If you’ve ever been approached by someone who claims to be a “talent scout” or even attended one of those large “open” calls for want-to-be models or actors, you’ve undoubtedly been exposed to some pretty confusing information regarding how to make your Hollywood dreams come true. Before you rush out to sign anything, or fork over any money, it’s a really good idea to do your homework. The FTC has some really good advice about what to do when considering entering into a contract with an agency:
Avoiding a Model Rip-Off
–Ask yourself, “why me?” Don’t let your emotions ” and the company’s flattery ” take control. Think carefully and critically about how you were approached: if it was in a crowded mall, think how many others also may have been approached.
–Avoid high-pressure sales tactics. Never sign a document without reading and understanding it first. In fact, ask for a blank copy of the contract to take home and review with someone you trust. If the company refuses, walk away.
–Be leery of companies that only accept payment in cash or by money order. Read it as a strong signal that the company is more interested in your money than your career.
–Be wary of claims about high salaries. Successful models in small markets can earn $75 to $150 an hour, but the work is irregular.
–Ask for the names, addresses and phone numbers of models and actors who have secured successful work ” recently ” based on the company’s training.
–Check out client claims. If an agency says it has placed models and actors in specific jobs, contact the companies to verify that they’ve hired models and actors from the agency.
–Be skeptical of local companies claiming to be the “biggest” agency or a “major player” in the industry, especially if you live in a smaller city or town.
–Realize that different parts of the country have different needs. For example, New York is recognized for fashion modeling; the Washington/Baltimore area is known for industrial or training films.
–Ask if the company/school is licensed or bonded, if that’s required by your state. Verify this information with the appropriate authorities, such as your local consumer protection agency or state Attorney General. Make sure the license is current.
–Ask your local Better Business Bureau, consumer protection agency and state Attorney General if there are any unresolved consumer complaints on file about the company.
–Get everything in writing, including any promises that have been made orally.
–Keep copies of all important papers, such as your contract and company literature, in a safe place.
If you have any questions about specific companies or agencies, you can check them out on our website, or contact your local BBB. For more information, read BBB Advises Caution When Dealing With Talent/Modeling Agencies , as well at the complete FTC article.