Do you think your child could be a model or an actor? If a talent scout says they’ve got a future in the business, you might be excited and flattered. But look out- you could be the target of a modeling scam.
Often, what you think a job interview with a modeling or talent agency is really a high-pressure sales pitch for modeling or acting classes, screen tests, or photo shoots that can range in price from several hundred to several thousand dollars. It’s important that you know how to spot a scam agency, so you and your family don’t get taken for a ride.
The market for child models and actors is actually small, and since children’s looks can change quickly, legitimate agents, agencies, and directors will probably ask for casual snapshots and not professional photos. In this blog post, we explain how to take the right steps to protect you and your child when going through the modeling process.
Signs of a Scam
You have to use a specific photographer. It’s a no-brainer that you’ll need professional photos taken, but you have the ability to choose a photographer at a price that’s right for you. If an agency insists you need to use their photographer, it’s a good sign you’re dealing with a scam.
They request payment upfront. Serious modeling agencies do not charge you an up-front fee. They get paid when you get paid. And if the agency says they only accept payment by cash or money order, that’s a double whammy sign of a scam. They’re more interested in getting cash in hand than they are developing your career, which is not a good investment on your part.
You’re told the opportunity could disappear if you don’t act now. Always take the time to research a modeling agency and all of your options. No legitimate company, modeling or otherwise, should ever pressure you into taking action. If they do, run in the other direction!
They guarantee work and big pay. Modeling and acting careers are just not a sure thing. It’s the nature of the business! Many people believe they’ve got what it takes to make it, and if that’s you or your child – great! But an agency has no way to follow through on big promises.
Do Your Research
Check its reputation online. Try searching for the company’s name with words like “scam,” “rip-off,” or “complaint.”
Get references. Ask for the names, addresses, and phone numbers of models and actors who have gotten work — recently — based on the company’s training. In some cases, companies have put up pictures on the walls of successful models they didn’t actually represent. If an agency says it has placed models and actors in specific jobs, contact that company to verify that they’ve hired models and actors from the agency.
Get everything in writing. Contract, promises, payments, correspondence, meetings, expenses. Document everything and keep these records in a safe place.
An opportunity for child modeling can be glamorous and exciting, but it’s important to keep yourself and your child away from people who are looking to make a quick buck. If you aren’t sure if you’re being scammed, do your research and enlist a professional to review any contract they may provide you. If you think you need a contract reviewed, feel free to give us a call and schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!