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Report: #152683

Complaint Review: Gary Spatz - Los Angeles California

  • Submitted: Fri, August 05, 2005
  • Updated: Sun, August 08, 2010
  • Reported By: Beverly Hills California
  • Gary Spatz
    1801 Ave Of The Stars # 611
    Los Angeles, California
    U.S.A.

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Gary Spatz Alert! Buyer Beware

Last year my husband and I took my son to an audition after being approached at the mall by a woman. We were called back by a man named Brook Bishop (supposedly a former male model) and an employee of a company called APM talent. After a 10 minute telephone conversation we agreed to come in for a second time and that's when we were given the strong sales pitch. In order to be accepted we must spend over $2000 in fees for pictures and classes taught by Gary Spatz, a then respected acting coach.

Deciding the classes were grossly expensive we came home and checked with the BBB of southern California. We found company owner Eric Rottman had a lot of problems with his former companies here and in other states. We were relieved and disappointed at the some time. It was all just a scam. We did eventually find our son a legitimate agent and he is doing well.

Unfortunately, the story does not end there. Now just over a year later my neighbor and her daughter were approached at the mall, attended an event and called back by a man named Mr.Bishop. His new company now located in Century City is called Gary Spatz's The Playground. Once again he told my neighbor they would have to spend thousands for acting classes taught by the very same Gary Spatz. After talking to my son's agent apparently Mr Spatz at one time was reputable however, he is fast acquiring the reputation of running an overpriced acting mill. Scam artists are plentiful in this business so, if you have paid this company dimes demand your money back now!

You don't' have to spend thousands of dollars on acting classes. Call the Screen Actors Guild, buy a Back Stage West, contact your local community college or even ask a friend. Legitimate acting classes are just a couple of hundred dollars for six to eight weeks and most have agent showcases. All the real experts say that's all you need when you're just starting out to make sure your child is going to stick with it.

The City Attorneys office has a hotline for these types of scams 213-978-8100.

Protect our children.

A Parent

Cindy
Los Angels, California
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/05/2005 03:37 PM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/gary-spatz/los-angeles-california-90067/gary-spatz-alert-buyer-beware-ripoff-if-you-have-paid-this-company-dimes-demand-your-mo-152683. 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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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
0Author
11Consumer
2Employee/Owner

#1 Consumer Comment

Gary Spatz Scam New Law Passed!

AUTHOR: lynnforlife - (United States of America)

NEW LAW was passed and is now in effect!

Deputy L.A. City Attorney Mark Lambert says:

"Thanks to the AB1319 law, talent school scammers will hold their next audition in jail."

This new law has been a long time comming and these scam schools that charge up to $9000 for classes will soon be a thing of the past. Mark Lambert is well aware of Gary Spatz and Eric Rottman, he now has the new law to go after these two and their employees. The new law prohibits "scouts" from aproaching you at the mall and then informing you that you need to fork over thousands for classes. Sound familiar?

READ ALL ABOUT THE NEW LAW AT bizparentz.org. The owner was very helpfull in getting this new law passed as well. If you have been contacted by this company for classes do yourself a favor and first call Mark Lambert to get all the facts. Don't let your child be the next victim of this operation. If you have already given them money, ask for a full refund.

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#2 REBUTTAL Individual responds

Gary Spatz Best Acting Coach

AUTHOR: allthetruth2010 - (United States of America)


Visit http://www.GarySpatzActingCoach.com for more info.
Gary Spatz is one of the most respected acting teachers for children
in the United States. He regularly coaches actors for auditions and
callbacks for feature films and episodic television.  Gary's been
teaching classes for children and teens for over 20 years. Gary Spatz
has completed his third season as the acting coach for Dylan and Cole
Sprouse, the stars of the hit Disney Channel series "the Suite Life
of
Zack and Cody".In the past, Gary has served as the Childrens acting
coach for many television productions, including the Emmy award
winning CBS sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, Rosanne, Sister,
Sister, The Jeff Foxworthy Show, and The Smart Guy

Gary Spatz's "The Playground" is located in the heart of the Century
City area of Los Angeles, adjacent to the Westfield Shopping Center.
The space has been designed to create a comfort zone for the actor
while simultaneously providing a professional atmosphere with studio-
grade lights, cameras and monitors.


Gary Spatz has been the acting coach on several Disney productions
including MMC (the New Mickey Mouse Club, where he also served as
creative consultant) and the feature film Honey I Shrunk the Kids. He
specializes in teaching young performers and has taught young actors
that have gone on to star in such productions as Felicity, Beverly
Hills 90210, Malcolm in the Middle, That 70s Show, Jurassic Park, and
many many more.


http://GarySpatzHollywood.com
http://GarySpatzThePlayground.com
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http://GarySpatzPlayground.com


http://GarySpatzPlayground.org


http://GarySpatzPlayground.net


http://GarySpatzPlayground.us


http://GarySpatzPlayground.info


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http://GarySpatzActingTeacher.com
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#3 Consumer Comment

Gary Spatz The Playground Big Ol Scam!

AUTHOR: Cynthia76 - (U.S.A.)

I would like to share my experience with a company called Gary Spatz , Gary Spatz The Playground and Gary Spatz a Young Actors Conservatory.
I took my husband and our son to what was touted as an open audition, after a woman approached us in a grocery store parking lot. She told me how handsome my son was, and her manager would love to see him. She also told us that he managed the kids from the Suite Life of Zack and Cody. I ask if there are any costs or fees. She responded absolutely not! And almost seemed insulted I would ask such a thing. We show up and there are many hopeful children lined up whose parents were also taken in by this smooth talking woman. After what could only be compared to a bad Time Share presentation, we meet with a man. He asks if we are serious about my son getting into acting. After a little small talk he said they would be in touch. There was something very disturbing about all this and we waited for the next contact. One day later we get the great news. We were asked to come in for a second audition and meet with him again. We arrive a little early and sit in the waiting area talking to a few of the other families. We compared notes and it was becoming clear were this scam was going. We are soon whisked away to an office and what a sales pitch! He finally came around to asking for over $ 6000 for classes. (Yes, that was six thousand dollars!) We gave him the old checks in the mail and walked out the door.
At this point we had enough information to look up this company and see what is out there. They don't provide any company information when the invite to the audition is made, I wonder why? I could not believe all the information others have provided on their experiences with Gary Spatz and his scam.
Why I think this is place is a scam? The first indication is the way they recruit new children. It's a simple bait and switch. The street scout tricks you into thinking this is a real audition and there are no costs involved. This is not only misleading, but in most states illegal. The fact that they have to depend on misleading people from the very beginning should tell you something. The good news is there is a new law being passed before year's end that applies to all advance fee talent companies to avoid just this. The lawmakers are aware of this loop hole in the law that was passed several years ago. Thus, making it a crime to market the way Gary Spatz does now.
Apparently, The Playground does not play around when it comes sticking it to you in regards to pricing either. I have now priced classes from 6 companies that have been referred by various sources and by looking online. These are people and companies that are not plastered all over the internet with angry parents. The prices averaged 50% -75% less than what good old Gary charges. This is also a warning sign that this is a scam. I even received an e-mail from one acting coach who has known Gary Spatz for years, he said it was disturbing what Gary was doing and he was very disappointed. I told him how disappointed my family was when we found out we had been just another $ sign to Gary.
If it seems I'm being harsh on Gary, do this. If you dig a little, follow the many posts by others, you will uncover this is not the first company Gary has been with. He hooked up with a con man named Eric Rottman, who has been investigated, sued and closed down for operating similar acting scams. Gary Spatz is not just a figure head of the company who got caught up with a bad group. He is very aware of what is going on and profits greatly.
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#4 Consumer Comment

Gary Spatz and The Playground is a Big Time Scam

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

We just went through this scam company here is what I have learned.
A new way that these "scouts" try to get your money is by going out and finding your child at local shopping malls and other public locations. They approach you and tell you how good your child looks and how they could possibly be a big star. After these acting "scouts" lure you in, they have you come to a tryout where they have you sit and listen to someone talk about the fame and fortune and what your child can get from acting and modeling, they're just getting you and your kids excited when they do this. It is a ploy used by many. You then what for a call back. Just when it seems like this is your child's big break your learn what they are really after, $3000-$5000 dollars for acting classes. Now don't get me wrong here, this company will provide acting"lessons", but every child agent I have talked too agrees, that this company charges many times over what classes should cost, and the benefits do not warrant the excess cost. Legitimate acting classes do not have to hunt children down at the malls and mislead parents. I would think long and hard about spending this kind of money. Call around and talk to a few places. This industry if full of scam artists and you really need to be careful.

Gary must be real proud of what he has become. How sad to have to make a living scamming kids for an easy buck.
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#5 Consumer Suggestion

This is my experience with this scam school.

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

Just started taking my teenage daughter to classes here and It does not please me to say it but, we feel ripped off just after 6 weeks. Not everything is what they tell you when you sign up for this. So, I deiced to do some checking online and have found many things that are disturbing. I ended calling and talking to BizParentz Foundation as some one had suggested on another forum about this company. BizParentz is a non-profit company that is run by some really knowledgeable people who actually work and have kids working in TV and Film. They informed me that this company and it's two principles have been running these scam schools for a few years together. They have been forced to shut down by the authorities many times in three different states for over charging and misleading parents.It's all over the internet. And at one location they just left in the middle of the night. Not going to get in to all the details here.

If you are thinking about doing business with these people I would strongly suggest you do a little more homework. You should start with the internet and Google Gary. I have discovered there is a lot of info on these guys I'm sad to say. We really feel like suckers now and will be requesting a full refund. Good luck.

Legitimate acting schools charge about $95.00 a month ( 1 class a week) this place takes advantage of the uninformed. Mr Spatz may have been a good guy many years ago, but now is someone you want to stay clear of. Yes, his office is nice and it is all designed to separate you from your money. Simply do a little research and call other acting classes and see for yourself.
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#6 Consumer Suggestion

Fraudulent Practices

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

Fraudulent Practices

They are even telling people that all the negative things people are posting online about them are a competitor. I'm no competitor, just a dad that fell for their scam and my goal is to warn new parents to this awful truth. We went through the whole process with this company including spending thousands and going to classes. I know the SCAM, I know from experience!

Ok, here is the deal with this company.
You are out with your family and a women will come up to you and she tells you what a cute kid you have and begs you to come to an audition or what they call a 'tryout'. You attend, and the whole process is designed to get your child's hopes up about being an actor. They line the walls with photos of teen stars and autographs to complete the effect. 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 a few thousand dollars to spare) The next day or two you will indeed receive a call from Terry, John or who ever. 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? I thought so. Read on..

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

Gary and his group have been scamming kids and parents 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. They left Dallas in the middle of the night! There is now so many people posting their experiences with Gary Spatz, an investigation by the authorities and from what I understand a news expose that it would not surprise me if they were planning an exit strategy for 'The Playground' as I write this. Gary and his group will deny he has had anything to do with these other companies, you can't hide the truth these days thanks to the internet. Poor Gary....

Google Eric Rotman, Gary Spatz and previous company names like, 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. (our teacher was nice enough but not that good) DO YOURSELF and YOUR CHILD A BIG FAVOR and 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 and will inform people about this company. 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!

I would also be very suspicious about these "glowing" reviews!
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#7 Consumer Comment

Gary Spatz is not truthfull

AUTHOR: Miss Lynne - (U.S.A.)

Oh my Goodness. I'm glad I looked up Gary. I just went to the audition at the playground with my neighbor and we both got the phone call back, they wanted both our kids. After reading everything online it does not surprise me. Why don't they just be honest and tell us up front that they are a school? I agree it is not fair that they mislead you when they approach you at the mall and invite you to the audition. Thats what I have a real problem with here. It's not that they are a school but that they are not up front about it. I have talked to a friend who is in the business and he said stay away from this thing and thats what I plan on doing. I'm glad that some of you are having a good experience but I will do some more research and talk to some other places and then make a decision. I'm not trying to bash Gary but, this is my opinion and I'm going to voice it. Oh, by the way I just found this site. Its sounds like the same scam, too familiar!

http://www.atlantasyoungfaces.com/clarkh...
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#8 Consumer Comment

I was NOT ripped off.

AUTHOR: Littlefoo20 - (U.S.A.)

My son has been a student at Gary's school for almost a year and a half. When signing up, we were informed that this was strictly a school. We were NOT asked to give them money to have headshots taken. As far as I know, Gary Spatz's: The Playground is legit. The performance nights are not showcases used to get an agent for the children. They are tools in helping our children get accustomed to what it feels like to be in a real audition when they are faced with people they don't know and are asked to perform. That's ALL it is. If a parent wants to get their kid an agent, they really have to do it on their own. Gary's place is a school and not a talent scout, search or whatever you want to call it. All parents are told this BEFORE they sign up their kids. I think that some parents don't listen as carefully as they should, because all they are thinking about is trying to get their kid to become a star.
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#9 Consumer Comment

Gary Spatz is a complete scam. Here is all the info!

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

It is now confirmed Eric Rottman is the REAL owner of "The Playground". Of course they try to deny it. Gary Spatz is just his beard! I guess Mr.Rottman thought he could hide under Gary's skirt and no one would find out. Ha Ha! The internet is a powerful tool and the joke is now on him! There are many people coming forward with info on these scam artists. Preying on children is so wrong in so many ways. I'm posting a few of the many things I have found about the group. Thank goodness for this site and hopefully people will read this BEFORE they are fooled into giving The Playground any money. Keep up the good work, as the truth will put these crooks out of business.



"Gary Spatz and The Playground are indeed a big scam. It is a TOTAL waste of your hard earned money. There are many really good acting classes for teens in town that don't play the games that they do. And they don't use the high pressure sales tactics. Acting classes do not need to cost $5000 dollars. Here is a legit company for
everyone to get some good information from. And it's FREE!"

BizParentz Foundation is a non-profit corporation providing education, advocacy, and charitable support to parents and children engaged in the entertainment industry. BizParentz promotes a positive public image regarding child performers and educates the public regarding the safety and rights of child performers including child labor laws and regulations."

http://www.bizparentz.org/gettingstarted/avoidingscams.html




"Of course this company is a complete sham! Eric Rottman and Gary Spatz are indeed up to their old tricks again.I found the story about them today that D magazine in Dallas did some time ago.. It speaks for itself.

Evidently they hit the road jack, when johnny law was at their back door. Skipped out in the middle of the night like little rats!
And I quote

" Best Disappearing Act"

O'Brien Rottman Talent Agency vacated its premises and skipped town after D Magazine exposed its highly advertised model search as a glam scam in our March issue.Here is the link for all.

http://www.dmagazine.com/ME2/Audiences/dirmod.asp?sid=1510E4E8D44C4749B151C8409649F5AF&nm=Archives&type=MultiPublishing&mod=PublishingTitles&mid=7155F7796F354F21B1183937D847D6DF&AudId=29CB3DCAC7E94A08B642EC371FE6E70B&tier=4&id=7AB8D2C1FAD747C6BCEFA370B1051039

I have also contacted the Los Angeles Times about this company and they are gathering info for a possible story . Stay tuned!"


I see that Gary Spatz and The Playground now have an F rating with the BBB. Here is what that means.

"F We strongly question the company's reliability for reasons such as that they have failed to respond to complaints, their advertising is grossly misleading, they are not in compliance with the law's licensing or registration requirements, their complaints contain especially serious allegations, or the company's industry is known for its fraudulent business practices."

Is this someone you want to give your money to and have your child spend time with?
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#10 Consumer Comment

Gary Spatz BBB record SCAM!

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

I know from experience. I have been there done it. Let me save everyone some time, money and most importantly your child's hart!

The scam starts like this. You and your family are out shopping and you are contacted by a woman. She tells you how cute your child is and asks have you ever thought about getting in commercials or TV? She chats on and you are convinced you should attend the big tryout or should I say the big set-up. Well, after an hour or more of driving you arrive and there are many other children waiting for their big break also. After two hours and a dog and pony show were they try and get your child all excited. This is helpful in the big picture of trying to sale you an expensive acting class.
You now drive home and wait for the Callback. Everyone gets called back if they think you have money. The next day after a brief conversation on the phone you take another drive to their office and this is were the big hustle starts. We saw a man named Mike and his office looked like a move set. What a joke. All the phony photos on the wall and phony props, a real sleeze ball this guy was.

After 10 minutes of b.s. he gets to the real reason for all the deception.
You need to spend $3000 on classes and then you will be invited to attend performance night. I then asked, what about all the negative things people are saying online? His reply was don't pay any attention to what people are saying online. It's just some crackpot I then asked why they have an F with the BBB? He said they have only one complaint and that was the reason. NOT TRUE! They have an F because of their deceptive business practices. Well, I thought long and hard and decided to give it a try for my child. (I also new if I put it on a credit card I could dispute it later if need be)

We attend the first class and I start talking to some of the other parents that have been there for awhile. A LOT of them are NOT that happy with the whole operation, contrary to what the Playground wants you to believe. The complaints were numerous including the fact that Gary dose not even teach! We attend two more classes that I sit in on and I talk to more upset parents.


My family finally decides to cancel this whole thing and get a refund. Boy that was not easy. Once they get your money they do not want to give it back. I guess the sleeze ball had already spent the commission.

Here is the long and short of it. I have nothing to gain and my only goal is to share
my experience and offer some advise.

DO NOT DO BUSSINESS WITH THIS SCAM COMPANY
Go online and look up acting schools in Los Angeles. Call and talk with them. Go see a few places. I know this will take a little time but, your child is worth it. Make a decision after you have all the facts. Don't let your child's dream be ruined by Gary Spatz and his group of scammers. Just make sure you do a little research and then proceed. It can be a lot of fun and great for your child.

Want to complain? contact the Department of Consumer Affairs. They are already aware of Gary Spatz and this Eric Rottman guy. Google Eric Rottman and lern about this theif!
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#11 Consumer Comment

GIVE ME A BREAK!

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

Mr. Spatz,

Nice try, no cigar!

I was also approached like 'Angry Mom' while shopping with my granddaughter. And we were almost scammed by you and your company as well.

Let me tell YOU a little something about me. I have been a Prosecutor here is Los Angeles County for over 14 years (now retired) Due to my background and now my interest in you, I have been looking into this obvious rip-off and will continue to see this through. In the mean time, here are a few things everyone should know.

Let's start with your business partner Eric Rottman. There is a great deal of public information available on him. It appears his previous acting and modeling scams were shut down or he skipped town in the middle of the night to avoid being shut down. Your way of operating is identical. Did you think his past would not catch up with you? Please don't try and deny this fact as he has been video taped on more than one occasion by more than one person working in your office. Please find enclosed below a little of his long history.

Now, let's get to your recruitment of children. It is illegal to do business in another businesses place of business. (i.e. having your employees hang out at the malls and department stores handing out cards and hustling parents.) If your customers are so happy with you and your services than why would you need to procure potential customers illegally? Reputable workshops and acting classes depend on word of mouth and simply advertise. Key word here is 'reputable.'

In addition to the above and if that were not enough, your prices are unbelievable. Talk about excessive. Although there is nothing illegal about over charging, it does say a lot about your character. And don't give me 'you get what you pay for.' People should know there are many great classes taught by well respected companies and experienced coaches for a few hundred dollars. Unfortunately, your staff employs such high pressure sales tactics on consumers that most feel they must make decisions on the spot.

You say you have satisfied customers and that may be true. However, I have successfully prosecuted many scams that have also had satisfied customers. It means little and is not going to save your bacon.

Gary, if your wife is so 'livid' maybe you should have thought about that before getting involved in a scam. Your reputation is no longer 'unblemished.' How long do you think Disney will continue to work with you once they get a whiff of all this? And they will, I guarantee it! Are a few fast dollars really worth loosing what you say you have worked so hard for?


I will also be submitting complaints to the appropriate consumer and regulatory agencies. Since you are an Advance Fee Talent Company, I will be forwarding a complaint to the California State Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement in addition to the aforementioned agencies by 'Angry Mom.'

Your ethics and business practices are deplorable!



O'Brien/Rottman Talent Consultants, Inc.
aka O'Brien/Rottman Studios
aka O'Brien/Rottman Talent Placement
Pat O'Brien (Patrick O'Brien) and Eric P. Rottman
BBB Record
O'Brien Rottman Talent Consultants, Inc. This Report was developed from various sources, including the business, governmental agencies, and the experience of the company's customers.


O'Brien Rottman Talent Consultants, Inc.
1223 Wilshire Blvd. PMB # 813
Santa Monica CA 90403-5400

Business Started: 01/01/89
File Open Date: 04/13/94
Last Report Date: 12/12/02
Principal Contact: Pat O'Brien

Phone: (310) 777-5478
Fax: (310) 777-5479
Email: Not Available
Web Address: Not Available

Bureau ID: 85001965




Nature of Business
This company's business is talent and modeling management services,
workshops and photographs.

Bureau File Experience

Our files show disconnected phone numbers, returned mail or both. The company appears to be out of business. The Bureau cannot trace addresses of
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#12 Consumer Suggestion

Gary Spatz, and why you should give your child an opportunity at being apart of his conservatory!!!!

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

My daughter was 6 years old (she turned 7 years old in August)when we started gong to Gary Spatz Playground. It's only been 4 months since she has been studying a very valuable craft. The class structure and environment that is offered to all of these kids is amazing. The self confidence and self esteem level that your child will gain is reward enough to last a lifetime. Every child that comes out of each class comes out with a smile and a sense of accomplishment. Some may think that maybe they are there to be able to land a commercial or TV show....But it's more than that! Most of these kids are more confident and focused. With that said....the amount of money that is asked is such a minimal cost to pay (to this establishment, anyway).
Gary Spatz Conservatory does not accept all who come to audition for the privalege of attending his classes. So, it's not all about the money! For those of you that recieve business cards or letters to go to any opportunity of being in commercials, theatrical, print etc. types of jobs....I would also say, "Beware." The amounts of money that they ask for can be disturbing. I have gone to a couple of them myself and have walked away.

We chose Gary Spatz because of his honesty and integrity. He has parent meetings for all of his new parents that have children attending his Conservatory. He does state the statistics and track record(or percentage) of how many kids get chosen or considred to be represented from his classes and other businesses that have similar classes. Your chances are so much greater being at the Gary Spatz Playground than going to any city college or doing it on your own haphazardly.
He has audition nights for the kids and performance nights.

If you have not actually had your child attend "The Playground".....or maybe your child has been there and the process was too slow for you? Just know that your child is gaining much more than getting a chance of being in a commercial. Being considered for representation is icing on the cake. You do have that opportunity at "The Playground". Also, remember that it takes your parenting skills and the discipline of the child to come to the class PREPARED and ON TIME!

About the business cards and the recruitment style....I want to Thank You! This rebuttal will probably have a few people calling wanting to see what it is all about and how they can put their child in a place to assist with issues like self esteem and self confidence. Like I said earlier, having an agency call you to represent your child, is icing on the cake! You couldn't ask for more, being at "The Playground!"
My daughter loves going to her classes and the environment for all of the children
is inviting for both the parent and students attending.

I don't know where you are getting your information. But it sounds like you have been grossly misinformed or you should take your child there and find out really how Gary Spatz Playground is conducted. It's not for everyone. Some parents live vicariously through their children and blame the failure on whatever is keeping them from going to the next level in reaching their goal. Think about it.
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#13 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Rebuttal from Gary Spatz, owner of The Playground, to comments made by 'Cindy of Beverly Hills'

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

Recently this letter from Cindy of Beverly Hills' 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. 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 Cindy of Beverly Hills' 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, garyspatztheplayground.com, 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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