My husband received a call from Mr. Les Pierce today saying that he wanted to "represent" my daughter. After a very convincing schpiel, my husband said we would be back in contact with him later today. My husband then called me on my cell phone.
We discussed the opportunity with ExploreTalent.com and he said I had never completed the registration. I told my husband that if I had not completed it, it was because it cost $$$$. I have been told time and again you DO NOT have to pay for an agent, manager, or scout to take you on.
Still, we are interested in LEGITAMATE opportunities, and my husband thought that Les might be different than others, like JRP (also a rip-off, but that is another story). My husband asked me to just call Les at 323-785-2000, extension 3065, and see what was up. My husband mentioned that I could get through on 323-785-2010 as well.
I called the 323-785-2000 number and an automated message came on asking me to hold. After about three minutes, a receptionist answered my call. I asked for Les but she said he was away from his desk. Instead of offering to send me to voicemail, she said she would take a message and asked for my name. Once I gave it to her, she said "Is the best number to reach you..."
It seemed strange that a scout or agent would read my number off of the CallerID. Usually most professionals ASK for your number, just to confirm, not read it back. I received a call back in a little under half an hour later. When I talked to Les, he was very smooth and sounded utterly professional.
Les and I talked for almost 20 minutes. I was very excited to hear about some of the potential opportunities, but I was wondering how he planned to send Ayana out on 15 auditions in 30 days. He also mentioned how she could possibly be flown out by CDs and companies like Nick and Disney. Les was very enthusiastic, but I had this voice in the back of my head saying something was up.
Because I have never completed a website for my daughter and I did not complete the Explore Talent registration, I had no idea HOW Les just knew my daughter was star-quality. He had not seen so much as a picture, so how could he guarentee that she was employable? By name only? I don't think so.
Anyway, we talked for a bit, and Les answered all of my questions quite frankly, until it came time to talk money. Les wanted our commiment, which I would not give without specific terms and conditions in front of me. His tone changed considerably when I asked point blank what I would have to do. That is when the $199 price was mentioned. Les assured me that it would ONLY be $199 for a year.
While that did not seem like much of an investment, I wondered aloud exactly what Les would do for us. He kept reiterating that he would work for us, he would not ask for any commission, and we would need to make sure that we set-up a trust for my daughter's earnings. HMMM, interesting.
How is Les benefitting from getting our daughter exposed if he does not get commission? What is his incentive to keep her working? Les casually mentioned that he did not have any talent in my daughter's age group, and he would only be taking on a few new faces for about six months. Okay, so what?
Things only ended after Les asked for my firm commitment and payment to get my daughter enrolled. I told Les I was highly interested, but I was at the gas station and did not even have my credit card to give him any information. I asked Les if I could call him back after I returned home. Suddenly, Les seemed very nervous.
It was like Les did not expect me to really call back once I got home. I am a firm believer in doing what you say you will do. I am also a firm believer of NEVER giving out your credit card number over the phone to someone you do not know, and always waiting 24 hours before any major purchase, contract or commitment.
As soon as I got home, I decided to Google Explore Talent, and here I am! While my experience was certainly not as bad as others, I want everyone to be on the lookout for these tricksters. Explore Talent is NOT legit, but you do not have to take my word for it- there are over 15 Rip-Off reports from all over the country in the past few years.
You can also look up Blake Yoon or the other principals of this company. Blake Yoon's website is well-below industry standards for a professional photographer, so I would be very cautions in trusting someone like that, especially a person that supposedly is a convicted felon!
A word to the wise- do your own research, but I would not do business with Explore Talent! Needless to say, Les was disappointed when my husband called him back and told him no thanks.