So, you’ve finally done it. You’ve now secured yourself an agent! You are so excited. You’ve been wanting to get into acting for the longest time. Why, it’s been your lifelong dream and passion. You can’t wait to get started!
You go in for a meeting with your new agent. He or she tells you how excited they are to be representing you. They tell you about all the other actors they are representing. They tell you that all the other actors they are representing are doing exceptionally well. They are working all over town, doing commercials and movie features. They tell you that you will probably have similar success.
Next, they further inflate your head with dollar signs. You’re going to make $10,000 for doing some commercials. You’re probably going to make hundreds of thousands for doing some of the movie roles they are going to help you to get. And you could make hundreds of dollars per hour on modeling jobs and stock photo shoots.
But, wait…there’s a catch! In order to take advantage of the all the wonderful acting opportunities your new agent has for you, you’re going to have to take classes. But not just any acting classes. You’re going to have to take classes with them. And ONLY with them.
Will they allow you to improve your acting skills with your own private acting coach. NO! Will they accept you taking classes in a reputable acting school in town. NO! Only their acting classes will do. That is, of course, because their acting classes are the best in town. And they need to monitor your acting progress personally. And, they claim, their classes are cheap, only $1000 or $2000 total. They include the photos needed for your portfolio and all your other ‘marketing materials’ into the price.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is a scam! But, with all the excitement you’re feeling at the moment, you don’t care. You’re just ready to begin your career. The few thousand they’re asking for is only a small cost to your budding career.
Wait. Don’t be confused. Every actor should take acting classes. It is essential to polish your acting talents. Even if you’ve taken classes in the past you should continue refining your skills and improving and expanding your acting abilities.
However, if you are asked to take classes as a prerequisite for representation, run for the border because 99% of the time this is a scam. This is how you can tell:
o The agent forces you to take classes with their agency and will not allow you to take classes anywhere else. No agent should have a problem with you taking classes with other schools. That is, of course, unless they are scamming you!
o The agent requires that you take classes with their agency as a prerequisite for representation. The agent has skillfully placed their acting classes between you and your possible career. By placing their classes between you and your possible acting career, they know that most actors will say ‘yes’ and spend the money in order to get started acting.
o Lastly, these types of agencies are scammers because their agency gets the majority of its money from their classes. That means they don’t care who they represent. They will represent anyone! It also means they don’t care if you work as an actor. They are not going to fight hard to get you an acting role or audition because they already got paid. They got paid when you signed on as an actor in their agency and paid for their required classes. Sure, they might get you an audition at some point. But, since they already got paid, they will probably not be very urgent in finding you auditions and acting opportunities.