I think it may be in the best interest of other consumers to put my experience down on this website that I had with Options Talent Group. My story may look long but should there be anybody out there being persuaded by these a**holes and are interested in information about Option Talent's business and it's practices - please read what I have to say. Please pay particular attention to the phone conversation I had with their "executives". It will make the long read worth your while.
My experience began on July 5, 2002 when I accidentally rear-ended a lady (scout) in an auto accident. The lady was very nice to me for what had just taken place and before long she led me into a discussion about modelling. She complimented me on my looks and suggested that I go down to one of their open calls - that I might have what they are looking for.
Later that evening I drove 70+ miles to this open call with one of my friends and showed up at the scheduled time. They had me sign a paper that said something about it being OK for them to install cameras for security reasons or something and I waited in line with a handfull of other young people that were scouted. One by one they had us go into a room, have our shoulder measurements taken, and then have a couple pictures taken (one smiling and one not smiling). After this we were led into a small room with seats in it and a TV. We sat there and watched a video for a little bit that basically showed models being given awards, etc.
Once everybody got into the room a lady came in and began giving a presentation. At the beginning of this presentation a male and female who were very nice dressed and had the appearance of (in my opinion) of models came in and walked down the center aisle to have a seat at the rear of the room. After the lady speaking introduced herself she showed a video that had (suposable) success stories and it talked about the advantages of being with Options Talent. It briefly touched on the costs ($595). After this video the lady speaking described the process by which models normally go through to get work and how expensive it is to send all these composite cards in to agencies, etc, vs the cheap and effecient method of going through Options. She was also sure to point out that this was a very difficult business and that very few make it big.
I don't remember what all she said but she basically described how all these big agencies would be scoping out our pics on their site. She told us we were being evaluated during the presentation and afterward we would be given a brief interview where they'd tell us whether or not we'd be recieving a phone call the next day. She said there would be some of us that would not be moving forward with them and that this is nothing personal. She basically said it's due to the fact they are looking for somebody to meet a certain criteria. She said when we go in for our brief interview we should tell them whether or not we wanted to do modelling or acting.
We were called on one-by-one and when I was called on I went in there and the one model-looking lady that had sat at the rear of the room during the presentation was the one that gave me my "interview". As I entered the room she was gazing at me as if I were some sort of god or something and asked me how serious I was about it - on a scale of 10. I said if there was a lot of good potential in it for me I'd say at least a 9. They took my shoulder measurements again and this lady asked me to turn around in a 360 so they could get a better look at me. She said they were going to go ahead and set me up with a phone interview with their executives from Florida for the next day.
She gave me a pamphlet and told me to study it really good that night because when their executives gave me my interview I would be quized on it to see how serious I was about this.
I went home that night and read their pamphlet. It looked mostly good except for a few small things that just sounded really strange and false to me. I decided to check them out on the internet and I found all sorts of information on Options Talent
www.bbb.com (look at all entries for Options Talent - the majority of entries will show an unsatisfactory record with the Better Business Bureau)
At this point I knew they were a fraud but I decided to see how far they would take it - so I took the phone call when they called the next day. The talent executive, by the name of Rashida Coleman, that I spoke with sounded like a telemarketer. I asked and was told I would be able to work with JC Penny, Sears, and Wal-Mart through them. I was told I would definitely have a $70+ job an hour working in print advertising in no time at all. I was told they would give me a three week notice before I got set up with any jobs.
This woman even made a statement that involved them (Options Talent) actually booking me with a job even though they aren't supposed to be an agency that does that sort of thing. She mentioned the costs and asked me if I was serious about this. Through this part of the conversation I acted very unsure of whether or not I wanted to do this because of my current financial situation and the fact that I had just lost my job recently.
She told me she was going to speak with the executive director about me and review with her the discussion that she had with me to see if I could join them. When their executive director got on the phone I began coughing really bad and put her on hold to get a glass of water. Once I got my water I listened over the phone and observed this executive director and the first lady I was speaking with (Rashida) making comments about how I couldn't make up my mind and laughing about it (making fun of me).
When I got back on the phone I was coughing so hard I could barely speak, while suggesting I might need to go to the hospital. She told me she would put me back on the phone with Rashida to get their corporate number and address and even began trying to coax my credit card information out of me without my direct consent to pay this huge $595 bill while I hacked away on the phone.
After she asked for this I asked her to put me back on the phone with Rashida so I could get their corporate number and address. The conversation barely moved forward as I was screeching and coughing so hard on the phone at each word I tried to get out. I got their information and then Rashida suggested I go to the hospital, but not before she made an appointment for them to call me back the next day. They never did call back.
I did some research to see if they actually worked with the businesses I mentioned. It's hard to do because these stores usually go through agencies. JC-Penny has several agencies they go through. I called Sears' corporate office and they've never heard of OT. I called the photography and marketing division of Wal-Mart and was told that Wal-Mart uses it's own employees for models. This comfirms that I was lied to.
I wrote this long story to demonstrate that their open calls and general method of scouting gives the appearance of an audition and that they let on like they are sellective in who they pick to join their site. In reallity they will take anybody willing to pay. This combined with the fact that I was lied to by virtually all levels of their business (scout, open call session, executives) is ample evidence that they are operating a fraud.
I have filed a complaint with the FTC, the BBB, and my state's attorney general. I also have spent quite a lot of time discussion this matter on the http://pub65.ezboard.com/fnycastingsforumfrm1 that mysteriously disapeared. I noticed that OT seems to have online scouts or reps trying to discredit people's complaints and stories about them - just as I noticed some of them responding in rebuttles on this site.
I welcome any Options Talent representative to discuss this matter with me IN DETAIL.
Anybody thinking about signing up with these guys should save their money. If there is still any doubt - just go to http://www.optionstalent.com/Models/ and then go to the models news section. You will find several "success stories". Notice that they are either vague or mostly contain no specific names. The few that do show specific names really can't be considered a true success in my opinion. For example - check out Porschla Coleman and her www.jacksondeanmodels.com site.
All you have to do is read between the lines.....
Peru, Indiana Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Options Talent Emodel.com