Parents of Would-be Child Actors: Beware of Scammers!

Dallas child actor Kameron Badgers

My grandson on set in three different roles. It cost us NOTHING to “submit” him for roles — his agent does that at no cost.

I met a neighbor recently, and we were exchanging contact information when one of my grandson’s business cards fell out of my purse. She was very excited to meet “a working child actor”, and told me that her daughter has an upcoming audition for The Disney Channel. (Not through the annual Disney Talent Search, which every talent agent in the business is well aware of, but through a “special opportunity” that would by-pass the red tape, she said.)

The whole family was very excited, she said, adding that she was a little worried about the $3,000 cost of the “opportunity.” As soon as she said it, I wanted to cry. I thought instantly that this loving mom had been the victim of a cruel scam. Telling her that after she’s signed the contract and paid the money seemed heartless, so I simply asked her to forward the details about the very special “opportunity”.  This is what she sent.

I reproduced the email EXACTLY (typos and bad grammar included) except that I blocked the name of the individual “talent agent” and the family. The comments in red are mine, and are my opinions. Check the facts for yourself and form your own opinion about this opportunity or any other you are considering.

Date: Fri, Jan 11, 2013 at 12:35 AM
Subject: CASTINGHUB Callback!
To: (Parent’s name blocked)

Hello and Congratulations! (Child’s name removed) made the callback list in Dallas! (How did she make a callback list when she hasn’t been to a real audition yet? The family attended what was called an “Open Casting Call” but was really a sales seminar for the marketing firm.)

My director really liked (child’s name removed) so I just wanted to follow up with your family. I hope she is as excited and committed as we are! (What director? This is a marketing firm, not a production company. But calling the person “a director” makes it sound as if they’re in a position to hire an actor.)

After narrowing our callback down from type cast and age divisions, we are interested in working with (child’s name). I would love for her to be able to audition for (Production Company Name Removed) Entertainment (The company name is one I didn’t recognize, and wasn’t listed in IMDB or the Dallas phone book) when they come back in five weeks. (Most auditions happen in hours or days — they aren’t planned weeks ahead. Agents got the breakdown on Kameron’s first TV role on Tuesday, he auditioned on Wednesday, and they filmed his part Thursday. That’s not unusual.)

I know for a lot of families it is really hard to budget because we see so many kids and -have to make our decision so quickly. (Kids get paid to act; families shouldn’t pay to get the opportunity for their children to audition!) We truly believe in your child and we want to do everything to help you guys get your daughter’s foot in the door. We see a lot of potential in (child’s name) and are willing to invest HALF of any marketing program for you and your family!

This would guarantee (child’s name) a spot to audition with (Production company name removed) Entertainment along with many other marketing features! This includes: online submissions, access to our social network, and heavy marketing to make sure your child gets the best experience while with us! (It costs nothing to submit to reputable online sites — see the list below.)

There are tons of auditions in Dallas that we want to start submitting (child’s name) to! (There is a lot of work in Dallas, but there are also a lot of kids/teens chasing the jobs. How, exactly, is a “marketing firm” out of Chicago going to help a kid get work in Dallas?)  I need to take care of registration by Tuesday, January 15th in order to get (child’s name) set up and registered as our client. I want you and the family to seriously consider this wonderful opportunity! The half-off investment will only be valid until Tuesday, January 15th.

If you need another copy of the take home packet, please let me know and I will send one to you. The next step from here is to read over the packet, pick a program that best fits your child’s needs and we will make the best out of that time frame! Keep in mind that the more time she’s with us, the higher probability she has of booking work!

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. Make sure you read over the entire packet, that way when we do talk, we are on the same page and ready to move forward.

I have included a FAQ section below for you to reference. You can email with any additional questions.


 Q. How do I know which program to choose?

 A) This all depends on the level of your commitment. The longer your child is being marketed and has the ability to go on more auditions, the higher probability they have of booking work. Choose a program that you know financially that the family will be able to support your child in doing. (This is NOT how it works. Agents submit talent for auditions. Reputable production companies do NOT troll “talent sites” looking for talent. You can’t market your way into an audition.)

 Q. What is the final price?

 A) We see a lot of potential in your child so we are willing to invest HALF of any program. That means that any program you choose (totals are in bold print) cut that in half and that is what you pay, what a great deal! (If you pay ANYTHING for something that should be free, how is that a deal?)

Example: Career 2 program is $7,900/2 = $3,950.00 total price

 Q. I read on the Internet that I shouldn’t have to pay for my child to work, why should I pay now?

 A) We are going to do our best, along with your commitment, to get your child noticed. You should never have to pay an agent to represent your child. We are not an agency; we are a talent listing company. We provide you with many opportunities to audition amongst casting producers, directors and agents. (Something I agree with: you should never have to pay an agent or a “listing company” to submit your child for an audition. )

Q. Will you take a cut from my child’s check once they book work?

 A) This is illegal for us to do. Only Agencies can take money out of your child’s compensation once they book work. (Most production companies pay actors an agreed fee plus 15-20% agency commission.) Keep in mind that most agencies are NOT open to the public. Therefor your chances are very slim to actually meeting them. That is why you need us to get your child noticed! (Agents need talent — trained talent. They constantly interview & audition potential talent.)


NAME BLOCKED, Talent Advisor

Note: this email was sent from a company called Casting Hub. I have seen emails and websites under the names Cast Hub,, and that are virtually identical — and the physical mailing address for all of the, is the same.

Actors Don’t Pay to Audition

I can’t say it strongly enough: this is NOT how the business works. The way it works is simple:

  1. Production companies work with casting directors, who submit actors for specific projects. Sometimes, companies post open casting calls in the trades or on casting sites. More often, a “breakdown” (description of the part, the audition process, and the age, gender, description, and abilities of the actor to be cast) circulates to talent agencies in a specific area.
  2. Agents submit the actors they think fit the casting director’s wants/needs. The casting director schedules auditions through the agents. Sometimes there will be hundreds of kids auditioning for a major role — sometimes only two or three.  Once the casting director schedules the audition, the agent sends you the audition confirmation with your “sides” (the portion of the script to be used in the audition and any notes on what to bring, what to wear, time, place, and specific suggestions the agent has for your child).
  3. You suit up, show up, do your best. You will either get a call back for a second audition, a call or email from your agent that says, “Congratulations! You’ve been booked!”, or you will hear nothing at all because the part went to another actor.

    America's Got Talent auditions can draw over 10,000 people per city, and cost the production company millions to host and manage. That isn't how paying acting jobs are filled!

    America’s Got Talent auditions can draw over 10,000 people per city, and cost the production company millions to host and manage. That isn’t how paying acting jobs are filled!

There are very few “out of area” casting calls. The notion that a major producer has to scour the world looking for my child is simply ridiculous. Nobody wants to see the overwhelming hordes of people who would show up for truly “open” casting calls for a network show or major motion picture. Think of those 8 to 10 hour lines of people who show up for America’s Got Talent or American Idol. If it wasn’t part of the show, nobody would bother with the cost and time involved in a situation like that.

The vast majority of productions want “local hire” talent. That means a movie filming in Dallas wants to hire actors from Dallas so they don’t incur travel/hotel costs. If you go to Los Angeles to audition, you’ll pay your own way, including hotel, travel, and food. The casting director isn’t likely to come looking for you.

You’ll have noticed, no doubt, that there is nothing in the email about the Disney Channel. Yet my neighbor believed that she had paid for an audition with Disney. She probably thinks this because someone said that the production company “works with” Disney and other studios. (Said it during a sales pitch, but did not put it in writing of course. Disney and its lawyers frown on the unauthorized use of the Disney name.)

Of course the production company “works” with Disney. Probably Warner Brothers and HBO and Showtime, too. Any production company can submit an idea or a pilot to any studio. Just like any local garage band can submit an album to any record company. That doesn’t mean the studio will broadcast what the company produces (if it produces anything) of course.

There is no “marketing” involved in getting work as a model or an actor. At least no marketing you pay for. I’ve been a professional marketer for over 40 years, and we have two generations of performers in our family (my son and grandson), so just trust me on this if on nothing else. The “marketing” consists of registering with a few reputable casting sites (free), working with a reputable agent who submits you for parts, and showing up prepared for the resulting auditions.

I think that paying thousands of dollars for an “opportunity” rewards the bottom feeders who prey on children’s dreams. I wouldn’t do it, and I am sorry that my new friend did.

How to Get Auditions for Your Child

First, enroll him or her in a reputable acting class. Dallas has many of them — Plano has more.  Here’s a link to the list of reputable classes on my grandson’s agent’s website. (We are super happy with his representation via the amazing Linda McAlister Talent, by the way. And, no, we are not related. I had never heard of her or met her until an acting coach suggested her as a possible agent for Kameron. We simply happened to marry unrelated men with the same last name.)

Once they’ve had some training, if they have the personality and skill that casting directors want, someone at the class will suggest a meeting with a local agent. And lest you think that your child is the next Quvenzhané Wallis (the unknown, untrained actress who became the youngest Oscar nominee in history), remember that getting your child seen by a casting director when they have no training, and no agent, is akin to winning the lottery. It does happen — but getting cast happens a lot more often for those who are prepared and represented by a good agent.

Here’s Linda McAlister’s overview for actors seeking representation — her process is fairly similar to the process used by all reputable SAG/AFTRA registered agencies.  Trust me, whether you belong to a union or not, you want a SAG franchised agent — especially if you have a child. Here are two clear warning signs that would get a real talent agent banned from SAG/AFTRA for life.

  1. They’ll tell you they have “special arrangements” with producers, and they’ll explain why you should work with them to help you get a role.  There are no “special arrangements” that guarantee clients of a specific company more auditions, or the chance to audition for a specific company. (Which isn’t to say that casting directors and directors don’t have favorites. They do. It’s called working with people you trust. Another reason a reputable local agent is your best choice.)
  2. They may offer to meet with you at your home, or ask you to bring your child to meet them in a hotel room. DON’T. A reputable agent would lose their certification for such a thing: those who work with child actors MUST meet with them only in a public place, and only with parents present. (You may not be able to stay in the room during an audition, but you’ll be within earshot, and the child will never be alone with a reputable casting director, agent, or director.)

If the agent likes what they see when you submit photos and a demo reel or head shots — or after an audition arranged through your acting teacher — they’ll meet with you and discuss a contract. There is absolutely, positively NO COST for this process. After you sign, most agencies will have you submit your child’s resume and head shots to online casting sites like Now Casting, Actor’s Access, Casting Frontier, and Casting Network.  There is no cost to post a resume and two headshots, but there is a fee to host additional photos and demo reels/videos. Fees on these sites run closer to the cost of lunch ($10-15) than to the prices quoted in the email reproduced here.

You can post headshots and demo reels or videos on the casting sites without an agent, and sign up for emails telling you about casting calls posted on those sites. But if you do, you’ll pay a fee for each submission ($2 per submission without a video, and $5 with a video — videos increase the chance of being cast) and much of what you see will be no-pay student films, reality TV, and very low-budget indie films. We quickly decided it wasn’t worth our time to do these projects unless it’s something that Kameron really wants to do. (For example, he and a buddy who is also a child actor recently auditioned together to play brothers in a student film simply because they liked the idea of playing brothers.)

Our 11-year-old signed with his agent last fall. Unless you count the hamburger I bought him on the ride home from our first meeting ($5.95) or the cost of printing his headshots ($30), it cost us absolutely nothing to meet with three agents and sign a contract with the one we chose.

In the six months he’s been represented, he’s gotten a number of audition opportunities. Of those we’ve allowed him to accept, he’s gotten a TV pilot, a mini-series, two films, two commercials, and several gigs as an extra. That means he didn’t get the rest, of course. Nobody gets every role they try out for, and learning to accept rejection and failure is an important part of being an actor.

What it REALLY Costs

This isn’t to say that it costs nothing to help your child achieve his or her dreams of becoming a star. I’ve said it before, the road to Hollywood (or even the local community theater stage) is paved with your money. But what you should be paying for is training. And if you want to know how much that costs, click here for a table showing what we spent in the six months before Kameron signed with his agent last year.

If you want to see what a “typical” audition for a child actor looks like, click here, or to see a demo reel for a working child actor, click here. By the way, we don’t do a lot of taped auditions. Most casting people prefer to see actors in person.

If your child wants to be a star, and you want to talk about the process with some people who’ve been through it recently, contact me. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll tell you honestly, and may be able to refer you to another parent or grandparent who would know the answer. But don’t waste your money with the scam artists. Please.

About debmcalister

I'm a Dallas-based marketing consultant and writer, who specializes in helping start-up technology companies grow. I write (books, articles, and blogs) about marketing, technology, and social media. This blog is about all of those -- and the funny ways in which they interesect with everyday life. It's also the place where I publish general articles on topics that interest me -- including commentary about the acting and film communities, since I have both a son and grandson who are performers.
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99 Responses to Parents of Would-be Child Actors: Beware of Scammers!

  1. Austin says:

    Do you know any real agents I’ve been scammed by a few already :\

    • debmcalister says:

      Hi, Austin —

      Sorry you’ve had a bad experience. Yes, I know a number of real agents, but since I have no idea where you live or what your skills might be, I can’t really help you find an agent.

      The Screen Actor’s Guild has a list of SAG-franchised agents, divided by region. a SAG-franchised agent is a talent agent who represents a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild, and has subscribed to the union’s code of conduct. You do not need to be a member of the union in order to be represented by a SAG-franchised agent. You can find the list here:

      Each agent has instructions on their website on how to approach them. In many areas, there are agent showcases set up by acting teachers or community organizations where actors can meet or audition for casting directors and agents. In Austin, Texas, for example a large church called the Gateway Church has a twice-a-year acting fair where people can come and meet agents and casting direicitors. It’s free.

      So start by looking in your local area for an agent. Make sure you’re ready. That means that you have some training, and you know how to audition, have a good headshot, and understand the process. If you have never acted, that’s not a problem — take some classes, and get some experience. How? Look at the nearby universities that have film schools, and audition for student films. They don’t pay their actors, but it’s a great way to get familiar with working on a film set, and gather material for your demo reel.

      Remember that you can submit yourself for auditions without an agent, and get work as an extra without an agent. Again, depending on where you live, there are free local resources that can help. In the South, for example, there is a site called that’s free — it’s where top casting directors look for background extras to work on major films, or TV shows filming from Dallas to Biloxi, including places like Austin, New Orleans, Shreveport, and Oklahoma City. Other parts of the country have similar sites. There are lots of low-cost online resources like NowCasting, Actor’s Access, Backstage, and Casting Frontier that will send you emails of upcoming auditions in your area.

      Best of luck! Regards, Deb

  2. Veronica says:

    Hello there,
    I was wondering if the “Next Star productions” is the real deal. What they do is email you and if you want to have an audition, you need to memorize a script for your age group, they hold an audition in a hotel conference room, then they give you the big speech of how your child can be a model, actor, singer, and or dancer. Your child then sings, acts, models and or dances. They will tell you yes or maybe right then and there. The one’s who they say yes to, well they automatically come back. The ones they say maybe too, get a call back. All of them are accepted. You go to the next part of the audition in a different hotel and thats where the contracts come out. Well it will cost you this much for singing, this much for acting, modeling, and dancing. Some can’t afford it, so its a no for them. The ones that do pay, get the extensive training for 2 days at a different hotel and then they perform in front of the parents and supposedly 2 agents that found a child from “theThundermans,” and a the boy from “Once Upon a Time” and the girl from “Liv and Maddie.” The people from the Next Star Production then trains you how to walk for modeling and trains you in the other parts for the audition for 2 days. The agents will then show up to see how the children perform, and then you have to wait a week for the call back for a yes or no to the big one in LA. Of course some parents already paid the 2900. to automatically have their child go to the LA showcase where there’s 25 agents there looking for talent. Others get the call back, with a price for each talent that your child will want to audition for, plus a registration fee, plus 100.00 per person to sit and watch the audition. Now back to my first question, is Next Star Production legit, or are they fake? I know they can give some experience by teaching them some acting, or how to model and so forth, but do they really get a hold of real talent agents, and do the agents really pick children from these auditions? Like i said all the children that pay the money get accepted to the big audition. I just want to know if children really do get call back from agents. And is this just used as experience for a resume, or can it be used for experience?
    Thank you,

    • debmcalister says:

      Hi, Veronica —

      I have never heard of Next Star Productions, so I have no idea whether or not this service can help your child land an agent in Los Angeles or not. Legitimate agents DO attend talent showcases hosted by coaches and acting teacherrs, as well as modelling schools. But a public audition with hundreds of parents and guest in the audience? That I’ve never seen.

      Also, two days of training doesn’t seem like very much to get an untrained, inexperienced child ready for a talent showcase. My grandson had several years of classes under his belt before he was ready to audition for an agent, and that seems typical of the working child actors I know. (Younger kids can get in with less training — if your child is under 10, they may be cast with limited or no training, because the director needs a specific age and look. Of course, it’s a very subjective business, and casting directors and direcitors know what they want and will sometimes hire based on looks alone.)

      I would urge you to check with reliable resources like the Biz Parents Foundation and SAG/AFTRA, and to take the time to really understand what services ths company is offering. If they are claiming that a specific casting agent will be in attendance, call that casting agent’s office and ask.

      Best of luck with your child’s career! Sorry I can’t provide any specific feedback on this company. I’d be interested in your experiences with them, and any feedback you can provide.

      Regards, Deb

      • Veronica says:

        Thank you for responding back to me. My daughter is 8 years old, and wants to model, even if its just for catalogs. I have never heard of Next Star productions myself, and when they say you have to pay, that’s where it seems to be shady. especially if they’ll except anyone who is willing to pay. For me, when you have to pay for it, then something must be wrong or shady about the whole thing. I didn’t sign her up for the January audition, because they wanted 350.00 for each audition, 350.00 each for modeling,singing, acting and dancing. To me that seems too extreme. Now they say that 25 agents will be in attendance there, It has the names of the agencies in attendance not the names of the agents.
        Thank you for sending me the reliable recourses like like the Biz Parents Foundation and SAG/AFTRA. I will read about it and see what they’re all about. Thank you for the words of encouragement, and i do hope that my little girl can get into modeling, seeing as that’s what she wants to do. I don’t like to discourage, but i would like her to see for herself how it is to go into that type of work. If she enjoys it and wants to succeed, good for her, if not well then again, good for her. I’m not going to encourage, nor discourage. I will let her see for herself all that goes into it.

        Thank you again,

      • Denise says:

        Hello! This is Denise Johnson, the owner of Next Star Productions. I recently came across this thread and would like to give detailed and correct information about our company and answer the following questions to the comments above.

        Hello there,
        I was wondering if the “Next Star productions” is the real deal. What they do is email you and if you want to have an audition, you need to memorize a script for your age group, they hold an audition in a hotel conference room, then they give you the big speech of how your child can be a model, actor, singer, and or dancer. Your child then sings, acts, models and or dances. They will tell you yes or maybe right then and there. The one’s who they say yes to, well they automatically come back. The ones they say maybe too, get a call back. All of them are accepted.

        ——–Reply Below
        Next is a showcase of talent to the nations leading talent Agencies. As explained in all of our auditions for the showcase, 2 performers are auditioned at the same time. 1 performer receives an immediate yes at the table, the other may receive a no or a maybe depending on the audition. Everyone does not get a callback to the second audition.

        You go to the next part of the audition in a different hotel and thats where the contracts come out. Well it will cost you this much for singing, this much for acting, modeling, and dancing. Some can’t afford it, so its a no for them. The ones that do pay, get the extensive training for 2 days at a different hotel and then they perform in front of the parents and supposedly 2 agents that found a child from “theThundermans,” and a the boy from “Once Upon a Time” and the girl from “Liv and Maddie.” The people from the Next Star Production then trains you how to walk for modeling and trains you in the other parts for the audition for 2 days. The agents will then show up to see how the children perform, and then you have to wait a week for the call back for a yes or no to the big one in LA. Of course some parents already paid the 2900. to automatically have their child go to the LA showcase where there’s 25 agents there looking for talent. Others get the call back, with a price for each talent that your child will want to audition for, plus a registration fee, plus 100.00 per person to sit and watch the audition.

        ——-Reply Below
        Those who do receive a callback to the next day are well aware of any costs involved for the training. Everything is given up front prior to a performer accepting the callback. Those who are chosen to accept the callback, come in the next day for a final review. They know that the cost for training is a minimum of $495. This includes 3, 5-8 hour days of training, depending on the categories they are in, (acting, modeling, etc.), and a full showcase day in front of the Agent guests. 2-3 Agents attend our Regional Showcases and 20-25 attend our National Showcase in LA. We work with Agencies such as AEFH, Abrams, Artist Agency, Clear Talent Group, Savage Talent Group, CESD and Osbrink Agency. These are just a few of the Agencies that attend Next. A full list could be seen at A great opportunity to be seen by the best Agencies in the nation!
        Next receives the Agent callbacks of who they are interested in within a week of the showcase. Those performers will receive the Agent Callback via email and the Agency will be in contact with those performers to meet and sign contracts. Those callbacks interested in attending the LA Showcase will be able to attend for a $250 registration and $350 category fee. Our LA Showcase is a 4 day event and includes the following:
        • 4- Day Event held in Los Angeles, CA.
        • Acceptance to compete as a Model/Actor/Singer or Dancer.
        • NEXT Performer Registration and Badge.
        • NEXT Swag Bag Included.
        • 2- Days of Intensive, Training Bootcamps.
        • Opportunity to be seen and audition in front of Leading Industry Agents & Managers
        • Admittance and an opportunity to perform in the NEXT Final Awards Gala, (Black Tie)
        • Wardrobe consulting and guidance for all performances.
        • Admittance to the NEXT Dance Party.
        • Callback Day with Industry Agents, Managers & Casting Directors.

        Now back to my first question, is Next Star Production legit, or are they fake? I know they can give some experience by teaching them some acting, or how to model and so forth, but do they really get a hold of real talent agents, and do the agents really pick children from these auditions? Like i said all the children that pay the money get accepted to the big audition. I just want to know if children really do get call back from agents. And is this just used as experience for a resume, or can it be used for experience?

        ——–Reply Below
        We are an Elite and very reputable company. Any of the Agencies listed, who work with us with will attest to that. Both the Agencies and the performers appreciate that our showcases are small, which in turn provides more opportunity for both!
        I’m always available to all performers and their families to answer questions. It takes a quick email or phone call to my personal cell number that is always listed on all material handed out. Hope this helps!
        Denise Johnson-


        Thank you,

      • debmcalister says:

        Hi, Denise —

        Thanks for telling your company’s story. While I remain skeptical that the service you offer is enough to help an untrained child actor succeed, I have never lumped organizations that provide training in with those who misrepresent what they sell to parents.

        Regards, Deb

    • I am wondering if you continued on with this. I too have been a big skeptic on this and Denise I do not care if you see this. I can never get a response when I write. By any means do not ever email a question about making a certain payment amount because they will just take it out of your account with no response to your email until you ask why they took it out, then they write back talking about they were just following instructions. NOT A GOOD LOOK! You can’t respond to me but can take my money. The “rehearsals” include advise that myself and my daughter’s high school teachers have been advising. Nothing worth the amount of money I am to be paying. A business of such high reputation should be known not just by agencies that claim to LOVE this business but by suckers like myself. Also, with such success, you would think that they would be understanding about my finances when I send emails not to take a payment because of emergencies that came up and due to no response of the QUESTION of a payment. Now my account is overdrawn $600.00 due to the money I did not agree to them taking out and I have overdraft fees and returned check fees and overdraft fees due to the returned checks. A trickle down. But they do not care as long as they are getting money. I find this sickening that people can go around getting these young minds so full of hope, do they not know or care what this is doing to the child’s future.

      I would understand them getting paid after the child makes it. But I have to say, when I sat in one of the classes I damn near dropped to the floor because out of all the people there, only three of them were what I would call talented. The others were like watching American Idol bloopers. I am sick to my stomach about this being a single mother of a teenage daughter who has been working so hard to overcome her low self esteem and push herself to succeed in her dream to be in the entertainment business. This is not the first time I have been had and at this point I refuse to do anything else, which is sad for my daughter. Six to seven years gone. This is bad because I once again look like the bad guy who doesn’t believe in my child. I can go on and on out of anger but this will solve nothing.

      Sucks for me if this is a legit business and I apologize if it is, but after being scammed so many time and losing money that I could have truly put in to my daughter’s future, all should understand where I am coming from. It may seem that I am rambling on, but that is out of anger. I am on my own trying to support three kids’ future and I know that I am not the only one, but damn can I get a break. Living in Kansas is living in the heart of suckers because we all know there isn’t much here to get our kids feet in the door so we fall for businesses that promise even just an opportunity. With all the money I have lost over the years you would think I have learned, but I didn’t. hell I could have bought a home and relocated (being a little sarcastic)

    • Melissa Cronin (Angry Mother) says:

      I too feel this way Veronica. I replied with an extensive comment but I do not know what happened to it.

      • debmcalister says:

        Hi, Melissa — Sorry for the delay in reviewing and approving your comments. I’m on a film set this week with my 14-yer-old, and I can only use my laptop during breaks. (Wi-Fi and cell phones are banned in the area where parents wait, but allowed in the craft services area. This is fairly common.)

        I’m sorry you wound up in a contract that has you payingg for services you don’t think are worthwhile. Best of luck with your attempts to resolve the situation and with your daughter’s acting dreams as well.

        Regards, Deb

      • melissa says:

        Thank you deb… I have since calmed down, still frustrated with how things turned out . But those that don’t mean any good will get theirs. Karma is no joke. God bless . If they happen to be what they say they are, I will count this as my loss, other than that I hope to never see their faces.

  3. jasonvaneman says:

    There’s no harm in someone teaching acting classes or selling headshots, as long as that’s what they are advertising.Some casting calls may be “no experience necessary,” but they should be exactly that: a casting call. Reputable talent agencies are highly selective.Legitimate agents make a commission off the gigs they find for you.

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  5. julie says:

    Is tabasee casting calls good?

    • debmcalister says:

      I have never heard of them, and can’t find them on Google. In general, be wary of any organization that requires you to pay more than a token membership fee (“token” meaning less than $20 USD as a registration fee) in order to get the information you need to submit for an open casting call. Aside from that, check the online comments and reputation of any site you are considering paying money to before making payment.

      Best of luck!

  6. Anne says:

    Have you heard of good agencies in Toronto? My 14 year old girl is very interested in acting, she is trying to find agencies via backstage. Is it bad if she submits her resume and headshot to any random agency found in backstage?. Also any good and cheap acting school in Toronto? and one last thing: I’ve had a tight budget and I haven’t been able to find a good photographer so she is using photos I took. Do agencies ignore non professional headshots? I’m really new to all this stuff.
    Thank you for everything.

    • debmcalister says:

      Hi, Anne —

      I’m sorry, but I don’t know a thing about how “the biz” works in Canada. I live in Texas, and while I know a few American actors who have crossed the border to work on various projects, and I know there is a lot of filming in Vancouver and Toronto both, I have no suggestions at all on how to approach it.

      I would suggest asking a good drama teacher. If your daughter is not in acting class at all (not even in school), then that’s where to start. Also, check for the online casting services like Actor’s Access, Now Casting, and so on (there’s a list in the post), and self-submit for parts that fit your daughter. Also, talk to the film schools at nearby universities — student filmakers need actors of all kinds, and it’s time for sprint casting calls at many universities. Student films don’t pay actors, but there’s a great place to get contacts and footage for a demo reel, and they can be great experience.

      Also, you’re likely to meet some young photographers who are trying to build THEIR portfolios — and a good student photographer can take headshots that will work well for your daughter at a much lower cost than a profesisonal photographer. Also, many acting coaches host headshot clinics where you share the cost of a profesisonal photographer with other parents.

      Start by looking for the resource pages at some of the talent agencies in your area — changes are they’ll have a list of the acting classes, headshot photographers, and other professionals they like to work with. That’s where to start.

      Best of luck! Sorry I am no help north of the border! (Although I have spent a fair amount of town in Markham and Vancouver, and would love to spend more in Toronto….in the summer or early fall, please.)

      Regards, Deb

  7. Jolene says:

    How do I find a good acting school for my child in my area? Or is any school to start off with ok?
    We have been contacted by Barbizon and seemed like scams to me. Have you heard of these?

    • debmcalister says:

      Hi, Jolene — look at the website of any agents in your area. Most of them have an actor’s resource page that lists the schools, coaches, and other support services (headshots, videographers for demo reels, etc.) that actors need. To find a local agent, look for the SAG franchised agency list — it is on the union’s website. Even if you are in a right to work state and do not intend to join the union for a long time, having a SAG-franchised agent is important because of the many protections those agents offer clients, especially children. If you want to use the contact form on my About Me page, and tell me what city you are in, I will be happy to research some local schools for you.

      I have heard of Barbizon, but never NextAuditions. I do not think of Barbizon as the kind of professional film acting school that I wanted for my child, but you might feel differently. We are lucky in Dallas, as we have several excellent choices, and a thriving community of other child actors — most of what I know I learned from parents of othiier working actors.

      If you don’t know any other parents to talk to, try the local theater company or high school drama teacher. Specify that you are looking for a professional film acting coach for your child, with the goal of having your child work in commercials, TV or movies. Chances are they will know where to start.

      Best of luck! Regards, Deb

  8. Leilani says:

    So are ALL audition sites fake.

    • debmcalister says:

      No, there are many legitimate sites that list casting calls. Some are not-for-profit sites operated by organizations such as the state film commissions in your state, others are run by the various craft guilds (actor’s unions, crew unions, etc.), and some are for-profit businesses that charge actors a small fee (typically $2-5) to submit a headshot, note, and video clip for a casting director. Many agents require their talent to be listed on sites like Actors Access, Casting Network, Casting Frontier, Backstage, and Now Casting, as well as the Internet Movie Database ( once they have enough credits.

      If you are willing to work as an extra to get experience and build contacts, look for local casting directors that hire extras. In Texas and surrounding areas, there is a fantastic FREE site called MyCastngFile, where over a dozen of the top casting agents have banded together to recruit extras and talent for small roles in films and TV shows. My 13-year-old used that site last year to work on Transformers IV, Dallas, Salvation, Salem, and half a dozen horror films.

      Also, remember that a lot of the scam sites are NOT audition sites. They are “online marketing services” that claim they can help actors get auditions or get an agent. If it costs more than a few dollars to register, be very, very wary. (In my book, a “few” dollars is less than $20. Most of the ones I listed here are absolutely free to register with, and charge only a small fee of less than $20 for any service you want.)

      Hope this helps! Best of luck, Deb

  9. Was also wanting to ask.. do you happen to know if there is anywhere to go to in Kansas. I met with a local agency for my two girls 3, and 5. They wanted 250.00 for photography fees which were as simple as they get, and I couldn’t see paying the amount of money for basic shots, and they wanted an amount of money to feature them on their site for casting.. I heard lifesavers was casting in this area my a KC mom that is on the site “the cute kid” I never found out if she actually took her son to an audition.. it would be a dream to see them in something,, would be fun!

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  12. Judith says:

    Thanks for the warning!

    I have heard about another audition of in West palm Beach as well through the radio called Casthub. Indeed once passed the first round they will ask you to choose to pay for their services depending on how many auditions you want your child to do. Good to know this ahead of time.
    I decided to search more on the net about this subject and this is what i found :
    Here a site from disney that confirms again that they are affiliated and that there is no need
    to pay money for auditions :
    They also mention open call auditions on the site above .
    This site of the BizParentz Foundation – Supporting families of children working in the entertainment industry is also helpful with lots of interesting links and info:
    and info on how to find legitimate disney auditions :
    here information about agents and managers :
    how to get an agent/ manager :
    hope this is helpful to all of you.

  13. John says:

    Pretty good post. Too bad you didn’t bother to try the service for yourself before labelling a company that’s helped a lot of people as scammers.

    Check out the reviews of the service for yourself: don’t listen to people like this blogger who have never tried it.

    • debmcalister says:

      John: Thanks for your comment. I am glad you had a good experience. Would love to hear more about your child’s success — can you give me a link to his or her IMDB profile? I love watching successful child actors!

      As for the reviews of CastingHub, I think they speak for themselves. Just Google the words “Casting Hub Reviews” and the first 100 or so are quite negative. All of the positive ones seem to be on sites controlled by the company itself.

      Best of luck with your child’s career — no matter how you go about it, I wish the best for every child’s dreams!

      Regards, Deb

      • Thankful for post like these.. it would not make any sense to pay large amounts of money just in hopes for something.. with no guarantee. I really appreciate your article. Sad how these companies take advantage of people.

    • Anndrea says:

      This article is exactly what happened to my daughter. The person who “auditioned” my daughter had more questions about our family income status than anything. As soon as he heard that my husband and I own our own business, my daughter is a competitive gymnast and she is home schooled his eyes lit up. He was very good. He wrote words on the application like ” dimples, beautiful red hair, gymnast, home schooled” to make it seem as if he was really interested in her.
      Our daughter was called back. We were not surprised. Probably because Casting Hub thought we would be able to afford the $5,000 fee they wanted. We never told this to our daughter. They even offered to pay $2500 so our daughter would have a longer contract which would give her more exposure. After playing on our emotions, we paid the $5,000. My husband was reluctant until he saw me (not my daughter) and the pleading in my eyes. This whole money, fees etc conversation was done in front of our daughter. Basically insinuating if we loved our daughter we would take a 2nd mortgage if we had to. If we didn’t we must not care about her future. We’d rather put the 5k in her college fund!
      However, as soon as we got home I did some research. I admit I should have done that before. Thankfully, we got our money back.
      I feel bad for the parents out there who put faith in the promises made by Casting Hub.
      For anyone out there who are even considering Casting Hub RUN THE OTHER DIRECTION!

      • debmcalister says:

        So sorry that happened — but very glad you were able to get a refund! That doesn’t happen often, and I am happy to hear that your family succeeded.

        Best of luck with your daughter’s career!

        Regards, Deb

  14. Debbie Cormier says:

    Thanks for the marvelous posting! I quite enjoyed reading, have
    a nice afternoon!

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  16. Sal Mascorro says:

    Great work! Cheers for sharing.

  17. Audrey says:

    What an eye opening article this is! Thank you so much for your interest in helping parents protect their children. 2 yrs ago my daughter who has always had an interest in acting, memorized scripts, movie lines and could make herself cry on demand, begged me to call castinghub after hearing a radio commercial where they mentioned the Disney and Nickolodeon channel and the star of I-Carly which was her favorite show. We were turned down by the guy on the phone because they were only looking for kids over 6 at the time and she was only 4. Two days ago we heard a new ccastinghub radio commercial and she pointed out that she is now old enough (although they are now looking for children 4 and over.) She now has an “audition” at a hotel here in Houston this Saturday and she is super excited about it. She has practiced and memorized in different accents and emotions, a “Lifesavers commercial” script designated for her age group, that we received in our confirmation email. I want to make my daughter’s dream come true but this is all so scary. She is so devoted and it breaks my heart that there are ruthless people who want take advantage of it. I don’t know how to tell her that we will not be going to the castinghub’ so called audition this weekend anymore.

    • debmcalister says:

      Hi, Audrey-

      Your daughter sounds amazing! There is a lot of work for talented kids in Houston, and even more in Austin. If she isn’t already in a good professional film and TV acting class, enroll her soon.

      I wish you the best of success in helping her dreams come true!

      Regards, Deb

      • Audrey says:

        Thanks Deb. My daughter was so excited about auditioning that I decided to take her just for the experience. The whole time that I sat there through the “sales pitch” I kept thinking about your article and could read right through this man’s bull. He kept hyping up the kids and parents by mentioning big names and their struggle but none who actually made it thanks to the castinghub ‘ s help. When he would mention a castinghub success story, there was NEVER a name stated – he referred to that success story as “a little girl” etc.

        They then brought a guest speaker, she had appeared in a few episodes of the show “Jessie” and plays an evil nanny with a twin sister. I thought of the comments of other parents that I read here and realized that the guest actors they bring in are paid to come make a speech and talk about their experience or struggle about how they first started acting but NONE of these guest speakers are castinghub ‘ s success stories!

        So if the casting hub is so successful, where are the big names who can vouch for them? Interesting!

        Long story short, our sales pitch started at 9 am they talked for about 1 1/2 hrs then had everyone line up and take turns saying their script to one of the “directors” who are not real casting directors but actually other members of casting hub. They said they were only picking 5 or 7 kids from each age group and that they were casting all day long.

        We received this text message at 9pm:
        “[daughter’s name] made CastingHub’s callback, congratulations! She has a final audition at 10:00 am at the same place, second floor. All decisions are made tomorrow. Should we choose to work with her we will complete registration forms in our meeting. Be sure to read the entire packet as a family and discuss commitment and which marketing program you would be ready to take care of financially tomorrow if she passes her second audition. Please bring a copy of her report card and a few extra pictures and have her dress cute but comfortable like today. Please reply with her full name to confirm her audition time and your commitment. God bless.”

        I didn’t take her to the second audition and instead have decided to invest in the proper training for her. So next month she will start her classes at a school with recognizable names as success stories.

        Even after I missed the “call back” they emailed me today with the same email that you have Posted here and wanting to help by sponsoring my daughter with half of the cost.

        Thank you so much again Deb.

        My daughter and I would have fallen pray to these money hungry jerks if it wasn’t for you. I feel bad for the hundreds of children that were there :(

      • debmcalister says:

        Hi, Audrey —

        Training is always a worthwhile investment! I wish your daughter the best possible experience, and much success. With a smart mom like you guiding her, I am sure she’ll be fine.

        Regards, Deb

  18. Leslie says:

    Thank you so much for all of your help. While I’m not a child, I thought I’d give the audtion a chance because I love doing cartoon voices. Of course, I got the call back at 10:20pm – actually a text from the supposed scouts assistant.
    I’m fairly discouraged and am considering cancelling the appointment tomorrow, but am also interested. Well, if I go back, I’ll post the experience.
    Thank you so much everyone. Its nice to know that every email they send has been the same for a year+! Also, they used Zeke and another spokesperson to sell castinghub. Everyone did look nice and they all put on a good show, but its not worth 1950 (or half!) For a few short months of an upgraded facebook.

  19. Elda Peters says:

    Thank you so much for this valuable information! I just took my 9 year old son today 1/11/2014 to one of Casting Hub’s “Open Audition/Casting Calls”. Bernadette called me back earlier this evening and said that my son was being “Called Back because he was her favorite out of all the boys she saw today!” She was impressed that he was an Honor Roll Student and really liked how witty and charming he was. I’ve been very skeptical of their entire program once I saw the $3,000 – $10,000 fees listed in the brochure/pamphlet they passed out during their sales pitch. I quickly realized this entire process is a TOTAL SCAM and just went along with it because my son was so excited to “audition”. The people running this program seem totally legit..supposedly from New York, Chicago, Nashville, Las Vegas and LA. They even brought some actor who was Selena Gomez love interest on Wizards of Waverly Place.. My kids know him.. I don’t have a clue! Anyways..I’m sure the only reading Dominic got called back is because I put down that his father is a doctor and they think we have disposable income to pay their RIDICULOUS FEES!! Thank you to everyone who is posting on this site to protect innocent consumers from fraud!! My only prayer is that all parents will do their homework and research how to really get their children into this industry and not be fooled by scammers pulling at their children’s heartstrings!

    • debmcalister says:

      Hi, Elda —

      I wish your son the best of success. Being an honor student helps — and being a boy helps, too. (Girls outnumber boys 20-1 or more in this business; it’s MUCH easier to find an agent for a young male actor than a young female actor just because of the sheer number of girls competing for the slots. Also, boys aren’t subjected to the horrific body image pressures that girls are at a young age.)

      As for CastingHub, just remember that everything they offer is perfectly legal. There’s no “scam” in providing an Internet listing service, or charging a fee for lists of casting calls. The decision parents have to make is whether they feel that their service — or any similar service — is worth the price. If you haven’t already done so, check out some of the other online services such as NowCasting, CastingNetworks, and Actor’s Access, where there is no charge for a profile and a headshot, and submitting for a posted role costs about $2 without a video or about $5 with a video. Also, check to see if there is a local not-for-profit clearing house for casting calls for short and student films.

      Short and student films pay little (or nothing at all), but it’s a great way for a kid to learn the ropes, get some experience, and build a killer demo reel when they’re starting out. For example, here in Texas, there’s — a clearing house where casting calls for short films, music videos, and student films are listed. It’s completely free, and easy to use. My grandson auditioned earlier today for a student film at one of the local universities — he and a friend from acting class decided to audition together because they liked the description of the roles.

      Thanks for visiting the blog and your kind comments!

      Regards, Deb

  20. Habibi says:

    Excellent article mate, keep the info flowing. Just shared this with my friends.

  21. NickiW says:

    Thanks a million for your information and dedication to this sensitive subject regarding our precious “babies”. My daughter is STOKED to have an audition on Saturday, January 11th, 2014 in Austin. My gut told me to read reviews not just do my homework on how to prepare for her audition. You have helped me tremendously and I appreciate it. I will now begin to look up acting classes in our area.. Killeen, TX. If you know of any around us I would greatly appreciate the information. THANK GOD I read your blog. You kept it interesting, honest and to the point.

    • debmcalister says:

      Hi, Nicki —

      There are several community theaters near Fort Hood that offer classes for kids, I believe. My grandson worked with a boy on “Transformers IV” last summer whose resume said he had taken classes at Vive Les Arts in Killeen.

      If Waco isn’t too far a drive, there’s the Waco Children’s Theatre.

      That said, I think most parents go ahead and make the drive to Austin, because so many of the top school in the state are there — and so are the casting directors, talent agencies, and filmmakers who hire child actors. Take a look at these Austin sites, and decide if it’s worth making the weekly drive to Austin for classes, or at least the occasional workshop.(We drive from Dallas to Austin often for auditions and workshops, and Kileen seems much closer — I grew up in Woodway Estates and Hewitt, just south of Waco.)

      Marco Perella
      State Theatre Acting School
      Kids Acting Studio (Round Rock)
      Casting notices, area events & workshops:
      Austin Conservatory (SAG/AFTRA)

      Best of luck with your daughter’s career. Send me an email if you want to chat further — I’m always happy to meet “local” families dealing with the same kinds of issues we deal with as our kids explore this amazingly complex and exciting career!

      Best regards, Deb
      deb at mcalisterpr dot com

  22. Jazzmin B says:

    I am trying to get my 5 year old twin boys into acting. We recently went to casting hub auditions where they wanted us to pay $2000 for 3 months. After reading this we are not going to go through with it. If you have any other starting tips please let me know.

    • debmcalister says:

      Hi, Jazzmin —

      This blog post on resources for Dallas-area parents of child actors includes all of the basics — getting your child into acting classes, finding an agent, what to invest in (training, headshots, etc.) and links to other articles on this blog that detail what we spent, and the steps we took, towards getting our child represented.

      Twins are much sought-after, and many agents don’t take kids under 6, so your first step is to register your boys with the reputable online casting services and any casting directors in your local area who maintain their own files.

      Hope some of the information in the link helps! Best wishes, Deb

  23. Kim C. says:

    Found your post just in time. Thank you for all of the information. Everything I’ve read has pieced it all together. Our story is exactly the same. My son heard the advertisement on the radio and his love of acting and desire drove me to go ahead and call. All he and my daughter could talk about the day before was being on TV and in movies (ie Disney). The spiel is still exactly the same along with the late night call and the half price pitch. The most interesting part was as soon as everyone gets seated in the big ballroom and the pitch starts, the “talent” judges start scouring the room for “would be” talent and those parents who “followed the rules” when entering the room (ie no drinks & turning off electronic devises). Towards the end and especially now I’m thinking they were actually scouring the room for the “would be” SUCKERS.
    Luckily my son won’t be too heart broken because he may have landed a lead role in the local community theater today. So far, he hasn’t had any acting classes but that will be next.
    I still want to help my son fulfill this deep desire to act and know nothing about how to get started except for now after reading your posts. Thank you for all your honest help.
    By the way, I intend on calling the local radio station that they advertised on and informing them since they are a “family friendly” station.
    Thanks again.

  24. J. Christie says:

    Excellent advice. Thank you for taking the time to explain how it should really work. We went to an “audition” today in Miami for Casting Hub for my twin boys. I got a strange feeling when I realized that there was a fee structure associated with their talent search services. Upon doing a bit of research into the company, my fears were confirmed. Although the boys did receive a “call back”, I will not engage in any further auditions with them and must now find a way to let my poor boys down easy. How shameful of Casting Hub to prey on the dreams of so many aspiring young actors throughout the U.S….

  25. Errol says:

    Thank you, I have been hearing these ads. Yours is the best information I have found until now.

    However, what’s the bottom line? Are you certain that this is a scam?

    • debmcalister says:

      Hi, Errol —

      Casting Hub and similar services provide a legal service — web hosting and promotion for would-be actors and models. The problem isn’t with their services, it’s with the gap between what people think they’re paying for (an audition for their child with a specific company like Disney) and what the company is actually delivering.

      As with anything you buy, take time to read the fine print, do your homework, and make sure you know exactly what you are buying. Remember that what someone says doesn’t matter. What matters is what the contract says. On the Casting Hub Home page,, scroll to the bottom and read the description of the company’s services (in black type on a gray background). It says: “CASTINGHUB.COM (“CASTINGHUB”) “a social casting search”™ is not an employment agency, school, performing arts academy, management company or a talent agency. CASTINGHUB does not engage in training, procuring, offering, promising, or attempting to procure employment or engagements for artists. CASTINGHUB only provides Internet exposure, networking resources and tools for you to match your talent with available listings of auditions and casting calls. The content provided by CASTINGHUB through this website is without warranties of any kind, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purposes. Please refer to the Terms of Service for more information.” (Bold face type added; form your own opinion as to whether you wish to buy this service, and whether or not the price charged is in line with similar services such as Actor’s Access, Now Casting, Casting Networks and other services.)

      Thanks for taking time to visit the blog and post your comment.

      Regards, Deb

  26. Bailey says:

    You tell them, love! Someone has to!

  27. Shamonda Hall says:

    I went through this agency called craze agency and I don’t know for sure if it is a real agency or not I dident pay an upfront cost for the agency but they did ask me to pay 146.00 for copies of headshots I’ve already had done I recived 100 5×7 with the agency name and my daughter name on them and she said I need to take it to every audition I go to. Is this a legitimate agency and was I support to pay for pictures.
    Thank you and advance for your response.

    • debmcalister says:

      Hi, Shamonda,

      I have never heard of the agency you mentioned, so I can’t venture any kind of opinion about them.

      People do pay for photos. But I’ve never heard of an actor or actress using a 5X7 photo. The agencies in our area tell actors to use 8X10 photos, with the actor’s resume attached to the back. Most have the actor’s name on them, but I have only seen a few that also had the agent’s name on them. Most don’t have contact information, either — that’s usually attached to the back of the photo along with the actor’s resume.

      On the subject of photos, I print my grandson’s headshots through a company that takes the digital file and mails out the photos; we go through 8-10 a month at most. Most kids change so fast that printing 100 headshots is a waste. Unless you are doing a lot of “go see’s” (for models, where the art director just wants to see the person quickly), I would think that printing 25 at a time is more than enough. Most kids grow and change so quickly that their headshots have to be replaced every six months or so. It’s rare for them to last a full year.

      However, take your agent’s advice over mine here — they know your local market, and how casting directors in your area want to work with children.

      Thanks for visiting the blog, and taking time to post a comment! Best of luck with your daughter’s career!

      Regards, Deb

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  30. Zoe says:

    So what if you did an online admission how will u know when it is and we’re it is so ya can you tell me that an if you do make the cut do u have to move to California

    • debmcalister says:

      Hi, Zoe —

      If you submitted a resume and headshot or video audition with one of the online casting sites, you’re not likely to hear back fro the casting director unless they are interested in scheduling a face-to-face audition or screen test with you.

      As to where and when the production is, that information should be included in the casting call itself. They usually say something like, “filming dates Dec. 6-8”, and are usually divided into geographic areas.

      Actors pay their own way to auditions (even if they “make the cut” after an online submission), so if the casting director is in California, and the casting call is in California, then you will have to go there for the audition, and pay for your own transportation and hotel costs.

      Most producers want to hire “local” talent so that they don’t have to pay transportation costs, but if you are cast in a TV show or movie and the producer wants you to be on location for a specific amount of time, they might pay your transportation costs.

      Thanks for taking time to read the blog post and post a comment!

      Regards, Deb

  31. Josephine Baskin says:

    I like the helpful information you provide in this article.

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  33. Talyn says:

    I auditioned for CASTINGHUB weeks ago, and i got a call back! I went the next day, and the lady Bernadette told me I got the part, and should we pay half of the 3000 dollars. ITS A SCAM!! They tell everyone that and its not legit, please dont believe these awful people theyre liars! Im 13 and even I know this. Parents: DONT PAY! I wouldnt say any of this if it wasnt true. Dont fall for it like I did, it will break your childs heart.

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  35. brenda says:

    casting hub is the highest of scams. I entered into a contract with them on sunday and tried to cancel it with in 48 hours they said I cant cancel Im locked in. I thought you had a 72 hour window to cancel any contract you legally enter into. I am starting a class action suit against them for false advertisement and scams against children. anyone interested please contact me at

    • debmcalister says:

      I am not a lawyer, but I do know that the rules about contract cancellation vary from state-to-state. Kentucky, however, does have a 72-hour cancellation period, I believe.

      Contact a lawyer, keep all correspondence, and best of luck in cancelling any contract you feel doesn’t work for you and your family.

      Regards, Deb

    • Talyn says:

      Im 13 years old, and they scammed me and my whole family. Good luck with the law suit, I hope it works it out! I mean, how can you do this to CHILDREN?

      • debmcalister says:

        Hi, Talyn —

        I hope that you won’t give up on your dream because you had a bad experience. Most of the people I have met in the movie and TV business are honest and treat people fairly. That isn’t to say that it’s easy — it’s not! But it’s not made up solely of bad people, either.

        I do not know of any lawsuit, nor am I a party to any lawsuit. I don’t believe there is anything illegal about offering a “marketing service” for actors, at least not in most states. But I don’t think it’s right to mislead kids and parents who don’t understand the business, either.

        I’m sorry your first experience in the acting world was a bad one, and wish you great success in the future.

        Thanks for your comments, and best of luck on your next audition! You never know when it will be your turn. My grandson was feeling kind of down because he hadn’t gotten a part in a couple of months, and then today, he got two — both from auditions that happened weeks ago where the part initially went to someone else, and he was the “back-up”.

        Regards, Deb

  36. Pingback: Casting Hub and a good way to make money, for them… | Peaceful Ian

  37. mitavasa says:

    Deb, you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about. I read every parent’s comment and they are not educated about this business, and you’re not helping us parents. In some replies you say “you need to audition for classes”. Why would someone need to audition for classes? That’s a scam when you audition for classes. If you audition for someone to market you, how is that a scam? Don’t you think they want to work with good kids?
    If it was easy to find representation, everyone would have an agent and just wait for that casting call and make money, but it takes money to make money.

    • debmcalister says:

      A lot of specialized acting classes require an audition before students are accepted — it’s kind of like meeting the pre-requisites for a college class. My husband, for instance, teaches physics and chemistry — but you can’t actually teach someone about Higgs particles until they understand quite a bit of math and science.

      Acting is like that. You can’t teach a rank beginner advanced techniques, which is why some classes require auditions.

      How can a student who doesn’t understand the single-camera audition process master a 2- or 4-camera audition technique? If you haven’t mastered basic cold-read auditions, what good will a class on handling a table-read do? If you’ve never been on a movie set, is it really possible to take an advanced class on green-screen or motion-capture movement?

      Some acting schools, classes, and workshops require students to either audition for an advanced class, provide a resume or demo reel with verifiable credits demonstrating the needed skills/experience, or take pre-requisite classes at the school.

      As for paying someone to market you to agents, I have never met anyone that worked for, but I’ve heard a lot of stories from parents who regretted spending thousands of dollars with organizations that promised the moon and delivered very little.

      Every agent I’ve ever seen posts submission criteria on their website. Some like snail-mail, some have a strict “don’t call us, we’ll call you” policy. Some hold open calls. Nearly all attend talent showcases at acting schools they work with, or serve as judges at local student film festivals, UIL competitions, or other events.

      It seems to me that a lot of parents start looking for an agent too soon — before a child has any real training or experience.

      I agree that many parents aren’t educated about the entertainment business, and I also agree with your comment that it takes money to get ahead in this business. But the things our family invested in were training, head shots, wardrobe, videos and other tangible things required for a working actor. Neither my son nor my grandson ever had to pay to get an audition or an acting/stunt performer’s job.

      I don’t claim to be an expert, and I don’t offer advice on any specific company or “opportunity” a family is considering. All I can do is share my own experience.

      Sorry that you didn’t feel I understood the topic. Perhaps I’m extra tired this week, having just finished figuring and paying the quarterly tax bill for our 12-year-old — you know, the one who works enough in the business I don’t understand to need to pay quarterly taxes.

      Thanks for visiting the blog and taking time to comment — sorry that I disappointed you!

      Regards and best wishes, Deb

  38. Cristina says:

    Oh no…this sounds way too much like a casting call I attended for my kids today. That is too bad :(

    • debmcalister says:

      Cristina: The key to helping your kids get into acting is simple. Help them get the training they need. With help from a good acting coach, they’ll meet agents (when they’re ready), and a good agent will do the rest.

      The expensive marketing companies promise shortcuts, but there aren’t any shortcuts. Just hard work, time, and repeated tries.

      The child’s job is to show up for an audition, prepared and excited. That’s it. It isn’t to get a job, or to be “perfect”.

      The parent’s job is to be the parent — not the promoter, manager, agent, or coach.

      I hope that your children’s dreams come true, and you enjoy the time spent with them along the way!

      Best regards, Deb

  39. Mostlyaccurate says:

    There is a lot of excellent information in this article. But for an article about scams, the author perhaps needed to do a bit more research on a term used several times within the article- “casting agent.” There is no such thing. There are casting directors who work within a casting office. They are hired by the production team to find talent. The talent are represented by talent agents, who are members of a talent agency. There is no such thing as a “casting agent.” In fact, there are strict laws governing the two areas that legally defines them as separate entities that provide distinctly separate services. Merging the two titles is quite erroneous and in the big cities like NYC and LA, actors are warned to stay FAR away from anyone referring to themselves as such- either they are 1)a true scam, using a term that diverts the law but sounds right to newbies or 2)are so new and green that they dont even know that the laws exist and are doing damage to their reputation. Now, there are ways you could spin it so that “casting agent” sounds like someone from the outside just not knowing any better, but if you plan to pursue work in those cities, its best to learn the lingo, and the laws. But otherwise, excellent info!

  40. gena says:

    How do u receive your money back if you been scaled. So Iu say if they ask for money upfront it’s a scam?

    • debmcalister says:

      I don’t know; I am not an attorney, and I’ve never been in the position of asking for a refund from someone who sold me a service I did not need.

      Also, I didn’t say that there are no circumstances when parents of would-be child actors don’t legitimately pay a fee to a service before their child is cast. I said that there are companies out there who prey on children’s dreams, by charging parents thousands of dollars for things that should be free, or don’t need to be done at all.

      The road to Hollywood is paved with money — your money, being paid to coaches, schools, videographers, web hosting services for demo reels and resumes, photographers, and all the other people out there who provide valuable services that an actor needs. But those are tangible services, where you know exactly what you’re paying for, and why it’s important.

      The services I am talking about charge very high fees to “market” children to casting agents or talent agents. In my experience, that isn’t necessary. If you have paid one of these services, consult an attorney in your home town to see if there is a way to force a refund.

      Sorry that I am not more help!

      Regards, Deb

  41. janice says:

    Hi, i just called for an audition I heard about on the radio and I’m trying to figure out if its legit before I waste my time. please and thankyou!

    Hello Performer,

    We are so excited to hear that you are going to attend our Casting Hub audition for actors and models in the West Palm Beach area. Casting Hub is a social casting search granted to only a select few who meet industry standards through live evaluations by a Casting Hub Talent Advisor. Casting Hub provides thousands of castings and auditions for Feature Films, Soaps and Sitcoms, TV Shows and Modeling.

    The West Palm Beach area Audition for Casting Hub is:

    Date: August 3rd, 2013

    Palm Beach County Convention Center
    650 Okeechobee Boulevard
    West Palm Beach, FL 33401

    Please Call: (561) 366-3000 for direction questions only. For any further questions call 866-377-0695.

    The audition will be held in the hotel Ballroom. Please follow audition signs.

    Here are a few things to remember –
    • Arrive at least 15 minutes early. Doors close at your audition time.
    • Please note that any child under 18 will not be allowed to audition without being accompanied by a parent or legal guardian ONLY.
    • A state ID is required of EVERY ADULT in order to enter the audition.
    • Only children and members of the immediate family (up to 2 legal guardians per family) will be allowed to audition. Extended family members will not be permitted to enter the audition.
    • Bring a non-returnable photo.
    • Dress in upscale casual attire…no flip-flops.
    • The audition will last approximately one hour and thirty minutes to two hours.
    • Come with a smile, lots of energy, and excitement.

    Don’t forget to check us out on the web at:
    Like us on Facebook:
    Follow us on Twitter:


    Fort Lauderdale

    Head west on E Broward Blvd toward NE 3rd Ave
    Merge onto I-95 N via the ramp to W Palm Beach
    Take exit 70 to merge onto FL-704 E/Okeechobee Blvd toward Downtown

    Fort Myers

    Head northeast on FL-80 E/State Road 80 E toward Home Pl
    Turn right onto FL-80 E/US-27 S/State Road 80 E
    Turn left onto FL-80 E/Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd/State Road 80 E
    Continue to follow FL-80 E/State Road 80 E
    Turn right onto FL-80 E/US-441 S/US-98/State Road 80 E
    Continue to follow FL-80 E/US-98/State Road 80 E
    Take the Australian Ave exit on the left toward Palm Beach/International Airport
    Turn left onto Australian Ave
    Take the ramp onto Okeechobee Blvd

    Palm Bay

    Head south on FL-5 S/U.S. 1 S toward Overlook Dr
    Turn right onto Malabar Rd
    Turn left onto the Interstate 95 S ramp to Jacksonville
    Merge onto I-95 S
    Take exit 70 toward Okeechobee Blvd
    Keep left at the fork, follow signs for FL-704 E
    Turn left onto Okeechobee Blvd

    Please select and prepare one of the following commercials scripts from the list below.


    Ages 4 – 8 Years


    Ages 9 – 12 Years


    Ages 13 – 17 Female


    Ages 13 – 17 Male


    Female Ages 18 +


    Male Ages 18+


    Congrats to Gianna for booking two films this month!

    Congrats to Yousef for getting signed with one of the top agencies in Texas!

    Congrats to Sasha for Booking her First National Commercial!

    • debmcalister says:

      Hi, Janice —

      I have no direct information on any specific firm, and no way of knowing if an audition is “legitimate” or not. The purpose of my blog post is to share my own experience.

      We did not have to pay anyone to “market” our 12-year-old in order for him to get an agent. Our total cost to get him dozens of auditions is absolutely zero. His agent gets paid when he works, and she gets nothing until he is paid for his work.

      If you didn’t see this related blog post, written after the one on which you commented, it might answer some of your questions: What a REAL Acting Opportunity Looks Like for Would-be Child Actors

      I suggest that you listen carefully to the information you get at the event you signed up for. Afterwards, form your own opinions about the opportunity you’re being offered before you write any checks.

      I apologize if that sounds less than helpful.

      I can’t advise you about your specific situation, just share my own experiences. The more you know, the less likely you are to get fleeced by a scammer. So keep reading what other parents have to say, listen to anyone who wants to offer your child an opportunity, and then verify the information by talking to the parents of working child actors in your area or agents in your area.

      Then form your own opinion. You know your child best, and can decide for yourself what route to take in helping him or her achieve a dream.

      Best of luck! Thanks for reading and taking time to comment!

      Regards, Deb

    • Kristinab says:

      Janice—-if you don’t mind me asking….What ever happened with this? They (Casting Hub) are advertising again for this weekend in WPB and my son keeps giving me the number….

    • Terry says:

      That’s is verbatim the literature I got here in Corpus Christi Texas. I cant believe people are so low that they’d take that kind of money from families who can barely pay their bills as it is. I will see to it that at least one of these jerks gets a taste of his own medicine.

      • debmcalister says:

        Terry — The Harbor Playhouse in Corpus Christi has affordable classes for kids and adults, and has an excellent reputation. If you have a laptop or tablet with a built-in video camera and an application like FaceTime or Skype, there are also online acting classes and workshops your kids can take. And don’t forget summer camp: that’s a great way for kids to get the feel for acting, have fun, and meet other kids who are “in the business”. Texas has a number of summer camp programs for kids — the Movie Institute in Dallas is excellent. If you’d like to chat sometime about resources in Texas, send me an email, and I’ll be happy to respond directly.

        Regards, Deb

    • Monika Scaife says:

      Yep…. It’s a scam!!! I took my 8 year old to the one in Atlanta. They will call anybody back who is willing to give them $3000 to “showcase” your child on the Internet …
      Don’t waste your time …my daughter was heartbroken

      • debmcalister says:

        Hi, Monika —

        I think the disappointment that kids feel when they see their hopes dashed is the worst part about operations that advertise these “acting casting calls” directly to kids. I wish you and your daughter success in the slow process of developing her skills and finding a legitimate agent. The journey is worth it, and there aren’t any short cuts, but it can be a lot of fun along the way.

        Regards, Deb

    • Joshua says:

      What happend to the audition? . Please reply.

  42. Rudi says:

    Hi. Thanks a million for all the SAME REPETITVE story. For the past three years their “fee ” has been the same AND their ” SALES PITCH” EXACTLY and I mean ” EXACTLY” the same. Our call back seemingly ‘ READ” her lines to me. It seems word for word. It is extremely enticing and tempting but the amount of money required … well …. that’s what bothers us and we will take a miss on the call back, which my wife and I almost KNEW would happen as we had two beautiful and very attractive boys.
    Thanks to all for the postings.

  43. Alicia Gonsalves says:

    This was extremely helpful. I went to a “Castinghub” audition in Jacksonville Florida today and just got a call back tonight that my five year old daughter was one of the 40 kids selected amongst the 600 that auditioned. I am thrilled! And then they mentioned that they would love to meet my husband and to bring him to the Omni hotel tomorrow. This raised a red flag for me. The booklet that they gave me has different fee structures ranging from $1,950 up to $7,900. These fees are under the heading Professional Marketing. What I get for the money is access to local auditions or modeling jobs, access to find representation, live agent/manager audition ect. (No acting classes or such).
    I have read your article and some others and I think this might be a scam. I am going to call back the representative in the morning and ask a few more questions, but right now I’m seriously considering cancelling.
    I got the name of a local agent from one of the Mom’s that I was siting next to in the hotel ballroom (she was a bit skeptical too) and she said that there are no fees incurred unless a job is obtained, this agent also has a modelling and dance school. I think I will pursue this route.

    If this is a scam, it’s horrible the way the pump up the kids mentioning all their favorite Disney stars and how they could be just like them. I’m glad that my daughter is still very young so her hopes are not built up. She is just happy that she got to do an audition.

    • debmcalister says:

      Hi, Alicia — Thanks for taking time to read and comment. Kameron’s agent just sent an invitation for an open casting call that Disney is hosting this weekend in San Antonio. It is the first time I’ve ever seen a real Disney open casting call.

      The only cost for the Disney casting call was the parking at the place where the casting call was being held.

      The notice was very specific — certain times for certain skills, divided by age and even alphabet. And the “open call” wasn’t truly open to anyone: just to kids who already have SAG-franchised agents.

      We don’t usually do “open calls”, but we might have gone to this one just for the experience if Kameron were in Texas this weekend, but he’s at summer camp.

      It’s good to be careful and talk to other parents whenever it’s about your children, and I hope your daughter’s dreams come true!

      Regards, Deb

  44. Pingback: What a REAL Opportunity for a Child Actor Looks Like | Marketing Where Technology Intersects Life

  45. Shana Humble says:

    My son just had an audition today through this castinghub and is called back for a second audition tomorrow. Now I am not sure about sending him. Your article was very interesting and definitely helped with our decision on whether to move forward or not. I was also told that there would be that same $7900 fee but no half off!

    • debmcalister says:

      Hi, Shana —

      I am not advising you about any specific company. If you like the people you’ve met, and think that they can help your child in your city, then I wish you great success.

      But I am saying that my child has a callback on Wednesday for a Disney film — which he’s sandwiching in between work on another film. And while we’ve spent a lot of money on classes and coaching and travel, we never had to pay anyone to “market” him.

      An agent approached us after seeing Kameron in a student production at the end of a class at the local children’s theater. I didn’t like the first agent, asked around, and was referred to some other agents. We met with three, picked the one we liked, and Kameron got his first audition less than a week after we signed with our agent. Total elapsed time between the day he asked about getting an agent and the day we got one was about six weeks. Total elapsed time between the day he went on his first audition and his first paycheck as a working actor (a whopping $115 for an hour’s work) took a couple of months because the production company paid the invoice from the agent 60 days after it was submitted.

      It can’t hurt to let your son audition. Auditions are great practice — the more he does, the better. Kameron would audition for any part, and sometimes auditions for roles he knows he isn’t “right” for because it’s a casting director we haven’t met yet, and his agent wants him to meet as many as possible.

      Before you sign a contract or write a check, why not talk to the parents of some kids who have gone through the program, gotten agents, and are currently booking work in your city? (Not parents who are currently in the program: the parents of kids who have “graduated” from being marketed to agents, to actually having an agent.) Or why not talk to some of the SAG-franchised agents in your city about whether or not they have ever signed talent referred to them by the company you’re considering? (There is a list of SAG-franchised agents — that is the elite talent agents who work with top Screen Actors Guild talent — on the SAG website, divided by city and state.)

      That will let you know whether the deal you’re considering might be right for your child, in your city, in your situation. I don’t presume to know your situation, or your city.

      It’s possible that we just got lucky — I certainly feel lucky considering all the good things in our lives! So please don’t make a decision solely based on what I wrote. Just do your homework, and make the best decision possible for your son.

      Hope to see him on the big screen soon!

      Regards, Deb

  46. Betsy Serrano says:

    Thank you for posting this, we had a second audition for tomorrow and was told not to forget the checkbook. You saved us a lot of time and money.

    • debmcalister says:

      Betsy — Auditions are good, but unless the audition is for a class (and you do have to audition for some classes), I can’t think of a reason to need a checkbook for one. I hope your family finds all the success you want, while avoiding the bottom feeders who prey on children’s dreams!

      Regards, Deb

      • Terry says:

        So after what I went through with this company all week and after reading all of your comments, I surely hope each and every one of you all are going to join this lawsuit. I am for sure. These are sick people who have no conscience and always hold their “auditions” at holiday inn in their ball room. Makes me wonder about Holiday inn as well. But Im sure they are just happy to get their money. These people need to be stopped. I luckily wasn’t one who spent a bunch of money because I found out what a scam it was in the nic of time, However, I am a single mom and spent close to $300.00 on clothing for these auditions and my poor little girl was so excited to begin a career doing this. She doesn’t even know it was a scam yet cuz I don’t have the heart to tell her. Lets help the lady starting this class action law suit fry these jerks before they hurt more people.

      • debmcalister says:

        Just for the record, I am not a party to any litigation, and I know of no litigation, involving Casting Hub or any other marketing firm in the entertainment industry.

        The sole purpose in sharing the original post was to point out the differences between my own experience with a child who wanted to be an actor and those of a neighbor.

        If your child wants to be an actor, the best way to help him or her is to enroll them in a reputable local acting class, where the teachers/coaches will help them achieve their potential and introduce them to an agent when (if) they are ready.

        Best regards, Deb

  47. Jessica says:

    This information is so very helpful! I have an audition for my child this week and now I know what to look out for. Thank you!

  48. Raymon Caron says:

    Hi, I believe your web site may be having web browser compatibility problems.

    When I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine
    but when opening in Internet Explorer, it’s got some overlapping issues. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Besides that, wonderful site!

    • debmcalister says:

      I’m sorry that you experienced this problem. It seems to be common to WordPress blogs. I am an Internet Explorer user, and most WordPress sites look different in Safari and IE. I’m afraid I’m not proficient enough with WordPress to fix the problem, but I’d welcom any suggestions. Thanks for taking time to comment!

  49. O. Kuct says:

    I like this post, enjoyed this one thankyou for putting up.

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