Acting Scams: How Fake Talent Agents Try to Take Advantage of You
One of the most common acting scams takes place when a con artist poses as an agent or manager and then asks for a fee to represent you as a client. He or she will be likely to tell you that it is possible to get you on a famous television show if you pay them this representation fee, or will promise that they can get you work with big stars or highly respected directors. A real agent will never demand a fee other than a percentage of the work that you book, usually ten to fifteen percent of your take. If somebody asks you to pay them money before you have booked a job with them, you are probably dealing with one of the many acting scams that so many newcomers to the entertainment business fall prey to.
Another one of the most prevalent acting scams involves requiring that you pay a fee to have a screen test, or to audition for a casting director. Auditioning should never cost you money, so if somebody asks you to pay them for the right to audition for a project, they are trying to swindle you. Occasionally, acting training programs will require an application fee before they will see your audition, but outside of the world of education no industry professional would require you to pay them money so that they will see your audition or cast you.
The best protection against these acting scams and others like them is knowledge. Learn as much as you can about how the business of casting works. That way, you will be able to tell if there is something about the way an agent, manager, director, or treats you that is anything other than standard practice. Know about the common swindles that are out there. The more you know about the different kinds of acting scams people practice, the sooner you will be able to get out of a situation when you recognize the signs that it may be a scam.
Acting scams tend to take more and more money from their victims as time goes on, so if you think you may have fallen prey to a confidence trickster posing as an agent or other industry professional, your ties to this person as soon as you can. The faster you can get away, the less money you are going to end up losing. However, walking away from acting scams is often very difficult to do. Many people are not ready to accept the fact that they made a mistake by putting their faith in somebody who was not trustworthy. Discovering that somebody who you trusted has been lying to you is anything but fun, and it can be very difficult to process this kind of information and act on it.
In many ways, victims of acting scams find it easier to cope with the loss of money than with the emotional aftermath. Acting is a business that asks people to be very vulnerable and trusting-every day, great actors and actresses bare their souls, and that vulnerability is what makes them so great. When a swindler takes advantage of a performer’s trust, it can be very difficult for that performer to continue to have the faith in himself or herself that this challenging field requires. The toll that acting scams take cannot be measured in dollars, it must be measured in the broken dreams of the hopeful victims of these swindles.