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Watch Out!

Understanding Talent Industry Scams

LET'S GET ONE THING STRAIGHT in all things... if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!


But in the talent industry (acting, modeling, VO, etc.) this is even MORE true. That's because the LURE of making it big and becoming a star is so powerful that we can be easily swayed by dishonest people who give us the good news that we want to hear:  that we are special, that we are destined for greatness, that we deserve to be famous, that we can be rich.


WE want you to achieve those things too, but we also want to make sure you understand the TRUTH about how NOT to go about it! 



​Also referred to as modeling, talent management or talent booking agencies, FAKE talent agencies are at the top of the list of notorious scams. Here is what you need to know:


  • work solely on commision (10% to 20%, depending on where you live) and are only paid when they get you real paying work.

  • may recommend photographers or skill training opportunities to help you improve your marketability but they should not ever REQUIRE you to use any particular person or company in order to represent you. If they require it, you should assume they are getting a kick-back.

  • hold auditions in their offices OR send you to auditions at a client or casting director's office but they should not ever require you to pay any kind of fee to audition for any job. EVER!

  • have initial talent screening processes that are very specific and detailed. They don't have the time or resources to sign people that they don't think will result in commissions. 

  • have contracts that may be either exclusive (you can only sign with them) or non-exclusive (you can sign with multiple agencies) and they want you to understand the details. They will not pressure you to sign a contract before you have had time to review it with your legal advisor.

  • do not PAY for talent search ads on TV, radio, newspapers or billboards. They don't need to. Actors and models find them, they don't need to pay to advertise... not even Jesus!


  • ask for UP-FRONT fees to be interviewed or represented. If you are asked to pay a price to sign a contract or to be represented, walk away. Agents get paid for getting you work. Period.

  • make a TON of money by selling portfolio photography, expensive training classes, talent conventions, showcases, etc. If your prospective agent seems really excited to get you signed up for any of the above, THAT is where they make their money. They are not a real agency!

  • pressure people to act quickly before the opportunity passes. If an agent thinks you are a good fit for his/her company and wants to represent you, they won't change their mind in a week. There isn't a limited number of contracts available. Take your time and NEVER sign a contract without careful consideration. 

  • like to name drop famous people that they know or "let you in" on big deals they have going on to get you excited about your own prospects. That's a sure confidence game. Head for the door!


  • An impressive name or fancy office does NOT mean a talent agency is real. Do your research!

  • VERY FEW people can make a complete living, especially in smaller markets, as an actor or model. If someone suggests that they are going to make you a star, they are probably working on depleting your bank account.

  • NO ONE can guarantee you or anyone else for that matter, will get work. Don't buy into it!


Please NOTE: Artistic Enterprises is a talent casting company. We are NOT a modeling or talent agency. We do not represent actors or models. We do not take talent commissions. We are paid by producers to cast.

We DO keep an active file of available FREELANCE talent in the area. Please contact us for more info!


​While MOST of the scams we hear about are perpetrated by companies claiming to be talent agencies, there are many more creative ways that con artists have invented to separate you from your hard earned money. Here are some notes to help you avoid them!

  • Con artists are REALLY good at what they do! The word "con" comes from "confidence", meaning that they get you to put your trust in them and then rob you when you are most vulnerable. This makes it really tough to spot the good guys from the bad guys. Before you get involved in a business relationship with anyone you should do the following:

  1. Check their online presence. A legit company today has to live on the web, at least to some degree, to stay in business. Review their digital footprint: website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Make sure that they have active accounts and that they are sharing content that shows them doing the work they claim to do, not just trying to recruit more talent. 

  2. Google 'em! Go to your search engine and put in the name of the company and/or the name of the individual and the words "scam", "rip-off", "complaint", etc. If you get any hits, read the reports. You can chalk up one or two complaints as someone with sour grapes, but if there is a pattern, you should pay attention.

  3. Call someone you know who is in the industry. Especially in smaller markets, people in our industry tend to know of each other, even if we don't work together directly. If the company is real, your friend will probably be familiar with what they do. 

  4. Call us! 317-722-1717. Or use the form below to send a question. Let us know what you are considering and we can usually tell you in half a second if it's for legit or not. 

  • Don't go (or take your kids) to talent searches you hear about on the radio or TV, especially that are happening in hotels, convention venues or shopping malls. Disney is NOT in your town looking for a needle in a haystack. Trust us! It's a scam!

  • Don't ever agree to process money for anyone. Nigerian-style scams work in this industry as well. If someone sends you a cashier's check to cash and then want you to use a portion of the payment to another party, they are more than likely getting ready to 1) get you to defraud your bank and 2) steal your identity. 

  • Be careful of someone who makes a big deal about being in good standing with the Better Business Bureau. The BBB can only show negative reports on the entity to which you paid money. So if you believe you are making a deal with "Elite Models International" but you write your check to "Joe Smith, Inc.", you can't file a complaint against the former, and no one knows to search for the latter when they are checking Joe's company out with the BBB. 

  • Not every scam is criminal. Be sure to read the fine print! Making you believe something will happen and putting it in writing are two different things. If you get caught up in the moment and let them gloss over the details, good luck getting that "satisfaction guaranteed" refund! And, unless you have it writing, you have no recourse. 

  • Getting it in writing only helps if you can find them! A legitimate person in the industry should have a brick and mortar place to do business. Some producers may work from their homes, but they should be known to others in the industry and you should be able to verify they are actually who they say they are. If you can't, it's just not worth the risk.

  • Trust your instincts! If someone is asking you to meet them at night or in a secluded place, don't go alone. Don't let your teen or preteen kid go to an appointment with anyone without adult supervision. We've even heard of predators who make initial contact with kids through school career days. Just don't take a chance!

  • EVERY MODELING SCHOOL IS A SCAM. No one needs a modeling school. Really. We promise.

  • Beauty pageant participation does NOT provide a direct path to an acting or modeling career. If you love the dresses and the tiarras, knock yourself out. But don't do it as a means to get your kid discovered. Fake agents LOVE to judge pageants. Talk about easy pickin's! 

  • We can't say that all ONLINE talent listing sites are scams, we can say that if they cost you money up front, it's probably a waste of money! Casting directors, with only occasional exceptions, hire talent from where they are, not from hundreds or thousands of miles away. Find a reputable casting director or talent agent in your closest commercial market. We aren't looking for talent in Boston and Boston isn't looking for talent from Indianapolis.

  • We hate to say it but the truth is that there are probably more people PRETENDING to be in our industry than are truly in our industry. Be extremely cautious. Just don't sign anything or pay for anything without doing your due diligence.

Still have questions? Ask them here:

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