How To Become A Model: Avoiding Scams
One of the very first steps to becoming a model or actor is finding an agency to represent you. One thing you should definitely be aware of is that not every agency, or manager, has your best interest in mind. There are agencies and managers out there that prey on the hopes and dreams of young people and scam them out of ridiculous amounts of money. This is why you need to be very careful and always verify that an agency or manager is legitimate before you sign with them. Do your homework before making that appointment or signing anything. Below is a list of things to research first and a few things to look out for when deciding if an agency is legitimate or not.
Things you need to do:
Check to see if they are licensed by the state they are operating in.
Many states require agents, managers, scouts, representatives, etc. to be licensed and bonded by the state they are operating in. This is very important! If they aren’t licensed, then they are operating illegally. Florida requires all agencies, managers, scouts and anyone representing someone for a fee to be licensed.
Make sure they don’t have any complaints with the BBB.
Call you local Better Business Bureau office and ask if there is any information about them or check them out online at www.bbb.org
Search their business name with the word “scam” and see what comes up.
This is always a quick and simple way to see what other people are saying about that agency.
Check out their website.
A simple search and scan of their website can tell you a lot about that agency or manager. If they only have a Facebook page, they are probably not too legit.
Verify their talent.
Sometimes scam agencies will claim to represent successful models that they actually don’t. Always ask the models name and search them to verify who represents them. This can be tricky, however, because many models and talent have several agents.
Things to beware of:
They ask you to pay money up front to be seen.
No legitimate agency will ask you to pay an upfront fee to be seen by them. Once signed, there may be fees for comp cards, websites, photography etc. But there should never be fees to be seen or audition.
They pressure you to make immediate decisions.
If they’re telling you that their offer is only good for a certain amount of time, they aren’t legitimate.
They want you to pay for a class, workshop or seminar.
It’s okay if they recommend classes in the area, but they shouldn’t require you to attend theirs or try to sell you something as part of the agency package.
They advertise on the radio or in the classified section of the newspaper.
If they are advertising for a specific event, that’s fine. But, a reputable agency doesn’t need to advertise for talent because talent will find them.
They want you to use their in house photographer.
If the agency only wants you to use their photographer, then beware. A legitimate agency might recommend a photographer or two for you to use, but they shouldn’t require you to use theirs.
They don’t have an office space.
Often, one of the stipulations of becoming licensed is that you must have an actual operating office and it cannot be in a place of residence. If they can’t afford to rent their own office space, then that should be a red flag.
They promise you work and fame.
Work isn’t guaranteed just because you sign with an agency. Any promises or guarantees are false talk. It is not possible to guarantee anything in this business.