My daughter just attended an audition for iPOP! in Houston, TX. She heard the ad on the radio for kids interested in being the next Hannah Montana. I wonder if Disney is aware of this scam. My daughter begged me to go. So, I called and we went. It was a big sales pitch for iPOP! SOin order for my daughter to get exposure - I need to pay to attend a convention in LA, with agents that may or may not really attend this event.
Being that the seminar was a big sales pitch, I was not surprised to see a woman and her daughter that had attended iPOP! and been offered a movie, or got a movie audition, or something. Both talked about how they had been involved with the JRP (John Robert Powers) acting school and that was how they ended up at iPOP!. The event is expensive and apparently, according to postings on this site, different prices are charged depending who recruits you.
I love the internet, and the research you can find. I found out, via Yahoo Answers, that iPOP! is apparently recruiting and training talent on their own to compete against the talent that are recruited and trained in the JRP schools. It appears that a number of franchise owners for JRP are not happy and the price difference comes from which avenue your child takes. A man from St. Louis included this in his Yahoo answer: how unfair it was to be recruiting outside of JRP and then training contestants to compete in the convention they run. That sounded a bit unfair, like Donald Trump's organization training our Miss Missouri to compete in the Miss USA pageant, which they run (I am certain there are laws against this).
Yahoo Answers is always a great source. Here is what I found concerning the relationship between the two: iPOP! and JRP are pretty much the same company. I attended an iPOP! event recently as a guest and I can tell you that you learn a great amount from just listening. iPOP! president is a guy named Joseph, JRP president is a guy named Ron, who seems to be in complete control of iPOP!, and the two are domestic partners. Can't get much closer than that! Also, I researched the iPOP! vice president, a Tiffany, who use to write articles for JRP in pageantry magazine.
Because I would not just subject my kid to an industry I knew nothing about, I decided to call the local JRP and ask about training and iPOP!. Here are some interesting facts I got from the very nice gal on the phone. First, the JRP in Houston is not involved with the iPOP! event being held this weekend. Next, I ask if the kids selected at the hotel would be trained by JRP, with a firm NO answer.
I was informed that the kids selected at JRP would be trained by Texas licensed instructors at JRP. This was a red flag. Who was going to train my kid? Finally, I ask who Barry McDonald was. After being placed on hold, I found out that Barry McDonald is a JRP manager in Miami, not a representative of iPOP! as he presented himself to be according to a report on this site.
However, JRP in Houston was awarded School of the Year for over all performance at the last iPOP! event. The gal on the phone did offer to sign me up for a general open audition, which I passed. She also told me that JRP Houston is licensed and regulated by the State of Texas, which they are. I checked the licensing website for the state and they are in good standing. I also found out that Page Parks, another Houston school, is also licensed so, I called them. They were extremely rude to me, but provided more information.
It appears to me that JRP has nothing to do with the iPOP! event being held at the hotel. I got pretty direct information that they were not iPOP! and that iPOP! was an option for kids wanting to find placement outside of Houston. I did call Page Parks, who is not associated with any type of convention, and considered conventions a total waste of time and money. Their school director did tell me that iPOP!, just like a convention called IMTA, should not be offering any type of training or consulting or prepping in the state unless it is being done by licensed instructors. Guess Texas takes this training thing really serious, which is great!!
My daughter takes dance and gymnastics, so I have no issue with paying for training. And the state licensing website outlines the cost of training offered at all three acting schools, one is in Dallas. I guess I would have felt more secure in this whole experience if I would not have gotten such conflicting information from iPOP! and JRP. Not to spoil my kid's opportunity, I called JRP Houston and set-up my daughter for an open audition, which is after Labor Day. Forget iPOP!
I did find out that CW39 did a very positive story on JRP in Houston recently and I researched it the stations website. Ask questions and read everything! I saw on Yahoo Answers that no one actor or model took the same path to becoming famous. I used that to convince my daughter that this less expensive path would work for now.
I will add a note after my audition at JRP.