Acting : Acting SCAMS! by Lara Gad

Lara Gad

Acting SCAMS!

Anyone have experience with scams, specifically targeted at actors? What are some RED FLAGS that one should be aware of? What vulnerabilities are taken advantage of? If you are a scam artist, please let us know how you do it! (probably won't get much a response for this question, but I'm still putting it out there) Please share your experience! I know these kinds of stories may be hard to relive, but your story can help another avoid such a pitfall. I look forward to hearing your stories! Love Lara Devika

Cindy Myskiw

Great Questions, love the one to the actual Scam Most likely won't get a reply unless it is from a reformed one. My own suggestions is just be careful. I search everyone that I can possibly look up. To see if they are legitimate people. This is also one of the reasons I keep asking people to take the time to fill in their BIO. Because then you can check out peoples credentials to make sure you are not being scammed. If you want to be taken seriously for your business you will take the time to fill it out. That way people know who you are and know what type of work you have done. But that is just my opinion. I am sure you will get lots of others. ;) ;)

Suzanne Bronson

The #1 way you can tell that you are dealing with a scammer is if he/she asks for money up front. Or tries to send you to their photographer. Also, there is difference of opinion when it comes to casting director workshops, but I personally view them as pay to play. Which is illegal. That's why you will notice they don't actually call it auditioning but what else is it?

Regina Lee

I'm on the producing side in LA, not acting. As for CD workshops, based on the experience of my actor friends, these workshops are legit. Obviously, you want to be sure the CDs you're meeting have good credits before you sign up! For example, my friend was a SAG/AEA actor in NY. (To protect her privacy, I won't use names.) She moved to LA, where she had no CD network. She participated in a few CD workshops, and one guy really liked her, and keeps bringing her in for appropriate roles. As a result of those connections, she booked a co-star role on one of Shonda's ABC shows. Does attending a CD workshop mean that you will book? Absolutely not. Does it increase your chances of connecting with a CD who will give you a shot(s) to audition? Yes, 100%.

Joaquín Carrasquilla

Very accuarte Regina !

Jorge J Prieto

If an agent asks you for money $$$ upfront is a red flag.

JD Hartman

"Your headshots or no good..." or "We've got a photographer who does all our actors headshots. You have to use him." Pay us $$$ and I'll set up the appointment.

JD Hartman

@Suzanne Bronson So true in the NYC market, or at least when I was auditioning it was true. "Pay to Play", meet and read for three casting directors in one evening only $250.....then you find that they are only an assistant to the CD, total scam.

JD Hartman

Just as "scammy", paid: social events; cocktail parties; industry meet n' greets; networking sessions; etc.

John Totten

Maybe not directed at actors per se (excuse the pun...) but if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. I was recently offered, more than once, work for several days as a PA on a commercial shoot in San Francisco. The pay rate-get this-was $600 per day, what a DP could get, plus transportation and lodging for six days. How many commercial shoots last six days? Why not just hire somebody locally? I have no experience as a PA. Thankfully I interned at a casting agency, so I gave a call to this gentleman's office and another CD confirmed my suspicions. It also helped to renew associations.

John Totten

Victor, it all added up, especially when they offered to send me a check to cover airfare and hotel expenses. Why not just set up an account and pay the airline directly? The first time I was offered this scam there was a link on the email to the legitimate company who's name the scammer had hijacked. Doing my due diligence, I clicked on the company link and it led directly to a warning about this scam. As I said, it all added up. I have a very low gag threshold for people trying to scam naïve young people in the entertainment business. Thankfully I am neither naïve or young.

Rebecca Caldwell

When I was younger, a woman pretending to be a 'model scout' did the whole approach in a mall to me. I already had an agent, so I played along and took her card. Just before she left, I said "Thanks, I'll send your details to my agent, she's the best contact for me for commercial work" - She ran a mile. Saw her on the news shortly after as being a scammer. She nailed a few of my friends that way, they weren't in the biz, but got stars in their eyes momentarily. Sadly, she made them pay $$$ for a 'portfolio'

John Totten

Victor, I was referencing that the production company would pay the airline and hotel directly. Hope this clarifies. The CD reference paid off here, as a quick call to his office confirmed. This gentleman does business legit, and has an IMDb for his own company that goes back 25 years. (Unfortunately I'm not dropping names.) I learned a lot about how casting directors, and casting works from him.

Rebecca Caldwell

@Victor It was in Perth, Australia quite a few years ago - quite isolated, but many actors and models from here have gone on to become fairly famous (esp at that time - Hugh Jackman, Heath Ledger, Gemma Ward etc), so it's not outside the realm of possibility for those wanting to believe it. I think the key is that there is no easy way to 'make it' so, anything or anyone who claims to 'discover' you or make promises of work is a bit of a scammer. I just keep an eye on them and caution friends to be careful and check on their credentials.

Rebecca Caldwell

Haha @Victor, she's a 'supermodel', maybe not your target market :) Yeah, you can only do your best and keep a straight head about it all, really. Good luck to everyone!

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