First off, “Oh no he didn't just call me ma’am.” Second, why was this kid approaching me all secretive and lurker-like? And third, the kid wasn’t wearing an employee name tag.
After some complimentary observations (Your son’s really well behaved! He’s got a great look!), it wasn't very long till the sell came: an offer to sign my son up with his “talent agency”.
Um, they still do this scam? I thought it died in the 90s?
Just listening to him speak, I could feel my money getting pulled out of my pockets. Thank God I knew better, but what if I didn't know what was going on? If I was actually trying to get my kid started in the biz? It'd be very easy to fall prey to this kind of scam.
Oh, I'm sure some of you are asking, "But isn't it possible to be “discovered” off the street?" Yes. Is it likely? Nope. I’ve been in the business for a long while now, and there is no way around it: the only way to get “discovered” or to “become a star” is with lots of hard work, time and determination. It is few and far between when someone becomes an overnight sensation. So if you ever get approached like this, say “no thanks” and walk away. Before they can even finish speaking, WALK AWAY.
However, if you're unable to side step 'em (there are a lot of convincing people out there trying get your money), and somehow end up in their office, then remember one thing:
NEVER, EVER, EVER, NEVER pay anyone anything.
A legitimate agency won’t ask for money EVER (they don’t take their cut until you get paid). And if this person/place suddenly stops calling themselves an “agency”, but some sort of talent “group”, then leave. If they tell you they are offering classes and headshots and resumé assistance or whatever and ask you to pay a deposit for said classes/headshots, LEAVE. If they want you to sign something, LEAVE.
So listen to me. You’ll keep yourself from a lot of heartache and headache avoiding these crooks, and even better than that, you'll still have your money! There are legitimate ways to get your future EGOT (Emmy/Grammy/Oscar/Tony) winner to super stardom - but this way is not one of them! Now, go protect yourself, and learn more about it on the FTC’s site. They have a whole page dedicated to this!
And remember me when your kid is a big star and making millions. I do accept thank you gifts…