Oh how this industry attracts scam artists and dodgy characters. Sigh....
Sad but true, there are a number of them:
Dodgy agents (too often)
Agents who overcharge
Creepy photographers (shudder)
Photographers who overcharge
Acting teachers with no qualifications or industry experience
Acting teachers who overcharge
'We can make your child a star' scams (Puhlease!!!!!)
Please note the recurring theme of overcharging here because that is a big one.
Whether it be joining fees, online memberships, tuition fees, commission, upfront charges for this and ongoing charges for that...make sure you check all the details thoroughly.
Even the most careful of us can sometimes be scammed. I had dealings with a dodgy agent who skipped the country, thankfully I didn't get ripped off but many I know did.
When searching for agents, photographers, tuition and other industry professionals, do your homework. Google them, ask other industry people their opinion and if it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't!!! My favourite quote that I tell my kids to apply to pretty much every situation is:
"When in doubt, pull out."
Trust your gut instinct and go into every meeting with your eyes wide open.
There are hundreds of talented kids, pretty girls, cute boys, amazing singers, dancers and actors in the world. For some reason, everyone wants to be famous these days, so these scam artists have a huge pool of gullible, desperate wannabes to draw on.
Don't let their promises of unrealistic stardom and success draw you in.
For most kids, performing will be a creative outlet for fun which will help them gain confidence, body awareness and build communication skills. These are fabulous reasons to perform. Don't expect them all to become famous or uber successful at it. When you start applying pressure, it's not fun anymore. Those that love performing for the joy of it are the winners.
I've been drawing on all the experiences my friends and I have encountered in the world of performance and put together a comedy web series called Stage Mums. The characters, Shaz and Trace are besties with 'super talented triple threat' daughters. They will go to any lengths to give their daughters opportunities to showcase their amazing talents!
As amusing as it is, ironically, all of the storylines are based on facts.
Don't be like Shaz and Trace in Stage Mums.
WARNING - mild course language
In episode 5, Trace discovers a fabulous listing on a casting site. The Mums decide to enter their talented triple threat daughters.
In episode 6, Shaz and Trace realise they paid money to a dodgy company that promised to put their daughters in front of American casting agents.
In episode 7, Shaz and Trace are interviewed on National Television about the scam they invested in.
You can watch all episodes of Stage Mums by following the link STAGE MUMS
This industry is awesome and performing is addictive, just don't be a victim. Learn from your mistakes, research thoroughly, trust your gut and have fun!
As always, I'd love your feedback so please leave a comment, tell me about any scams you might have unwittingly been involved in, subscribe, like and share with your friends.