Modeling and Audition Scams and How To Avoid Them

What to watch out for during auditions.

With so many auditions taking place online today it becomes harder and harder to tell if someone is trying to scam you or if its a real audition for a great project. However, there are some tell tale signs that you can watch out for in order to sort through all the online audition information.

10 Signs of a Modeling Scam:

Approached at a mall, shopping center or anywhere random. 

The market for baby and kid models / actors is not large.  Actually the market is very small.  There are many more parents with cute kids than there are baby modeling jobs. Babies are simply not in high demand and the few projects that are available for babies, toddlers and kids are usually looking for twins or multiples due to the rules that govern how long babies and children may actually work a day.

For the most part, there are more than enough kids in every city and there is no need to hang out at malls in order to find anyone.  The people who approach those with kids in public places are usually sales people working for a shady company that is not in the business of casting anything.  Those businesses are based on selling services to parents such as photos, portfolios, pageants, classes, showcases and other services that are not needed and rarely help anyone get noticed.

Kids grow and change quickly. Real casting directors do not require professional photos as those photos rarely resemble the child and are useless to them. Kids do not need expensive photos.  All that’s needed is a snapshot on your cellphone.

Called or emailed out of the blue.

Casting directors do not look for talent on social media or call random people, especially in regards to kids or modeling.  Professional agencies have many to choose from, more people than they can get work for.

Told you that they guarantee work:

Nobody can guarantee any work as agencies are not the ones who actually hire you, their clients do.  Talent agencies cast nothing. Any guarantee is a red flag.

They tell you your child needs lessons first with THEIR program:

Little kids rarely need acting classes and many shady “acting schools” use a casting call for a vague project to get people’s information. The auditions they hold are fake. By fake, I mean that there is no actual project as they cast nothing.  They will tell you how great your kid is, but would need to take their classes to get some role.  The roles don’t exist. It is not how casting works. Productions do not wait for anyone to take classes. as they have a project to fill immediately.

They use the words Disney Audition or Nickelodeon Auditions randomly:

Disney and Nickelodeon casting directors do not say things like “you would be perfect for Disney Channel.” Real casting directors have specific roles to fill and rosters of trained kids to fill them. Now and then some may allow general submissions but those would be for very hard to fill roles…think 6 year old, east Indian girl who can play guitar while singing at a specific pitch and can easily do a back flip.

The fakes love to use vague language such as “I think you would be a perfect fit for Disney Channel” without specifying a role.

They ask for money:

Anyone asking for money is a scammer.

Real agents get paid out of what the production pays as a percentage.  It’s a job. Who would ever pay the employer?

Pushing a showcase to meet agents or casting directors:

Why would talent agents need you to pay for a showcase to meet other agents or casting directors?  They don’t.  Those people are simply salespeople who are selling their company’s events.

They hold cattle calls:

Most casting isn’t done through cattle calls. The scammers do. They are known to rent out conference rooms, invite lots of people, and have them wait a long time for the “audition.” They are forcing you to invest time by making you wait, the more wasted time the better. They then use hard pressure sales tactics to get you on board. They have a kid read a few lines, tell you they will call late night and you must make an immediate decision.  Often, they call you back multiple times in order for you to invest even more time. Then, they tell you you need to pay. The more time they get you to waste, the better their chances are of you paying as you have invested your time into it.

They put you under a tight deadline to sign a contract:

The modeling scammers hate when people have enough time to think about anything or research anything. They will pressure you to sign and pay for their services right away normally by telling you that they are leaving town and it’s your only chance.

They want to pay you up front:

Yes, this is a total red flag. Nobody pays anybody upfront. Those are all scams. They are check cashing scams, same as goes on with other industries, long lost relative wills, Nigerian Prince, etc. They basically find victims that will deposit fake cashiers checks or checks into an ATM, which will credit the money instantly. They then ask victims to send them a portion of it for whatever reason, photographer, plane tickets, whatever. 3 days later the bank tells you it was fake and hold you on the hook for repayment. Not a single reputable company on the planet will ever pay money upfront, especially to strangers on the internet that have not met.

The above are simply the top few modeling and acting scams that have been in use for years. The plots to separate you from your money always evolve as things change. If it sounds too good to be true…it is not right.

Common sense goes a long way.  If you have reason to question anything, you are most likely correct. These predators pray on people who are afraid of losing the opportunity…because, maybe it is real. If you question it, trust your instinct.  Real opportunities shouldn’t make you question yourself.

Keep in mind:

At the end of the day it is simply a job in a certain industry.  If the job was anything else, would you ever pay anyone anything to get it? NO.  These shady companies have professional sales people that are really good at manipulating fears, desires and dreams. They turn it all upside down by making the victims pay them for the opportunity.  Problem is, they do not offer any opportunity as they have none to offer.  Most are just commissioned sales people, telemarketers, who have nothing to do with casting any productions of any kind.

If in doubt, do not be afraid to ask for specifics. What specific production and specific role? Name of the character and relationship to other characters? When is the project filming? Where is it filming? Working title? Who is the production company? What is the email and social media address?  What is the street address?  How do I contact the actual casting director? Can I get a list of credits?  Can I see the actual casting notice that went out to agents? Who bought the distribution rights? What is the tentative release date? Who are the producers? Who has been cast already?  What’s the IMDB link to the development or production?

Those are all things that scammers cannot answer and would try to weasel out of.  Every real casting director or talent agent should be able to produce most of that as these are people who they know and regularly work with. The answers should not be vague or generic. Anyone who replies with “it’s an upcoming project for Disney that I don’t have the specifics on” is a scammer. Casting is all about specifics.  The shows have writers and roles are cast to fit their vision. Casting directors and talent agents do not create the projects or the roles. They are paid to find actors who do.


Best thing to remember is that you are the one seeking work which means you get paid, not pay them.