Is ProScout a Scam?
Last weekend, I was emailed a question about ProScout, Inc:
My kids were invited to a convention in Orange County, California from this organization called Pro Scout. At this convention there are supposed to be several agents looking for people that stand out. They don't guarantee anything but theres a $800 price tag to participate. Does this seem legit?
-Judy from Phoenix, Arizona
What Is ProScout
It's what's known as a pay-to-play organization. They act as the middleman between performers (actors and models) and representation (agents and managers).
Representatives will visit cities like Phoenix and interview thousands of kids and teens, and invite them (all of them) to attend an upcoming convention where they can meet industry professionals from Ford, Wilhelmina, Abrams, and others. The fee is $795 per person.
But here's where things get weird. The agents and managers who attend these conventions are paid $200; put up in nice hotels, compensated airfare, even wined and dined. And sometimes, these agents will send assistants or interns in their place. So you might not actually get to meet any real industry professionals.
So, is it a Scam?
Technically, no. I wouldn't say they're running a scam, because they do connect a very small portion of their invitees with representation and thus, real modeling and acting work. Mainly on the West Coast in print, commercial, and television.
But would I ever endorse them on my website? Absolutely not. They're playing a numbers game with peoples' children.
Besides, it's an extremely poor investment in your acting career. You're spending time, travel, energy, and $800 for what?
To interview with assistants and interns. Just like the other thousand hopeful kids and teens, stuffed in the gigantic convention hall of a DoubleTree Hotel.
A Better Way
In the end, I advised Judy to save her money. To put it towards some quality professional headshots and acting school for her kids.
Looking for an agent? Read my article about auditions for kids, and why I think it's essential for them to have representation.
Listen, this is a tough biz. Especially for kids. As a parent, you should keep them energized and ambitious, but grounded and realistic. And keep them away from companies like ProScout.