I’m scrolling thru my facebook feed and read a post from my son’s acting coach. She referred to a young man who got swindled out of $10,000, paid to a talent agency. He fell hook, line and sinker for entertainment industry trick. He was lured into attending a convention that would put him in front of the industry leaders and now he is out of hard earned money and ends up empty handed with NO gigs!
I told her, “You need to write an article about this! Too many people get taken advantage of.” She directed me to your website. WWW.hollywoodactingstudiojax.com to read the article.
DREAMS FOR SALE - How to avoid rip offs and scams
By Jill DONNELLAN, Top Hollywood Acting Coach for over 30 years
DREAMS FOR SALE - How to avoid rip offs and scams
By Jill DONNELLAN, Top Hollywood Acting Coach for over 30 years*
Don't be the next Victim to these lures. Below are the warning signs to turn and walk away!
RADIO AND TELEVISION ADS - CASTING CALLS OR 'AUDITIONS' - STAY AWAY - We hear it all the time how people were ripped off by going to a casting call and getting called back for an "audition" only to discover that they are being sold expensive workshops, photo sessions and promises of seeing themselves on T.V. These are NOT casting calls or auditions! They are scams to get you into that hotel and to sell you as much as they can possibly get from you. They are fast talking salespeople who will promise you everything you dream of as long as you sign their contract for services that can cost anywhere from $500.00 to $15,000.00. If you have to go, just to see, don't take cash, checks or credit cards. Once they realize you don't have that with you, you'll see a complete change of attitude and more than likely you'll be told to go. BE SMART!
CONVENTIONS - You may have been solicited by someone to join a convention that will "get you in front of agents, casting directors, etc.". These conventions are huge money making schemes to line the pockets of those who put them on. The costs are enormous. Anywhere from $1,000.00 - $15,000. The salespeople will convince (con) you into believing that if you go on this show business 'cruise' or convention that you will be introduced to the people who will kick start your career or you child's career. They bring in actors from soap opera's or cancelled T.V. series and say that they got 'discovered' at one of their events. This is far from the truth. The actors who show up may have gone to one of these events way back but they did not get discovered there. They have gone onto Hollywood and worked for years with industry professionals to get to the place they are. The convention/cruise did not do it.The actors get paid very well to do these conventions as do the casting directors and others. The hopefuls who go to these conventions may have a good time but that's all they will have. If you have that kind of money to spend and you are ready in your talent to go to auditions etc., go to Hollywood during "pilot' season and do the real deal.
EXPENSIVE ACTING WORKSHOPS - When looking for a good, on camera acting workshop, do your homework. Make sure that the coach has extensive experience in the areas of T.V. & FILM acting. There's many who are only students themselves or struggling actors that put together workshops so they can continue to work on their craft. You may receive bad training techniques from people who haven't been there... done that. So do research. The classes shouldn't cost more than $200 a month and should have no more than 16 people in the class. Small classes are better as you will get to work each week. There's nothing worse than sitting around week after week watching but not working. 8 - 12 is a good number and make sure you have on camera training.
EXTRA'S CASTING CALLS ON INTERNET AND IN NEWSPAPERS - STAY AWAY! There are many people out there who make a living off of charging to put you as an extra in a movie etc. More than likely you will never get on a set and YOU should be getting paid to work as an extra. There are legitimate extra casting agencies out there who don't put ads out. Usually for a nominal one time fee of $25.00 you can sign up and get working. Do your homework and don't be afraid to ask lots of questions.
EXPENSIVE PHOTO SHOOTS FOR HEADSHOTS - In Hollywood and New York there are the top photographers who can charge what they want. But for the average actor, you can find excellent headshot photographers for under $400.00 a sitting. Check out their websites and see if they are what you need. Remember headshots need to be from the bust up. On occasion we can have waist up but generally it's shoulders and head. Make sure that you have a great Commercial look (smiling) and a great dramatic look (not smiling). When looking for a headshot photographer make sure that there isn't a lot of photo shopping as this indicates that the lighting isn't professional. Too much photo shop can actually turn off a casting director who wonders "what's under all that blurred touch up?" Be who you are. Don't be afraid of a few lines or freckles on your face. You want to go into an audition looking like your picture.
CASTING DIRECTOR WORKSHOPS - When deciding to do a casting directors workshop, make sure that the person teaching the class is a qualifed member of the CASTING SOCIETY OF AMERICA (C.S.A.) not just a 'helper' or 'casting associate'. This means they are a valued member of the T.V. & film industry casting network and are legitimate. There are many people who call themselves casting directors and who are not. They may have hired actors to do some indie films, student films, extra casting, but they are NOT qualified to call themselves Casting Directors. Don't waste your money. Go to SAG/AFTRA.COM and get a list of casting directors or check to see if the person promoting the workshop is on the list. If not, wait for the real deal. Make sure that you are really ready to be seen by a casting director. They are very important to your career. If you are a beginner, wait until you know your craft. Then you can go in and impress the casting director with your talent. Don't be in a hurry. LEARN YOUR CRAFT! TAKE T.V. & FILM ACTING WORKSHOPS. BE BRILLIANT BEFORE AUDITIONING.
GETTING AN AGENT - Make sure you are ready to have an agent as you have to audition to get in to a legitimate agency. You can find a list of agents on SAG/AFTRA.COM website. If they are not licensed, they are not going to submit you for SAG/AFTRA (UNION) jobs. NEVER PAY A MANAGER OR AN AGENT TO BE REPRESENTED!!! NEVER! They receive their percentage AFTER you have worked and are paid.
*JILL DONNELLAN has been a top Hollywood Acting Coach for over 30 years bringing professional on camera workshops to all ages and levels. Ms. Donnellan realized her passion for teaching acting after many years of working as an actress for T.V. and Film. She opened her L.A. ACTING WORKSHOPS in 1990 and created a hosts of acting programs designed for beginners, intermediate and advanced actors. Ms. Donnellan realized what the T.V. and FILM actor needed and brought her techniques "Jill Donnellan Technique" to Hollywood, California and now to Jacksonville, Florida. She has taught Acting for T.V. and Film all over the world and can now be reached by anyone on her SKYPE online acting classes. Ms. Donnellan is also a set coach and has worked on shows for NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, SONY PICTURES, DREAMWORKS/PARAMOUNT, CASTLEROCK AND MORE.
JILL DONNELLAN has been a successful screenwriter for Nickelodeon's "Power Rangers" for 15 years. Her best selling books "All new Scenes for Actors" and "All new Scenes for young Actors" can be found at Samuel French, Inc.