's at every school play and performing comes very
natural to her. When giving oral reports in school, she has
to be stopped every time, as she carries on and on....

But that's as far as she gets. I would not persue her "acting abilities" professionally, at least not as long as she's under age.
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spendius
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jan, 2006 06:19 pm
"Don't put your daughter on the stage Mrs Worthington" is a quite old English song.
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jan, 2006 06:34 pm
If sozlet is keen on being an actress, wouldn't it be best to have her involved in community plays/theatre camps etc.

It seems that when I read programs where young actors are involved - they come out of agents attending community events - not parents paying a fee to an agency.

soz, try and get mac and bree over on this one. <who else knows this stuff well? mulling>


the app for the best program here

http://www.lktyp.ca/media/drama_school_junior_company.pdf

(stuck it in for the prices on page 3, and the program info)

http://www.lktyp.ca/en/about/index.cfm
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jan, 2006 06:38 pm
Oy.

I think modelling young really affects your life and sense of self. I recommend some long thought.
On the other hand, who am I to say 'nah'. Maybe she, and the necessary accompanier, you, would be the exceptions.

As you know, Soz, I was a short timer in commercials as a child, nepotism in action, and I knew the other children were actors and I was getting an experience. I think a real life of that would be hard to juggle re healthy development. Even I had a tutor on the set, got made up, etc.
I'd be chary.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jan, 2006 06:59 pm
Yeah, I'm chary too.

I definitely wouldn't want anything that would require tutor-level commitment.

eoe, I'm in Columbus now...

Right now I'm tending more towards just community stuff, not even trying for TV/ movies (which is what she wants, but she's five!).
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eoe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jan, 2006 07:10 pm
Community things are the best way to go for now. Plays at the center, in school, church (oops, sorry Rolling Eyes ).

I say go ahead and pursue it if she wants to. Let her have fun. What can it hurt?

I worked with young models for several years and yes indeed, there were some little horror stories running around on set but what I found was, as it usually goes, it boiled down to the parents and how they related to their kid. If they pampered and catered to them with bribes and promises of trips to McDonald's or if the child came in with a very clear understanding of what was going on, what was expected of them and who was in charge.
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jan, 2006 07:10 pm
http://www.colschildrenstheatre.org/
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eoe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jan, 2006 07:12 pm
Excellent idea ehBeth.
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jan, 2006 07:13 pm
http://www.colschildrenstheatre.org/academy/academy.htm

Quote:
Session I is January 7 - February 11, 2006
AGE
5 to 7 Hansel and Gretel
Storybook Theatre
Journey Into The Jungle
Treasure Trunk Theatre
Sat. Jan 7-Feb 4 9-10am $80 Park Street
Sat. Jan 7-Feb 4 9-10am $80 Grove City
Thur. Jan 12-Feb 9 4:30-5:30pm $80 Pickerington
Sat. Jan 7-Feb 4 9-10am $80 Dublin*
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jan, 2006 08:31 pm
smooches to ehBeth.

That looks really promising.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jan, 2006 08:36 pm
(Did I mention that last week she organized her entire preschool class into a production of the Nutcracker with her as the lead... and they liked it?) The school director was there and sent me an email about it, so I quote:

Quote:
I just came up from her classroom, where I went to watch a play that [sozlet] saw
through from beginning to end, with a lot of help from the other children!
You can tell she really knows the plot of the Nutcracker, and she was directing
children how to perform, all with great patience and kindness. She did all the
parts she could do herself. It was wonderful to watch!


Gonna be signing her up for some acting classes, yep...
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jan, 2006 09:13 pm
Soz. I couldn't be more serious: any company that charges YOU money for your child to work is bogus.

I see this all of the time and it breaks my heart.

If an agency really feels like she has what it takes THEY will pay for any photos and training that she needs.

If they ask you for money be very, very skeptical.

And worry.

The agency's reputation is not always a reliable guide.

I agree with the group advising children's theater. Some cities have improv comedy groups that offer kid's classes too. My city has "Rock and Roll School" for girls.

There are a lot of ways Sozlette could have fun with this.

If an agency wants to represent her they will shell out the money to get her started.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Jan, 2006 09:19 pm
Yeah.

I'm not doing the ProScout thing. But it's not an agency per se -- they connect people they think are promising to agents. Their blurb:

    Welcome to ProScout, the easiest way to meet genuine, legitimate, star making agencies. Rated the industry's #1 scouting company, ProScout guarantees access to the world's most famous agencies. With 11 years of success, ultra-credibility, and direct connections to every major agency in the world - we create stars like no one else can.


Whatever.

When I was researching them I came across a lot of "just contact agents directly" advice (and a lot of pro-ProScout "I sent photos directly to agents and they ignored me, but with ProScout yadda yadda success yadda yadda..."). So I was wondering how it works to bypass the ProScout-type step.

Right now very much towards local/ community stuff, though. Hadn't known about the Columbus Children's Theater, looks really good.
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mac11
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jan, 2006 10:26 am
I completely agree with Boomer's thoughts on the companies that charge you money to get your kid into show biz. It's a racket, no matter what the BBB says. There are just too many stage moms and dads who are willing to fork over some bucks to make it happen, so it isn't based on talent or looks, only on your ability to pay. When little Susy doesn't hit it big, they can blame it on the nature of the business.

Acting classes are the way to go. The CCT Academy looks just right. There are probably some other possibilities in a city the size of Columbus. Has she taken dance before? I can't remember. It's another good way to burn off some creative energy.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jan, 2006 10:32 am
She's taking ballet classes, yep, and really enjoys that.

(By the way the "and they liked it" above refers to the classmates she was directing -- I was worried that this whole thing was too bossy, but when I went to pick her up all the kids were happily buzzing about it and the teachers reassured me that everyone had a great time.)

Thanks for your input, mac, I was hoping you'd show up since this is something you know a lot about.

ix-nay on the oscout-pray, got it.
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