Actors Scamming Actors in Pay-to-Play Scheme

March 19, 2014 at 10:22 am | Posted in acting, Actors & Agents | Leave a comment
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Payyoff

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Paul Russell_HeadshotPaul Russell
PaulRussell.net

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UPDATE 04.05.16: Legal action was prosecuted against the players in the below scheme. The players have resurfaced with an alternative offering a similar game that can cause actors to be in jeopardy with the law. Click image to enlarge. Breakdowns For Sale

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black market breakdowns

black market breakdowns

Answers for Actors has received documentation alleging that actors are posing as management companies charging fellow actors for representation; charging ‘clients’ exorbitant monthly fees payable only in cash. Pay-to-play representation dependent upon several levels of ‘representation’ reflected by increasing price points. Some price points include access to black-market breakdowns. The more money paid by the actor, the better the actor’s access to representation. It’s an a la carte menu of artistic bribery that many foolish actors desperate for any crumb of success are willing to pay.

The manager’s solicitors offer for a higher cost to the actor, access to breakdowns from Breakdown Services, coyly referred to in the manager’s marketing materials as “The Daily List.”  Breakdowns released by Breakdown Services, as noted in Manager Demands Clients Pay to Play, are copy write protected and available only to talent representation by subscription once Breakdown Services has researched the talent representative as legitimate. Breakdown Services’ screening process is seemingly encountering flaws Image2as this is the second time in two weeks, Answers for Actors has discovered managers putting upon actors pay-to-play representation.

The ‘represented’ actors are not screened for their talent or skill-set but for their ability to pay out of pocket monthly to the ‘manager.’

Actors are first approached by the manager(s) via an e-mail after the actors submit their contact information to a web site promising actors an advantage.

The flyer includes the following promise:

“MONTHLY FEE

$85 Talent Rep. Basic Service

With this service, you will be submitted electronically through a reputable  bi-coastal talent manager (limited to 45 submissions per month). The management company’s name will appear on your Actor’s Access account and you will automatically have legitimate representation.

(With these services, 10% commission goes to the Manager, unless paid for by the production company)”

 The above is not legitimate representation. It’s extortion.

 The flyer goes on to include higher pay-to-play price points:

$120 Talent Rep. Premium Service – 35

Same as the basic service plus, you will get to choose your submission requests from The Daily List (limited to 35 submissions) and we will do the clicking.

(requires subscription to The Daily List (price not included) which is delivered daily by your distributor)

$150 Talent Rep. Premium Service – 65

(limited to 65 submissions per month)

(requires Daily List, same as above)”

The flyer then heralds the oodles of residuals clients have allegedly made followed by the advisory “Limited Space Available.”

Available space for talent does come at a premium, as explained in an e-mail obtained by Answers for Actors in which the manager includes this instruction (in bold font) to paying, gullible actors:

Please keep all info confidential except with trusted friends who would like to be a part of the service.”

That instruction follows a reminder to the actor to pay their monthly fee, in cash only:

“Payment Options:

Send cash in a secured fashion (i.e. wrapped well in the envelope or in a priority or express envelope).

If your concerned about sending cash, please make POST OFFICE money order (preferred) or a check out to:”

I have received submissions from the scam offices. The submissions never rivaled that of legitimate agencies and talent managers, and thus I never called-in any of the actors.

A legitimate talent representative is only to receive commission once the actor they represent has been paid for work in the arts covered under the representation agreement. Agents are only permitted 10 percent commission as regulated by performer unions. Manager commission rates are whatever a manager demands of clients as managers are not regulated by an entity.

Actors willing to pay for sub-par, illegitimate representation, are not being served as artists. The actors are being pimped and extorted for green backs. Actors who believe cash trumps talent, and self-respect.

— Paul Russell
PaulRussell.net

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Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned over thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Elon and Wright State University. He is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information visit www.PaulRussell.net.

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