LEGAL MATTERS: Modeling Scams
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
But, as your children get older, you may be confronted by a more dubious group of charlatans, who appear less pathetic than the child pageant promoters, but who use outright fraud get you to part with your money. Those swindlers are found in the swelling ranks of talent agents, scouts, schools and photographers involved in the teen modeling industry. Their calling card is often an invitation for your child to take part in a modeling convention sponsored by an organization like the IMTA.
Buyer (and models) beware
Years ago the New York Post exposed the International Modeling and Talent Association’s ‘conventions’ as well produced events designed to separate aspiring performers and models from their money – thousands and thousands of dollars in many cases. According to media reports, local talent and modeling agencies dupe parents into forking over money for classes to get ready for IMTA conventions with the promise that their children will be scouted by big-time agents.
They point parents to the fancy IMTA web site and brag about a handful of stars who attended an IMTA event. (Note well those stars probably have not endorsed the IMTA and they have anything to do with it now.) The reality is all your child is likely to get out of a convention is a very expensive vacation and the chance to pretend to be an actor or model in front of a bunch of adults who are pretending to be industry titans.
A variation on the convention gimmicks are ‘open call’ auditions scammers have been advertising on the radio in New England lately. The ads grab your attention by mentioning Disney stars (even though Disney has nothing to do with the events) and urge you to call to reserve a time for your child to meet with a talent agent. Guess what? The agent is going to love your child and promise you his or her ‘look’ is just what Hollywood is looking for. Some bottom feeders in the industry may even approach you or your child in a mall with the same hollow promise. Trust me though, the only potential the agents see is the potential to squeeze money out of you for professional photos, coaching and talent classes.
My advice is:
Run away from any agency that takes part in an IMTA event.
Be leery of similar events by the Modeling Association of America International (MAAI), IPOP competitions, Millie Lewis Actors, Models & Talent Competitions (AMTC), and International Talent Showcases (ITS).
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