We recently reached out to our Twitter community to ask if they had any tips on avoiding scam agencies or wasting unnecessary time, energy and of course hard earned cash on companies that promise the earth but deliver little. We received the most wonderful response from Mark Bell @ and decided to post it up in it’s entirety instead of diluting it’s message with other responses.
Here’s what Mark had to say:
In my personal experience I regret not asking enough questions before I signed with an agency.
Many times people always focus on the 2% that are making it through the agency and they put their profiles as a selling point instead of talking about how they help talent develop and grow too and the success from that.
In talking about development I mean not keeping people imprisoned by hosting “camps” that are supposed to help you and then using this an a money making opportunity to steal from people in the long run. For such an agency the more camps the more money. I have seen this occur so many times – not only with me but several people I know.
The other thing is communication. If they can’t communicate with you and at least help advise you in your career as to which media you are best suited for and which brands or auditions they may have in mind for you then it’s potentially a scam as there is no real direction for you except the small possibility of simply hoping things will just come together.
I joined an agency that ‘had my best interest’ at hand and told me I would be a fit for certain roles. Later I discovered that there was no real production taking place and that their connections they supposedly had were in fact made up. They even made fake Facebook pages and accounts to back up their scam.
So I would advise people to research the company, research their connections, research the people who have made in through the agency and are actually thriving. It is important to speak to some of the people that are listed with the agency and get their feedback. Find out how long they have been signed and what sort of opportunities have come along and through that you will very quickly get the idea if the agency is legit or not.
Another important thing is to research the people that have started the agency, look for their track record and seek other information or even blogs people have written about the agency.
I think gut feeling is really important too. Sometimes you just know these people are going to take you for a spin so that along with all else should help you.
All promises that are given upon signing with an agency must be taken lightly. People promise many things, decide for yourself if you will risk it or not and then go for it.
If an agency demands a lump sum of money upon signing up then you know that agency is milking the system too.
Thank you, hope this helps.
We would love to hear from anyone else who may have an interesting story to tell about agencies – the good, the bad and the ugly!!! Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .