I am a mother of a young child who has a legitimate agent for modeling and acting here in Houston, Texas. The company has been awarded by the Better Business Bureau many times.
As we are new to this, I am always anxious to get my child any auditions that seem reputable and possibly "the" chance to get a good job. Hence, when I was listening to one of our popular radio stations, 99.1, and heard an announcement that a very successful casting director from NYC was coming for one weekend only I got excited. He is involved and represents some very well known actors and television network. Some of those mentioned were, "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody," "Target," and the "Gilmore Girls."
Now, I googled him and saw that he personally was a major casting director. I called the number given immediately and was given an address and a noon audition time. I was also told that the purpose of his visit was to audition children for an upcoming "Hannah Montana" project.
When we got there, I discovered I was at a place called JRP. I had not heard of them or their poor reputation. There were several gentleman in suites who introduced their new owner, a Hollywood casting director, and a good friend from NYC (the casting director referred to above). We were told our children would be given three lines to read, coached before auditioning, then put on camera. We were given three lines, not coached, and not put on camera.
Much was said about how JRP has many famous clients and that they were the ONLY place in Houston that could get us on national tv commercials, etc.
They also told us we were to call a phone number at a specific time the next day to see if we got a callback.
I was somewhat suspicious after reading their literature later that day. I called my child's agent and she said not to sign a thing. She made me aware that JRP was a scam and has a bad reputation. This was very disappointing but at the same time enlightening - I was warned.
As predicted, when I called "Maui" at noon the next day, he said, "Your child has a callback! You must be here by 4:00 to sign our contract!" When I politely said that it was a Sunday and I would have to speak to my agent first, his tone of voice became dark. He went on and on about how I was passing up an opportunity of a lifetime (entailing spending over $1,000.00 in "classes"), and that my agent was a liar. He added that our agency was "only a school" and would never be able to get us any work.
This all become very ugly and upsetting. I again politely declined.
I am writing this to any parents out there who want legitimate agencies and do not want to be ripped off!! JRP is a franchise that scams innocent people out of a lot of money, then quickly moves on to other cities around the country. Always check websites like these as well as the Better Business Bureau before signing with anyone.
If someone says you need to pay for a callback and claims they can make you or your child a star - red flag. Do not do it. No one can guarentee such a thing. Hope this helps someone and good luck to all you talented people out there!
The Woodlands, Texas