Scams are quite prevalent in the modeling industry. Fake talent agencies looking to prey on the dreams of aspiring models are abundant. When starting out in the modeling industry, it is important to be wary of such scams and take certain precautions when dealing with people in the business.
Typically, a person pretending to be a talent agent approaches you. He or she tells you that they are looking for models, and that you are perfect for the job. You will then be requested to go to a follow-up appointment at their office. However, instead of discussing modeling plans with you, these so-called agents will start on selling modeling classes to you. Some so-called talent agents may also require you to undergo a photo shoot for an unreasonably exorbitant fee.
Fake modeling agencies use various tactics to scam hopeful models. Here are several tips to help you avoid them.
Never pay an up-front fee to a person pretending to be a talent agent. Modeling agents get their fees by getting a commission on the bookings they arrange for their models. Agents asking to be paid by the model before any bookings are made are not really talent agents. Also, be skeptical about talent agencies that only accept cash as payment.
It is crucial for a model to have a portfolio prior to attending go-sees or interviews. Fake modeling agencies will require aspiring models to pose for their own photographer, who typically charges a higher than normal fee, usually from several hundred to a thousand dollars. What usually happens is that the fee is split between the so-called photographer and the talent agent, and the model never gets signed up for a job. To prevent this from happening, find your own photographer and have a few pictures taken. It is a good idea to have a basic portfolio ready when meeting with a talent agency.
There are also certain photographers advertising free photo shoots for hopeful models. Before obliging, ask the photographer where the photos will be used. Some photographers offering free shoots sell your photographs to certain publications, allowing them to earn money out of you without you knowing it. What’s worse is that your pictures can be used in inappropriate ways or be sold to objectionable publications. Also, be wary if the photo shoots will be conducted in bedrooms of hotels or other non-public places. Be safe, and don’t allow these unscrupulous individuals to bully you into doing something you don’t want to do.
Some fake modeling agencies require you to undergo a training session with them for a certain fee prior to registering. Do not believe them. Real modeling agencies may send you to undergo training courses elsewhere, but will not ask you for money immediately. The fees for the training courses are usually deducted from your talent fees once you have started earning from jobs that the agency has set up for you.
Some competitions require models to pay fees to enter the competition. These fees will allegedly cover the expenses for the competition, such as the photographs that will be taken of you. These competitions are most likely scams. Genuine talent agencies holding competitions do not require aspiring models to pay any fees.
Read all documents prior to signing, including the fine print. Focus on sections or paragraphs that deal with your contract period, the fees that you have to pay, and the use of your photographs. Ask the company for a couple of days to review the contract, and request for a blank copy of the document that you can take home. If the company does not oblige, then there’s a high possibility that it is a scam. It is best to find a lawyer to review the contract with.
When dealing with a talent agency, try to get some background information on them first – ask if they are members of any modeling organizations, and inquire about models who they have previously signed and found work for. Make sure you verify the information.
If you have been scammed by a fake modeling agency, don’t be afraid to take action. Inform your Better Business Bureau or file a complaint at the Federal Trade Commission. Source: http://www.vstudios.us/