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The Law Regarding Upfront Fees and Modeling Agencies

by Megan Martin


 


Research has shown that the vast majority of modeling scams involve the payment of upfront fees to agencies even though just about every rule, regulation and law prohibits such fees.

In California, a former child actress, Sheila Kuehl, drafted one of the most recently enacted entertainment industry laws. Kuehl introduced the Advance-Fee Talent Services law at the request of Los Angeles City Attorney James Hahn, because his office had prosecuted modeling/talent scams cases in which hundreds of parents paid millions of dollars in advance fees to frauds that promised that their children would become stars.

So it would seem the simplest test, and the first question to ask in determining whether or not a modeling company is legitimate is, “are there any upfront fees?” If the agency answers yes or tries to justify the fees, run the other way, and RUN FAST! Even the Federal Trade Commission, which prosecutes bogus modeling and talent agencies warns, "be suspicious if a company requires an upfront fee to serve as your agent."

So how do these scams succeed? In many cases these unscrupulous people travel across the country, stay in fancy hotel rooms, advertise and get a bunch of people excited and take their money up front.

Don’t fall prey to the promises of stardom and fame. Besides this being illegal, every major and credible modeling agency will tell you to run the other way when advance fees are mentioned. This includes fees for screen tests, photographs, acting or modeling lessons or other services. If you are signed as a client by a licensed talent agency, you will pay the agency nothing until you work and then a percentage of your earnings as a performer but nothing in advance.

Visit the Screen Actors Guild website. They offer the same advice in their FAQ section: “Legitimate talent agencies do not charge a fee payable in advance for registering you, for resumes, for public relations services, for screen tests, for photographs, for acting lessons, or for many other services used to separate you from your money. If you are signed as a client by a legitimate talent agency, you will pay that agency nothing until you work and then 10 percent of your earnings as a performer -- but nothing in advance. Legitimate talent agencies normally do not advertise for clients in newspaper-classified columns nor do they solicit through the mail. If a purported talent agent seeks to send you to a particular photographer for pictures, hold your wallet tight and run for the nearest exit. Chances are s/he's a phony and receives a cut of the photographer's fee. If you need photographs, choose your own photographer. Better still, try another agent.”

If dreams of fame have not been awakened by the message of this story, consider this when talking to agency. Ask yourself if the agency is basing their business on making money from the models by charging for training, portfolio shots, the comp cards, portfolio binders, and anything else they can come up with or are they making money by securing work for their models.

The Federal Trade Commission has tips on their website to avoid being scammed. The New York State Consumer Protection Board wants parents to read this advice.



Comments

7 Comments
Comment Pages: 1 2

Tue, Nov 18, 2008 11:36pm

Tgere is a company that states that they will help my baby find the right agency,help prepare us for auditions.and help with interviews. This is not a agency. This company has been around for 30+ years. There is a $165+ for this service. Is this good or is thia a scam.
 

leighasmommy
Tue, May 13, 2008 7:04pm

good to know.
 

Wed, Aug 01, 2007 7:19am

i agree with every1 even tyra banks said that on her talk show do not pay anybody any money to become a model if they want u they will pay u so i am still looking for a modeling agency for my grandaughter here in philadelphia if anyone comes across anything about philadelphia modeling agencies for babies please let me know because i have been searching and searching and i can't find anything thank u
 

Mon, Dec 11, 2006 7:31am

baby talent net work wanted my son also but i'm not paying any fees to any one. Also the one joimsys is talking about i didn't like that company because they didn't even interview my son. they don't really know how he would act so how do they know if hes right for their company. i say if you want my son then you pay for him because i'm not paying anything. If you read over these post people posted it states so many times how they never paid anything to these agents and they want their babies.
 

Sun, Dec 10, 2006 10:38am

No no no - One time fees or monthly fees - That is not a legit agency - Please dont fall for it - Dont make the mistake I did in my own modeling endevour - They just want your money - Give it time you will find a legit agency they are out there - look through alot of the posts in the Forums here for modeling - there is alot of Great advice there from Mom's of babies who Model
 


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