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Thread: Are all modeling schools in Hawaii a scam?

  1. #1
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    Default Are all modeling schools in Hawaii a scam?

    I made the mistake of doing what so many parents want of their kids. To get their foot in the door of the entertainment world. My youngest is a five year old hapa haole boy that is full of life & energy. He's just so much fun to be around. With Susan Page's Modeling School coming to Big Island for an open casting call of sorts to discover new talent on outer islands. So the entire family was "stoked" for our little one. As we would all go to support his efforts.
    My boy loves the Disney Channel,and is always entertaining the thought of being a child actor/model. But I prepared my boy to be letdown if things didn't pan out as we expected. Once a childhood actor myself, I knew all to well about the pit falls,traps, and just overall feeling of rejection one gets in this industry.

    I'll admit, I held a long shot chance/hope that my youngest would get picked. But what happened yesterday was a total surprise,..but I should have seen it coming. After all my wife called it right on the money.

    Let me set the scene for you. The place were interview was taking place was the Naniloa Hotel in Hilo Bay, yesterday morning. I imagine this was once a very proud hotel, but today it looked pretty much looked like a rundown "ghost town". After asking front desk were the Susan Page Audition was being held. We found the room with little trouble. Keep in mind folks, if you've never been to Naniloa Hotel. It's huge on the Honolulu scale size of hotels. But with one very big difference between Naniloa Hotel and all the Hotels of Oahu. The Naniloa Hotel is probably running at about 15% occupancy. So, not only does it resemble a "ghost town", it is in fact a "ghost town" ! Even though we were the first family scheduled there. I expected to see a lot more people waiting there. Several years earlier(7) I took my other son for a chance to model. But it was like a "cattle call" in every sense of the word. Literally hundreds of families waiting to get their siblings a chance at some form of stardom. We waited for hours back then for my other son's chance. 7 years is a long time ago. So I can't remember who the open casting call was with back then.
    To make a long story short. The interview went nicely. The lady said all the things Susan Page's company teaches them to say. She said, "Susan Page's talent agency takes 5% to 10% commission on every job they get you." She then said with a wide grin, "when you get paid, we get paid". I noticed all these cards in front of use. They were like 'Baseball cards' ,only larger with images of the models on both sides. I asked the lady what they were about. I forgot the name she used for them. But said they were used by agency when a client would call asking for a certain look for their commercials. So I said, "were do we get these"? Her response was, "Oh, we use our camera guy, and our print company." So I blew it off and went on to the next question. While I was looking at contract, lady informed us that Susan Page would return to Hilo in Feb. to do a shoot special for new members so these cards could be made. Then the lady turns to me and says how will we be paying for these pics/card today? Price: $345.00 Somebody forgot to inform Susan Page Talent Agency, that the Big Island has very few families that have two nickels to rub together after monthly bills are paid. Unless you work for the federal Gov. , or state. Or perhaps your last name is Penn, then I rather doubt that Susan Page signed up any families yesterday on their scam!
    Believe me, if the economy was better plenty of Big Island families would take a chance to make their son/daughter's dream come true through modeling. But this is nothing but a scam for Susan Page's company to make money off of people barely getting by.

    Here are a couple of red flags that should warn families of Susan Page Talent Agency's intentions:

    1.) These model's cards(sorry forgot proper name for them) are not used any more by retable model agencies. Now days models upload their pics for free to model agency websites.

    2.) Even if you couldn't upload your own pics, $345.00 for a single card with several small pics on both sides is hardly worth $34.00 let alone $345.00. Plus, if you child is young, and growing fast. You would have to update your card yearly, or biyearly. Either way very costly year after year.

    3.) Was I got to thinking about this, it made perfect sense. Why I knew Susan Page Talent Agency was there looking for money , and not talent is simple. Susan Page does not have an office for the Big Island. Say a client calls them seeking a hapa-haole model ,male between the ages of 4 & 5. Which my kid fits to the "t". Job is on Oahu, but client likes my son. But they are not willing to pay airfare. So they tell Susan Page, "let me see some more hapa-haole kids in this age group from Oahu! BAM!!!!! Job goes to Oahu kid because of cost. Only makes sense that clients would hire models from same island to keep cost down,right? So that was one more reason I question the sincerity of "Susan Page Talent Agency". The card they are asking $345.00 for can be made for less than $3!!!

    In closing, anytime a modeling agency has their hand out asking for money,turn and run the other way! Modeling agencies are there for the models. If they believe in your looks/talent, you shouldn't have to pay for anything,..especially some BS sign up crap!!!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Are all modeling schools in Hawaii a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beachboy View Post
    [...]
    Here are a couple of red flags that should warn families of Susan Page Talent Agency's intentions:

    1.) These model's cards(sorry forgot proper name for them) are not used any more by retable model agencies. Now days models upload their pics for free to model agency websites.
    They're called comp cards or zed cards and they are definitely still used. Actors and models are expected to bring one to each audition they attend. It is attached to their headsheet (aka: casting application). Ditto for a resume.
    2.) Even if you couldn't upload your own pics, $345.00 for a single card with several small pics on both sides is hardly worth $34.00 let alone $345.00. Plus, if you child is young, and growing fast. You would have to update your card yearly, or biyearly. Either way very costly year after year.
    $345. is not unreasonable by industry standards. That price normally includes the price of the photographer, possibly a location or permit, possibly a stylist and usually more than one comp card. However, for those who can't afford it, any amount is unreasonable. You're right about the ongoing expense for a child. Most parents don't update photos and it becomes problematic for casting directors. We receive 5 year old photos of kids who are now 12 years old! That said, not every aspiring actor or model who comes thru my office has a comp card. Did you talk to the Susan Page rep about signing a contract for representation without opting in to the photo shoot? You would then need to provide your own photo of your child per the instructions of the agent.
    3.) Was I got to thinking about this, it made perfect sense. Why I knew Susan Page Talent Agency was there looking for money , and not talent is simple. Susan Page does not have an office for the Big Island. Say a client calls them seeking a hapa-haole model ,male between the ages of 4 & 5. Which my kid fits to the "t". Job is on Oahu, but client likes my son. But they are not willing to pay airfare. So they tell Susan Page, "let me see some more hapa-haole kids in this age group from Oahu! BAM!!!!! Job goes to Oahu kid because of cost. Only makes sense that clients would hire models from same island to keep cost down,right?
    All Oahu agents have outer island talent they represent. That's not unusual. If the client starts off with a photo submission only then your son's photo will be submitted along with all other boys who fit the specs...including all those Oahu hapa-haole boys. If the client is shooting on Oahu and doesn't have the budget to fly a child and a parent to Honolulu then it's up to the agent to either not submit outer island models, try to talk the client into paying those expenses, or to tell the parents UP FRONT that expenses won't be covered. The decision is then left up to the parent whether or not the child can audition. Sometimes the rate a model gets paid for a project will be enough to justify the parents paying the expenses. Best not to come to conclusions as each project is different. In addition, there may be auditions on the Big Island you may not hear about except thru an agent.
    So that was one more reason I question the sincerity of "Susan Page Talent Agency". The card they are asking $345.00 for can be made for less than $3!!!
    No it can't. See my comment above.
    In closing, anytime a modeling agency has their hand out asking for money,turn and run the other way! Modeling agencies are there for the models. If they believe in your looks/talent, you shouldn't have to pay for anything,..especially some BS sign up crap!!!
    If a modeling agency asks for a registration fee; a fee to sign a contract...yes, run. Photos are often side businesses of modeling schools and talent agents. Serious models and actors should have them but it's not always financially possible.. Agents upload them to their web sites. Susan Page is associated with Premier Models and Talent. Both are reputable. I have worked with them for years. And you have the option to say yay or nay!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Are all modeling schools in Hawaii a scam?

    If you want your kid in the biz you need to hire professionals that will help them get there. In any profession there are fees one must pay to stay in the business. Heck I sell cars and I need to renew my automobile sales license every two years at $150.
    Life is what you make of it...so please read the instructions carefully.

  4. #4
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    Red face Re: Are all modeling schools in Hawaii a scam?

    I'd really take tutusue's replies to heart. She knows the business better than most anyone I know. I've not heard much critical of Susan Page... apart from periodic expressions of hope and frustration over being part of the portfolio!

    And while I'm loathe to link to it, there is an infamous older thread about another "agency" that has a long and checkered history, in part for pulling much shadier shenanigans.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Are all modeling schools in Hawaii a scam?

    Here's an article about modeling scams, from the viewpoint of a professional photographer.

    Ways To Discover A Modeling Scam

    Be suspicious of any company that forces you to shoot with a certain photographer. Normally, that means someone is getting a kick back!

    A legitimate agency will give you what they call a testing list. This is a list of all good photographers in your area that youíll be able to contact and pick on your own. A good agency shouldnít force you to use their printing company rather suggest one but let you do it on your own should you choose to.

    Also, a brand new model should never print more then 500 cards at one shot. If youíre new, chances are your first card isnít going to be strong. Itís simply just a way to introduce you to clients. Youíre going to want to keep shooting to gain experience and update your cards within a few months. So, 500 cards isnít a good idea. 100-200 cards are enough to get started and they shouldnít cost more then $1.00 per card to produce.

    You shouldnít have to write your check out to the agency, rather to the printing company directly.
    This post may contain an opinion that may conflict with your opinion. Do not take it personal. Polite discussion of difference of opinion is welcome.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Are all modeling schools in Hawaii a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie's Market View Post
    Here's an article about modeling scams, from the viewpoint of a professional photographer.

    Ways To Discover A Modeling Scam
    It's a bit different in Hawaii, FM. Our market is small and agents have to diversify to stay alive. Some offer acting classes. Others offer modeling classes. Yet others offer a photographer. That said, no prospective client should feel pressured to spend money if they don't have it. Nor, should anyone sign with a talent agency contingent upon taking mandatory classes or using a certain photographer.

    In Hawaii 100-200 cards are too many. The agent will request a certain number to keep on file but the client can scan (at a decent resolution!) and print as needed. Most agents (not all) will upload the comp card to their web sites. There's usually a price break when one orders 500 but what's good about a price break when one ends up tossing most of them?!

    It's to the advantage of someone interested in acting or modeling to learn their craft and heed the suggestions of the agent and that means an investment. But, for so many, money is an obstacle. It's best to discuss this with the agent, esp. before signing anything.

    And, yes, the advice offered in the thread linked by PZ above still holds true.

    Again, I want to emphasize that I've worked with Susan Page/Premier for many years. Beachboy, unless the Susan Page rep was in high pressure mode and giving you a deadline I think what you're dealing with is just a different philosophy when it comes to selling. You were obviously very uncomfortable with the reps presentation and it was best that you walked away with no commitment. But your experience doesn't mean the company is a scam. If an "agent" charges money to give you information on an upcoming audition...that's a scam!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Are all modeling schools in Hawaii a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by tutusue View Post
    It's a bit different in Hawaii, FM. Our market is small and agents have to diversify to stay alive. Some offer acting classes. Others offer modeling classes. Yet others offer a photographer.
    Point taken about Hawaii's unique situation. But the operative word that Joe Edelman used was "force." He didn't say that it was wrong for agents to offer photography and other services. He just said that no reputable agency would force their models to use a particular photographer as a condition of registration, which reinforces what you've said earlier.

    With all that said, I can see the potential for people to be bamboozled into forking over more $$$$ than necessary if an agency salesperson takes advantage of people who are uneducated about the modeling business. Just as many car salespersons try to sell "extended warranties" from a particular company without telling their customers that they can go online and shop around for a better/cheaper warranty, I can easily imagine some agency rep. not telling prospective models about the option of getting their comp cards made. Yes, that may not be considered a scam. But still, that tactic is rather shady.

    BTW, that is just my opinion. And I'm not saying that Susan Page's people are doing any of this. But surely, it does happen at other modeling agencies, right?
    This post may contain an opinion that may conflict with your opinion. Do not take it personal. Polite discussion of difference of opinion is welcome.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Are all modeling schools in Hawaii a scam?

    I read Wilhelmina is coming and will pair up with ADR which is a cool thing.

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    Default Re: Are all modeling schools in Hawaii a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie's Market View Post
    [...]
    With all that said, I can see the potential for people to be bamboozled into forking over more $$$$ than necessary if an agency salesperson takes advantage of people who are uneducated about the modeling business.[...]
    BTW, that is just my opinion. And I'm not saying that Susan Page's people are doing any of this. But surely, it does happen at other modeling agencies, right?
    Ooooh yes! There are shady "agencies" that blow into town. It's amazing how fast the word spreads but never fast enough to prevent a few folks from falling into the trap. Once our industry starts asking questions of the new agency, it tends to blow out of town!
    Quote Originally Posted by leashlaws View Post
    I read Wilhelmina is coming and will pair up with ADR which is a cool thing.
    Interesting!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Are all modeling schools in Hawaii a scam?

    I had lunch today with a friend, whose son was a former child model/actor. While she described mixed impressions from her son's first agency, she had nothing but praise for the folks at Susan Page/Premier. FWIW.

    Her boy did quite a bit of work, including commercials for Oceanic Cable and Hawaiian Adventures Waterpark. He eventually gave up show biz when his interests turned to sports in high school. Still, his mom doesn't regret the considerable investment in time and money that was put into his modeling and acting career. Today, he's a well-rounded 18 year old who is very well mannered, mature, and knows how to interact with adults in social settings,.... something that cannot be said for a lot of kids his age. And she credits his modeling experience for that.
    This post may contain an opinion that may conflict with your opinion. Do not take it personal. Polite discussion of difference of opinion is welcome.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Are all modeling schools in Hawaii a scam?

    I'm with Premier Models and Talent.

    I was approached by a man in the elevator if I wanted to be
    a model. I thought he wanted to pick me up. LOL I told him
    "No ack, I ain't no model!" He said "You got the Aunty Look!" I still
    didn't believe him. He gave me his card and lo and behold, he was the
    owner. I grabbed his card and told him I'll call him.

    The next day I called. Papers were signed and I was under contract.
    I was sent to take pictures for my profile card when I get sent to
    auditions. I have not spent one cent.

    Auntie Lynn
    Be AKAMAI ~ KOKUA Hawai`i!
    Philippians 4:13 --- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

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    Default Re: Are all modeling schools in Hawaii a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1stwahine View Post
    [...]
    I was sent to take pictures for my profile card when I get sent to
    auditions. I have not spent one cent.

    Auntie Lynn
    Lynn, this is NOT typical! I don't want people reading this thread to think it is.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Are all modeling schools in Hawaii a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by tutusue View Post
    Lynn, this is NOT typical! I don't want people reading this thread to think it is.
    You gotta be THAT hot.
    But I'm disturbed! I'm depressed! I'm inadequate! I GOT IT ALL! (George Costanza)
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Are all modeling schools in Hawaii a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by tutusue View Post
    Lynn, this is NOT typical! I don't want people reading this thread to think it is.
    Ahh...but my experience with my modeling agency is superb! No hidden costs, if one wants to purchase pictures, it's up to the model. Nobody tells you to purchase anything. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by scrivener View Post
    You gotta be THAT hot.
    Nah. I'm just ME!!
    Be AKAMAI ~ KOKUA Hawai`i!
    Philippians 4:13 --- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

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    Default Re: Are all modeling schools in Hawaii a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1stwahine View Post
    Ahh...but my experience with my modeling agency is superb! No hidden costs, if one wants to purchase pictures, it's up to the model. Nobody tells you to purchase anything. Period. [...]
    Yes, but Beachboy's experience was with Susan Page's rep, not Premier's. And, while he was leery of his experience, some of his facts were incorrect. No hidden costs is crucial and, you're right, one doesn't have to purchase photos.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Are all modeling schools in Hawaii a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by tutusue View Post
    No hidden costs is crucial and, you're right, one doesn't have to purchase photos.
    You're the expert.
    Last edited by 1stwahine; January 28th, 2011 at 02:43 PM.
    Be AKAMAI ~ KOKUA Hawai`i!
    Philippians 4:13 --- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

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