For weeks the airwaves in Seattle have been full of commercials encouraging parents to bring their kids out for free auditions. The commercials make it sound like your child is getting the opportunity to try out in front of industry leaders, but as usual- there’s a catch.
According to KOMO News 4 the event is produced by a company called “The” who also do business under the names “The Event” and “New York Studio Inc.” By their own admission they are “not a talent agency or casting company.”
Here’s how it works, you show up with your child and “audtition” for this company’s representatives- who tell you that “The kids got potential!” and “You’re gonna be a stah, kid!” They then offer you a take it or leave it “Chance of a lifetime” to go to ANOTHER event in Orlando, Florida and audition for actual casting directors and modeling agents.
Parents across the country complain of the sales pitch to participate in a competition and audition event – at a cost of $2,000 or more per child, plus air fare and lodging at in Orlando, and roughly $900 for the parent chaperone.
Copies of contracts obtained by the KOMO Problem Solvers give three days to cancel, but the company keeps a $1,000-per-child registration fee.
The Internet is loaded with complaints alleging deceptive marketing, high pressure and refund and billing disputes.
Parents say they feel added pressure of having to make a decision on the spot in front of their kids – who want the opportunity so badly. They don’t want to disappoint their kids.
According to this company’s representative, “The’ hosts family-friendly competitions for the performing arts that combine professional opportunity with vacation fun and excitement at world class resorts.” Here’s a little Smart Stage Mom tip for you, moms: IF YOU WANT A VACATION GO ON VACATION. If you want your child to have a genuine shot at following their professional acting or modeling dreams, educate yourself about how to enter this industry as a professional.
“The bottom line is that what sounds too good to be true usually is,” says Casting Director Aaron Jacobs. “There should never be an upfront cost to audition- it should always be free.”