Report: #280933

Complaint Review: Gary Spatz's The Payground

  • Submitted: Thu, October 25, 2007
  • Updated: Tue, September 21, 2010
  • Reported By: Brentwood California
  • Gary Spatz's The Payground
    1801 Ave Of The Stars, Suite 611, Los Angeles, CA 90067
    Los Angeles, California

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Gary Spatz and Eric Rottman

Artists Promotion and Marketing seems to have changed its name but not to protect the innocent!
A few years ago I took my daughter to see Eric Rottman then president of Artists Promotions and Marketing who asked for $1500.00 for his and Gary Spatz's acting class. (I still have all the info) I recently was approached with my daughter by a 'scout' while out at the drug store. My now teenage daughter begged to try this again and with great reluctance I agreed. The audition was held at 1801 Ave. of the Stars. We arrive and much to my surprise there is Mr. Eric Rottman who seems to be running the whole show again. And get this, the new company is called 'Gary Spatz's The Playground. I wanted to confront them right then and there but bit my lip. We ended up talking with a slick-looking man named John Phillipson who ended up telling us that he was a manager with many success stories and then tried to sell us a class for almost $4000.00. C'mon guys. Once again I wasted time, gasoline and most importantly disappointed my daughter. I have been doing some digging on the company and there are quit a few people out there that are upset as well. I will be contacting the BBB, Department of the Consumer Affairs, Office of the Attorney General and as many other consumer groups as possible. These two guys have pushed me to far this time and I'm really ticked off. I will not rest until this is exposed for exactly what is! I encourage anyone who feels that they too have been misled to join in and let's together make a difference.

A very angry parent

Angry mom
Brentwood, California
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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 10/25/2007 03:53 PM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: Brad6978 - (U.S.A.)

Fraudulent Practices

My goal is to warn new parents to this awful scam. We went through the whole process with this company including spending thousands and going to classes. I know the SCAM!

Ok, here is the deal with this company.
You are out with your family and are approached by a women, she tells you what a cute kid you have and begs you to come to an audition or tryout. You attend, and the whole process is designed to get your child's hopes up. They line the walls with photos of teen stars and autographs. Your child is excited and on the drive home you can only hope you get a call back. (don't worry, everyone will get a call back if they think you have money) The next day or two you will indeed receive a call. They think your child is great! But, you will need to fork over $3000-$5000 per child for their "wonderful" acting classes to prepare" her or him for the big time". Sound familiar to anyone?

Here is what I have found out about this company and its operators.

This group has been at this for many years in several states. They change company names, leave town and close the doors when there becomes too much heat or the law is on their trail. There is now so much bad press and an investigation by the authorities that it would not surprise me if they were planning an exit strategy for "The Playground" as I write this.

Google Eric Rotman, Gary Spatz and previous company names. O'brien Rottman Studios (shut down in Dallas, Phoenix, San Francisco and Los Angeles) and Artist Promotion and Marketing. The list goes on.

The bottom line is if you have been contacted by this group do not fall for the scam. You do not need to spend thousands of dollars to get started. There are tons of great acting classes out there for a lot less money. And are just as good if not better. (our teacher was nice enough but not that good) Go online and check out "Backstage" a wonderful recourse for teens wanting to get started. Also, check out "BizParentz" a non-profit site run by parents that have kids in the business.

I hope this helpful to some one and will inform people about this compnay. I can put up with a lot in this world but, taking advantage of children is not cool, and this company has to be stopped!
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#2 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Rebuttal from Gary Spatz, owner of The Playground, to comments made by 'Angry Mom from Brentwood'

AUTHOR: Gary - (U.S.A.)

Recently this letter from angry mom from Brentwood' was brought to my attention, and I feel compelled to respond. Let me state some facts categorically. In over 20 years of teaching and coaching on the highest levels of this industry as well as working with literally thousands of students I've yet to receive one complaint that is registered with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). I've never met this mom from Brentwood or her child so I don't know who they are but I can state with certainty that the information contained in her letter is inaccurate.

I'm extremely proud of The Playground facility we've created in Century City. And, although our classes aren't inexpensive, I believe they're well worth the value. Which, by the way, is not "a class for almost $4,000". I have a two-year conservatory program, which, yes, does cost in the thousands. But as of yet I have received no complaints from the parents or children who have attended these classes (and, again, we have a spotless record with the BBB). Quite the contrary, if you go to the Gary Spatz Playground website we have recently posted a testimonial board from the parents and children who attend our classes. Their words speak for themselves. Or, if you like, you're welcome to come down any weekend and talk to the parents who actually have children attending classes and get their reactions to our program. I believe you'll get an honest assessment of what we're trying to do with our young actor's conservatory.

I also wish to state that I believe it's just as valuable and valid for a child who's studying acting, whether they pursue this professionally or not, to acquire the communication skills we nurture in these classes. This can have a profound impact on their self-esteem and their confidence in expressing themselves. Time and time again I've had parents send me letters or comment to me on how positive their experience at The Playground has been for their child.

I've tried to take all the expertise that I've gathered over 20 plus years to fashion a thorough curriculum for the young actor to develop a true sense of the craft as well as create a positive and professional environment in which to perform in. I believe I enjoy a first class reputation as someone who knows what they're doing and has great integrity and passion for how they go about doing it. I've used this knowledge to create The Playground, which I hope would be a world-class conservatory for young actors.

We keep the classes small (an average of 12 students per class), two teachers in every classroom (both of which are well-trained actors with college degrees and many with post-graduate degrees) so there's plenty of supervision, along with myself who oversees the lesson plans that I've created. It is a curriculum that I believe in and that along with professional lighting, cameras, and equipment creates a professional studio environment that the young actor can perform in.

In addition, as part of the program we record the student doing a commercial, monologue, or scene so that their parents might have a DVD of some of their best work. And, by the way, the library of material that I've collected over the last 25 years is, I believe, unlike anything else far as the variety of scripts and scenes and monologues suited for young actors. Along with this, there are make up classes, parent's conferences, and a business seminar that I hold for the parents separately for questions they may have about the industry. We include all this and more as part of the program we have at The Playground.

I will give a few examples that I think say quite a bit about the quality of our program. One, not everyone signs up for the full 2-year program. You can sign up for a 6 month, 24 week, session. Of the students that sign up for the first six months, I would say 75-80 percent, decide to resign and continue their studies beyond those initial 24 weeks. Obviously if the parent(s) or child weren't happy with our program, I think this number would be drastically lower.

Second, I've noticed over the last three years that many of the top industry professionals, be they talent agents, managers, directors, producers, writers, etc, have sent or recommended family members to attend my classes. These are industry insiders who have the ability to check me out' beyond the obvious information that is available on the Internet and they have the resources for their kids to study anywhere. Their main concern, as with any parent, is to find the best possible instruction for their aspiring actor. They are attending and continue to attend our classes at The Playground. I do not court the industry but I have found that time and time again I am recommended to them. And I do not think they'd be coming if they questioned the authenticity of my program or my professional integrity.

I know we give tremendous value for the money that is spent by parents. My resume and biography is easily available to anyone who wishes to view my qualifications. I think logic would dictate that I would not be employed by the top networks and studios to work with their star performers if I wasn't well vetted (investigated) into my expertise and character. Especially a company like Disney, that I've been so closely associated with for 20 years. From "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" and "Mickey Mouse Club" all the way to the present, having been the acting coach for Dylan and Cole Sprouse over the last 3 years for "The Suite Life of Zach and Cody." I think it's obvious that my reputation is unblemished as it should be for someone who works with children. I've done my best to maintain the same caliber of instruction from the coaching I do on sets to the classes we teach at The Playground.

If this rebuttal comes off as a bit of a rant, I apologize. I'm not used to being taken to task for something that I've devoted my adult life to and feel so passionately about. Let's put it this way, it's better you're hearing from me than my wife because she's really livid!

Okay, enough said. I wanted to rebut this letter but I do not wish to engage in an ongoing communication on the Internet with some anonymous person. If this angry mom from Brentwood' or anyone else wishes to talk with me, I'm very easy to find. My office is 1801 Ave of the Stars, Suite 611 Century City, CA 90067. My website,, has my email address as well as my resume and bio. In other words, if you wish to have a conversation with me please do me the respect of meeting with me in person or talking with me on the phone. I believe that's only fair.

Having never written one of these things before I hope you'll print it in its entirety and post it for all to see.

Thank you,

Gary Spatz
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