I have two young daughters, ages 7 and 10 who are both pretty, talented and have great personalities. Both of them have expressed interests in acting and modeling. So, as their mother I call Page Parkes School and Agency to see what potential they have. I talk with a lady who wants to immediately meet the girls because she is looking for talent for Nickelodeon and Disney. I thought the girls would be so excited, because they love Nick and Disney more than anything. She schedules an appointment to meet with us exclusively the next day, Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. She tells me just bring some recent snap shots.
We go to their new building, that is quite old that is going through some updating on appearances. My first thought is the place looks like a dump and and my youngest daughter thought it was ugly. I really was expecting something more glamorous since their business is in modeling. We check in with a teenage receptionist, (It must me her first day on the job.) who doesn't seem to know much. Tells us to sign in and sit down. Only things that are available to sit on are small ottomans that are very uncomfortable and some Houston freebie magazines to look at. We later are told to go in a room at the end of the hall which is filled with rows of chairs and other parents are coming in with their children. I was surprised, because I thought this was an individual meeting.
Two ladies come in: one that looked like she put no effort in her appearance talks to us about the modeling business and the other one that does look like she has done some modeling,talks about the type of work Page Parkes get and how you need the proper training. They have us watch a VHS video that shows the famous Ms. Page Parkes.
Later we do get to meet with the lady that I talked over the phone. Probably the same lady that Dumb Dora talked to. Wow! You have beautiful daughters. But they need training since they have no experience or skills yet. I agree training is important because education in anything that you pursue is important. My younger daughter would need to go to a children's workshop for acting and modeling. Cost is somewhere around $700. My older daughter was too tall for her age and size of clothing for children so she could only do acting. ( I thought that I never would hear being too tall was not good in the modeling world.) She would go into preteen workshop for her age group. Cost around $1,000 + $250 for improvisation class. They need these classes because they are not ready to meet with Nick or Disney. Next year they will be.
I did feel a lot of pressure on signing the contracts that were given to me and the money that needed to be paid, but this is something that I wanted for my daughters. I planned to come back with my husband that I knew was more realistic on things than I can be and he would have to write the check.
I was surprised that I was able to talk my husband into going and we did get an individual meeting with our representative/sales person. A lot of pressure was put on us about getting their careers started. My husband did agree to putting my youngest daughter in because her class was cheaper and to see where this would go. Then we could enroll my oldest. It is a lot of money when you have two children. But he wanted to think about it overnight.
The next day, I talked with our sales rep to give her my husband's credit card number and she kept on telling me that my husband likes my younger daughter more than my older daughter and that she saw a lot more potential in my older one. She thought it was so unfair that he would not enroll her also. I decided to make 4 installment payments from my own budget for my older daughter.
The children's workshop class for my younger daughter was only for two days. One day for only one parent that can be there to be instructed on what to do for the upcoming class for child, choosing clothes for photo shoot that would go into the child's portfolio, which lasted about an hour. The second day was the next week for the child which was about 4 hours. First two the child learns several poses to use for the camera, runway walk and no acting. (Kids don't need to learn acting. They are basically cute in no matter what they do. The just need to be comfortable being away from their parents.)
Second, two hours, parents come in and watch the kids do their poses. Parents are asked to bring their child's wardrobe picks. We had to sit through everybody wardrobes picks which seemed to drag on to wait to talk with the instructor about our child's evaluation. My daughter was starving. We were there from 4p.m. till about 9 p.m. I was told that my daughter did perfect in everything. I did feel that she or I didn't really learn anything from what we paid for. Poses were just really basic. Hands on hips, smile, point fingers at camera and twist here and there. Felt like a lot of time was just wasted on waiting.
Next thing we had to do was the photo shoot with her whole class of eight. It was scheduled a week later early on a Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. There was to be 3 changes of clothing. Bring lunch and something to entertain your child with because the children will be there about four hours.The photographer did not have a a real studio.
It was in a loft apartment in Houston's warehouse district downtown which was also a dump. He was late and a lot of us had to stand outside till his assistant/makeup artist showed up to let us in. There was not enough of furniture for the parents and the children to sit on while we waited and waited and waited through out this day. (They really don't want parents there, but since this was the younger children we were allowed.) But we were to have not involvement with the child while they took their pictures. We did need to help them get changed into their clothes. The photographer wasn't too friendly. He never talked, just seem to grunt.
The class instructor was there to assist the photographer with the three changes of clothing, helped the children with poses and steam clothes that were winkled. Most of the children didn't seem to remember what they learned from their two hours. This dragged on to about 4:30 p.m. Just imagine any child from the ages 5 to 8 to sit around in the same place for six and a half hours. The children did get to do make up and hair styles for each if their three pictures. The photographer had to do two in-studio shots: one with a blue background with the child being active. One on a hardwood floor with the child laying on their stomach focusing on their face. Floor was dirty which showed up in pictures. Some pictures showed dirt and ink on my daughters hands since she was bored from playing her gameboy, watching her dvd player and reading a book, she drew pictures with my pen. These were pictures we couldn't use.
Looks like someone could have noticed this. The children were starving, because they already ate what they brought for lunch and their snacks and we had to wait and wait. The photographer took a lot of breaks. At the end they went outside to take pictures in front of the building. It made me wonder why they didn't sign each child an individual time for their shoots.
We had to wait six weeks later to receive the pictures. The pictures were really of bad quality. (I agree with Dave.) The lighting was bad. Cropping was horrible. My daughter is very photogenic and these were probably her worse. My husband does photography for a hobby.
The next step is to set your appointment for the interview with the agency Page 713. First your need your portfolio with your pictures to present on the interview. This is when things start to really get unorganized by Page Parkes. (Or they just don't care.) They are suppose to call you when the pictures arrive at their office for you to pick up and you also receive a portfolio to put them in. They never called. When I called the pictures were never there. I did make the appointment for the six weeks time frame that we should set it up. They told me not to worry about the pictures just come to the appointment and they should be there on that day.
We showed up early for the long anticipated interview with the agency. This is the interview where they will decide to represent your child and send her out for auditions. My daughter dressed up real cute and had her hair styled. (We were prepared: we rehersed her poses and worked on several questions that they might ask her.) I asked a different teenage receptionist that looked like it was her first day on the job too about the pictures that should be there. She had no idea on what I was talking about. She had to get up and leave the room several times to come back and tell me just wait and sign in. We were the first ones there and the first one on the list.
We wait on the uncomfortable ottoman chairs as other parents and their children come in for their interviews with the agency. Later the director comes in and tells us we need to go back to the big room and to pick up our picture packs and put them in the portfolios. We walk back in the room. I open the pack to look at the pictures which I was very disappointed in. (Previous paragraph that I mentioned.) The director comes in and starts telling us to put them in a certain order. As I am doing this they call my daughter's name with about four others. She is the first one on the list. She is suppose to go stand in line and wait at the door. I frantically start stuffing the pictures in the portfolio and give them to her to take with her. They stand waiting for about 5 minutes. She goes in the room. The door closes.
In less than a minute later she comes out. That was it. Another child goes in and comes out in less than a minute. We were free to go. We past our representative on our way out. We say hello, she just ignores us. Before we paid any money, she acted like she was our best friend. They will send us a letter in the mail if she is accepted or not.
I asked her what she did in there. She introduced her self with her big smile. Did her poses for me on what she did. I thought she did just as great as she did in the class.
Two weeks later they send us a letter that she was not accepted. Reason was that she didn't have any personality and her photo posing needed work on. They did say she could try again in six months. They also sent us a letter of other agencies that we can go to, since we have training and a portfolio. I called the agencies: the first one no longer existed, second one was some unknown name that did represent people and the rest were agency/schools.
They would not represent you unless you went to and paid for their modeling school. Even if you did have the training, it wouldn't be fair to their students. (These schools did seem to have move training, by meeting once a week for six weeks.) I felt that I was scammed on paying for a lot of money on a class that didn't teach anything, a lot of wasted time and energy on our part and the disappointment that I had to tell my daughter.
I did call the school to let them know that I wasn't happy with the pictures and thought that they could have been part of why she wasn't picked. I also left a message with Page Parkes on her voice mail. Page was in Dallas. She did call me. She was real nice and asked me to drop off my daughter's portfolio at the studio and she would look at it. She called me back to let me know that she thought my daughter was beautiful. She and the instructor had thought the pictures were fine and to go ahead and use them.
I schedule another appointment to meet for the agency interview two weeks later. We did receive a letter in 4 days that said she was accepted by Page 713.
We go to another meeting with a bunch of parents with their children that had been accepted. This is still on the school side in the big room and wait for our agency representative. She tells us we need to turn in our portfolios so that they can't make composite cards (model's business cards) that are passed out to their clients. Cost: $100 for 50 or $140 for 100. We are explained that we are to call her about every two weeks to let her know that the child is available. She tells us how to fill out their time card, what the rates are and be sure to get signatures. She answers questions that we might have. Once the composite cards are ready; the child is available to be sent out on casting calls.
It took about six weeks to get the composite cards in because of the printing in Florida. She got her first call in about 3 weeks time to go to Academy for a back to school ad. This is where it really gets bad on their part on organization. They have some young girl, who seems to be very clueless, that calls and says your child has been requested and they will send you an email for the instructions and directions. I asked her questions where we are suppose to go, she has no idea, it will be emailed. I even try to verify that they have our correct email in which she said that they have. The only thing that she told me that it would be this Saturday at 1:00 p.m. I wait for two days, still no email. It is now Friday and I have no idea where we are suppose to go.
I called and talk with the same girl and she says she will leave a message. Saturday, morning, no return call or email. The agency closes on the weekends so I get a hold to our rep or the clueless girl. I call the school because they are open on Saturday for casting calls. There is now a guy there that I have become familiar with on the school side that has become the permanent receptionist. He actually is good and does seem to care to be of help and find answers on matters. I explain to him that we have our first call and never received our email on what the address is. He said that he would like to get a hold of our agency rep and see if he can email me the info. He does speak to her and calls me back and said that he was able to cut and base some things on her computer.
The email that I get is a list of kids being interviewed with my daughter's name and how they should dress. NO ADDRESS! I called back. No one there knows where their biggest client, Academy, does their casting calls. It is not at Page Parkes of Academy. I look up Academy's website. (Oh, by the way, if you want to get you foot into modeling, go straight to Academy's website. You can register yourself to model for their ads and send in your pictures with out having an agency. Academy is the biggest gig that you can get in Houston, from what I learned. )I called the corporate store in Katy, but because it is Saturday, I couldn't get any body besides retail people.
I call back again to the school and speak to the same guy; he somehow found out that Academy uses a certain photographer's studio for their casting calls. He has no idea where it is but told me her name and to look her up on the internet. I find her name and number and was able to get a hold of her asking where her studio was. She was upset that Page Parkes was giving her number out for casting calls. I told her that I had to look her up and apologized for her time. We had an hour's time to make it there. They seemed to be real exited about my daughter when we got there and seemed like they really wanted her to be in their ad. They thought that she was really cute. They were telling us that Hillary Duff started out at Academy.
We never heard anything after that which meant she didn't get the part.
I tried to follow up with our agency the following Monday, to make sure she had our correct email by phone and email. She never called me back to answer what happen.
A week later the Page Parks school, (I thought it was the Agency since they represent my daughter now.) calls me to let us know that they would like her to try out for the Kids Agency Review. This is the one that Nickelodeon, Disney, JC Penny, Palais Royal and a whole lot others come to Houston through Page Parkes. They make an appointment for her. We show up on the agency side but instructed that it is on the school side. We go back to the large room where there are a whole lot of parents and children. This time my older daughter comes with us. She has graduated the preteen camp and was rejected on two Page 713 interviews. Reason: Needs to work on her acting skills.
Since then, she has been going to a weekly acting class somewhere else and I even hired her a personal acting coach to help her third interview that we were planning on. I asked while I was signing up for my younger daughter if my older daughter could try out too since it was on the school side. They said that would be find. We are back in the large room in the back where we get the same two ladies from the first time talking about what a great opportunity Kids Agency Review was. They had 4 kids from last year that went who are now on Disney and Nickelodeon. Each child will get interviewed for their modeling, acting and singing or dance and have the chance to meet with all this great agents. It does have a cost to be in it depending on what categories that your child will try out for.
We meet back with our sales rep we had before who somehow thinks that it is my older daughter that was with the agency, not my younger one. Both have to do their run way walk and read a small script to see if they get chosen. My oldest daughter who has a beautiful voice tries out for the singing interview The both received 4.5 to 5 points on their categories. You had to get at least a 4 to be represented for the Kids Agency review. We then had to talk about signing a contract and put down a $250 down payment for each daughter and later pay the remaining balance of $1,200. This includes needed new head shots and composited pictures. So being, an idiot, I signed up for this too which will take place in about six months in November.
The second call we get from the Agency is that my daughter is wanted to be seen by Academy again for their sports ads But this time at Page Parkes. I do get the correct email for this and told that she needs to wear sports clothes. We show up. It is at the school side back in the big room with a whole lot of other parents and kids. All we do is wait on the order that you signed on the list. AS we wait the director comes in and tells everyone about Kids Agent Review and to sign up for it because they just reduced the price. When it was my daughter's turn, she goes in and shows them her portfolio and they ask her a few questions.We don't here anything about this. I called to follow up and actually did get to speak to our agency rep who just told me that this particular call was just for their client to get to meet and become familiar with their models that Page 713 represents. Also, she complains that I shouldn't be calling her that she would prefer that I would email her.
The third call we get a call that my daughter to go out to San Marcus for the upcoming Saturday for an interview for a commercial that doesn't have any verbal. I should wait for the email. I did get it two days later after calling several times. Told me probably because it was going to to my junk mail trash. I checked and it wasn't .
But it is not in San Marcus, it is on a street call San Marcus in Austin and pay would be for $400. My husband took a day off work to drive us there. This place was in a very seed part of downtown Austin. Homeless people were walking around. Signs were posted all over parking lot not to leave valuables in the car. My husband started to get mad that I would bring our whole family out to this place. I suggested to just turn back home because no one wanted to get out of the car. Once we parked we had some guy on drugs with needle marks all over his arms that tried to open my door to ask me for money when I was trying to get some things out of the car. I thought he was going to rob us because he would not go away. I had to grab my daughters and run into the building while my husband tried to deal with this guy. We decided to go on with the interview even thou planning not to return if they picked her. Which we never did get a call that she was picked.
The fourth call that I get which was about a week later saying that my daughter has been requested for a commercial for Fiesta Grocery Store to be in a Nativity Scene. The just received the request and it was going to be that day in three hours can we be there? We would need to bring a prop such as a scarf or cane. I didn't want her to miss our on any opportunities, so I agreed to it.
Received the email, printed out a map how to get there. Got my daughter dressed, looked for a long scarf, got the portfolio and headed out there. It was east on I-10 where a lot of construction was going on and traffic was backed up. The place was in some industrial park area where a lot of big semi trucks were and I kept going in circles looking for the place and could not seem to find it and were running late. I called to let Page 713 to know that we are having a hard time finding it and that we will be late. There were no help in telling us where it might could be but it would be OK to be late. I gave up after a third semi truck try to turn into me on the narrow lanes at he time that our car was sitting in an intersection.
My motto is not to quit on any dream and to keep trying. But I started to wonder why am I risking our lives going into areas that I would void to go into no matter what. I am dealing with an agency that is suppose to represent us, which is so unorganized and has absolutely no communication and it just sees like I am suppose to keep my mouth shut about everything and my wallet open. My biggest concern was if my daughter does have potential would I ruin it for her if I quit because we are both not having fun.
I decided to stop by Page Parkes to let them know that we were not able to make it and also if I could talk to someone about my daughter's potential because I am having a lot of concerns. The receptionist gets the fashion representative, who, is not really inviting to have me come in her office to talk. She wants to know what the problem is. I mention about three horrible experiences that I had and that we would really like to continue to pursue this if they think my daughter has potential.
I guess I really made her angry, because she said that I was insulting her clients and that I have too high expectations. She gets me pretty heated up that I said that my daughter can do a lot of things and that we should do something else besides this. She looks in the computer to see what my daughter has done so far. She tries to tell me that my daughter has gotten a lot of requests while a lot of other kids don't even get calls for a whole year and that I should be grateful. My concern is that we are not getting anywhere and that kids that you see in some on their client's ads are not really that cute and we really would like to get some feedback. She says that she should just end my daughter's contract.
At that point that was fine with me, but I would like to have my money back on the deposit that I put down on the Kids Agency review. She said that she would be glad to walk me over to the other side and have them refund my money back. They said that they would mail it to me and also email me.
Later I get a call from our sales rep on the school side that is all up set with me for acting the way that I did. I did appreciate that she called me and that we might could work something out. She says my daughter is the most requested kid in the agency. I ask her if she is, then why is she not getting any offers. She wanted me to bring my daughter to talk with her become there is some problem that she has. We tried to make a couple of appointments, but I had second thoughts no to.
A month later, I decided to give Page a call again, because she was real open and helpful before. Again, I left a message with her and our agency rep. Page called me about two weeks later and wasn't as nice. She said that she did not want to represent my daughter because of me and that she did have potential. I tried to explain to her what happen, but she wouldn't listen to my side after she talked with the lady that I had an argument with.
Later, I called her back in which she was in a meeting. I left her message, about since she wasn't representing me, that I would like to have my money back on the deposit that I put up form both of my daughters Kids Agent review. I get a call later from the accountant that it has been in process, but somehow it was on its way to me mailed. I was expecting $500 because they said they would be glad to send me all of my deposit, but only got $250 because of the new head shots and composite cards. I feel it was their decision to end my contract and that I couldn't be represented and now I am stuck with a bunch of pictures that has their name on it. For the principle of it, I really would like to have the rest of my deposit back.