Then you are left to feel all icky. Geez, right after you had felt so good from all their praise. You want so much to win them over again. To be the supportive mom. The rare talent they had found. And then you may actually fork over the money. Maybe you don't. But for months after you wonder if you let a good opportunity fly by.
Well, let me tell you that YOU DIDN'T. Which you knew deep down in your gut in the first place. You aren't stupid. You know that no successful person gets to be where they are from one of these places or people.
So, why do we keep falling for it. Or, almost falling for it? Or even listening to anything these scam artists have to say? Well, I guess we all want it to be true. We love hearing it. As a life coach I can tell you that even the most confident among us is still lacking in self esteem. We, as a society, have a serious self esteem deficit. I'm not saying everyone but I am saying a large number of people.
These people know this and play to it. They know how much you want a break for your child or yourself. They know how long it may have been since someone really took notice of your talents. It's a real rush. Almost worth the money they are asking for. ALMOST? No...I take it back. Because it's a lie. You are special and maybe your child is talented and deserves a chance to shine but they aren't concerned about that. They need to get you to sign up for classes that cost thousands of dollars and photos that cost thousands more and maybe a special trip to Florida to meet with some big shots... And before you know it you are 20?50? grand plus in the hole and nothing to show for it.
I saw so much of this when I was a teenager in NY. But, I really thought it was regional. I had no idea that the same scam gets used everywhere. And most of us have been told what to look out for and to run far and fast from these "offers." Yet, people still run to them. Smart, educated people who know better. So here I am going to tell you in common sense terms one of the areas where I have seen people get taken advantage of over and over... AGENTS!
What does an agent do?
An agent works for a percentage of what you make from industry jobs that he/she recommended you for (or sent you to the audition/go see etc.
The fee/percentage is usually 10%. It can be 15. But it is an agreed upon amount. No tricks or surprises.
An agent can have 1 client or 1000's. Most aspiring actors don't make more than a couple hundred dollars a day at the most.
So lets say an agent has 50 people working within a week at a job where they all get $100.00 .....(And I should say that is very very unusual to pull that off)
How much does that agent make for the week- $500.00 Okay not a terrible week but not fantastic and it could've taken weeks to get all of that set up. But this is what keeps agents on their toes. Focused and hungry. They bust their ass off for their clients because they need that 10 percent over and over again from as many people as possible. Because if you don't work,they don't eat.
Good agents do NOT take just anyone who shows up at their door. They take people who they think they can get a lot of work for and hopefully well paying jobs because when you do the math (Math, HA they said we'd use it someday) 10 percent isn't that much until you or talking about a decent amount of money made by a decent amount of people. Getting a good agent can be as hard as getting a great part. Really. But, it's a different blog.
But what if an this agent is getting a big cut of photo shoots costing 3 thousand dollars?
4000.00 on classes ?
5000.00 on a nice trip but not one that is needed. Yes they will have to spend some of that money but times that by everyone that they are "representing" and you have a very rich agent. Do you still think they are going to work that hard to find you work? Why would they for a measly 10 percent of a measly starter pay. There is no incentive. There is no reason to stay focused and hungry.
Sure every now and then they book someone a commercial or something and that keeps them looking legit but is this what you want?
I am not saying you don't need to be educated. YOU DO!
I am not saying you don't need photos. YOU DO! PROFESSIONAL PHOTOS, not something your friend took with their phone!
I am not saying you won't need mentoring or trips to trade shows because all of this is important but when it comes to an agent there job is very simple. Not easy but simple. They don't make a dime unless they get you work. Then they are paid the agreed upon percentage of what you make.
Some of you may be thinking ...."What does she know....She's a life coach, she's an acting/vocal instructor she does child enrichment...She does workshops" I know I have thrown on a lot of hats. I am a self-confessed show biz junkie. I've worked in casting and ...wow so many other aspects. But, I haven't ever taken a dime for referring a student or friend for a job. I can't. I am NOT an agent and in every state that I have lived....(I am up to 4) you need a license to do that.
Also, being an agent, a real agent is much much too hard for me. You really have to know how to kick some butt on the phone. I'm way to sensitive for any of that. And I give a great deal of credit for those who are doing the job legitimately because they make the whole industry go around.
So, if you are trying to break in "The Biz" or if you have a child that would like to- GREAT! Talk to people who have done it successfully. Read. Educate yourself and ask questions. AND as in most cases...If it sounds too good to be true...sadly, it probably is.