|Greedy and Cheats|
Modeling / Acting ScamThere are too many modeling, acting agencies and acting schools that dupe and fool on an aspiring model and actor’s dream to get entry into Bollywood or serials (TV episodes). These unscrupulous people post casting notices, auditions, guaranteed roles and ads on different websites like Quickr, Olx, and other free classified sites that refer to fake auditions and nonexistent castings for a break that sound real. Some also use ads on the radio and newspapers to entice people.
Here Is Why They do This. To Extract Money!
Here are some of the examples
There are many agencies that operate very intelligently. They don’t just come out and ask for money, they first get your confidence and screw you in slowly. Often times, they schedule a ‘fake’ audition (they don’t ask for money here to put you at ease), then they call and tell you ‘you have been short listed’ come in for a 2nd audition and sometimes a 3rd and meet a fake director or a producer. Once there, they tell you ‘you are perfect… but…’. This is where the salesperson kicks in and tries to lure you for a lead role in a feature film if you give a deposit of Rs.1 to 2 lacs, which includes training or some lesser ones will try to sell you on photos, portfolios, show reel, acting classes and anything else they can push on you. The audition was not actually for a real part in any production, it was to evaluate how much you will spend and how much they can sucker you out of.
My experience:The girl Neeta from Lucknow phoned me for an advice. She applied with her photographs to an ad from so called a Doordarhan authorized agency for a new serial. She got an immediately that she has been selected and had to remit Rs.4000 for an artist card. Excited that her dream will now be fulfilled, she paid the amount. And she got the artist card (from a bogus company) within 10 days along with a note that now she has to come to Mumbai for finalization with Doordarshan producer and a training in a reputed school, therefore she should bring with her Rs. 47,000.
I warned her, as I found on investigation that it was a scam.
- Some agencies / individuals involved are paid to get “leads” (i.e. Finding out people). Leads are people of a certain demographic especially girls and others, such as child, teen, man, etc. That has an interest, such as acting or modeling, that they can later exploit by way of email spam, telemarketing, etc. After you answer a “fake” casting, you will begin getting offers through email and sales pitches from telemarketers, all aimed at getting you hooked.
- There is an acting school in “X” (name hidden) town. This school has a setting with Mumbai Casting directors (model and actor coordinators calling themselves now casting directors). The deal is that the casting director will arrange his students guaranteed roles when he sends them to Mumbai. In turn, the casting director will charge Rs. “X” from such students as his registration fee. Usually this casting director arranges roles of an extra like a waiter, watchman, lift man, a nurse standing with a tray behind doctor or a member of a wedding procession etc. Unfortunately, the students initially are happy that the school has kept its promise of a giving a break, but later are crestfallen when the same casting director doesn’t help and they are on the road.
Here’s How to Spot the Real Castings from the Fakes.
Remember, real casting directors will always want your portfolio, resume, show reel, and for modeling things such as height, weight, size, etc., through filling a proper online form. Their registration charges, if any, are never hidden. Usually it is mentioned on their website. Their website will be authentic and not dubious. The site will mention database of models and actors and films, serials or ads where they're registered models and actors got assignments. Anything else should ring warning bells!
How to find out whether a website is genuine or fake?
Visit http://www.whoishostingthis.com/ and write URL of a particular website. You will find out- a Hosting provider, WHOIS, IP address and servers, which can further provide you more info
- Beware of anyone looking for “new faces”. Everyone has a new face! You can walk out your door and find dozens in a minute! The word “new faces” is a red flag for a scam.
- Beware of general needs such as “any gender, ages 15 to 75″ that’s almost EVERYONE! Real castings have specific needs (with the exception of extras).
- Beware of “no experience necessary” in acting, dance and modeling, experience and training. Really, who is hiring actors who can’t act or fashion models that can’t walk? The only exception may be neighborhood fashion shows and student films.
- Beware of ads with large pay. Ads that read like “models and actors needed for ‘a highly reputed production house’ Rs 10,00 daily and assignment is 4 to 5 days
- Girls! Beware of anything that asks for lingerie, topless, etc, and request pics from you to be considered. Use your imagination on what someone will do with those. Real casting directors will want headshots, full body shot (clothed) and measurements and ask you to try on their clothing at the audition, once one is scheduled.
- Beware of webcam auditions, Skype auditions and the like from people you do not know. There have been many scams where ladies did those and were talked out of their clothing by people saying “I need to see what you really look like” and other lines. Those videos then get sold in other countries and end up all over the internet for other’s enjoyment.
- Beware of Extras casting calls. Generally, large productions go through a casting company. Anyone posting things like “Extras needed to make scenes look ‘real’, ’Insert big movie name here’ pays Rs.2000 daily” is a scam. Large productions in small cities will post notices, but in large cities, they already have all the extras needed, unless there is some specific needs the extras agency can’t fill.
- Beware of anything that says call some number, casting agents are waiting. Casting directors look at headshots and resumes than call back who they like. They do not sit by a phone waiting for everyone and their mom to call without even knowing if they fit. Basically, they call you if they like you.
How to Protect Yourself as An Aspiring Model/Actor:
Get a new email account, with an anonymous username like “ooloo 545839m”, one for casting calls that you respond to. If you later that your reply is to a legitimate audition call, import that reply of yours to your main email account. Now you are safe, if your this anonymous email account is used by spammers or misused by others. You can always cancel is an email account without losing anything important.
Before Joining an Acting School, Wether Reputed or Not
- Don’t get carried away by publicity or name. In many instances, especially in the other towns than Mumbai, people take a famous name (Banner) as a franchisee and run school. In return, they pay for that well known school/ institute a monthly or annual franchise fee. Aspiring models and actors get carried away with the “name” and pay a hefty fee. Such schools have poor faculty and bad training.
- Visit an acting school; find out who are the members of their faculty, their background, a record of teaching and how much time they give to students. Do they focus on individual students? Go to such school on a day when the classes are getting over and talk to students and seek their views. Find out the names of the students from the school who and how many got a break and where? DON’T pay anything before you have researched fully and found out everything!
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Acting coach, Actor, Short Film Maker, Film Story Writer, Blogger