Actors Scamming Actors in Pay-to-Play Scheme

Actors are posing as management companies charging fellow actors for representation: the more money paid by the actor, the better the actor’s access to representation. [Read more…]

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.

Casting Directors, Talent Agents, Directors & Actors

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Actors everywhere who are trying to succeed in the business, young or old, on stage or on camera, anywhere in the world, take note:

This is your roadmap!”
BERNARD TELSEY, casting director – CSA
(Hamilton, NBC’s The Wiz – LIVE!, Into The Woods – The Movie, Wicked, Sex & The City)

 

“All the right questions asked and answered…
and with a generous portion of good humor.”
SUZANNE RYAN, casting director, CSA
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Paul’s book tells you what you don’t want to hear but really need to know
EVERY actor should read this book!”
DIANE RILEY, Senior Legit Talent Agent
Harden-Curtis & Associates

 

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KAREN ZIEMBA, TONY & Drama Desk Award Winning Actress

 

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KEN MELAMED, Talent Agency Partner
Bret Adams, Ltd.

 

“I had my Business of Acting, BFA Seniors, class do book reports on a variety of “business of acting” books and ACTING: Make It Your Business came out a clear winner—considered to be essential for their bookshelves!
Dr. NINA LeNOIR,
Dept. Chair – Dept. of Thtr.
Chapman University

 

Get smarter on the business of acting from legendary Hollywood & Broadway actors and talent agents in a casting director Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book ACTING:AMIYB_Amazon Make It Your Business!

Talent Manager Demands Clients Pay to Play!

One long-established talent manager has allegedly been charging clients fees to subsidize a Breakdown Services subscription and other expenses including possibly the manager’s home rental from which they operate.

Talent Manager Demands Clients Pay to Play

– Paul Russell

Casting notices, commonly known as ‘breakdowns’ in the entertainment industry, are the sustaining career-blood of an actor’s livelihood but toxins routinely infiltrate the actor’s search for work and inflict a monetary poison. A well-known talent manager is the most recent malpractitioner of injury to actors.

The poison has spread beyond black market breakdowns: protected copy-written casting notices distributed surreptitiously to actors for monies by individuals with access to subscriptions from the leading exchange of casting notices between casting and talent representatives that is Breakdown Services. Talent representatives to receive casting notices via the exchange are scrutinized for professional standards by Breakdown Services before a paid subscription by a talent agency or manager is approved.

One long-established talent manager has allegedly been charging clients fees to subsidize a Breakdown Services subscription and other expenses including possibly the manager’s home rental from which they operate.

In e-mails obtained by Answers for Actors potential clients of a New York City based talent manager are offered under the manager’s letterhead, a contract which includes the following clause:

“… A $30.00 per month out of pocket expenses charge is due by the 15th of each month, (this covers expenses for breakdowns, for mailings, deliveries, faxes, etc.)  ARTIST will receive receipts for all for monies paid for tax deductible purposes.  If the $30.00 per month out of pocket expense charge is not paid on time ARTIST will be put under review by MANAGER for possible renegotiation or termination of contract. Please make check or money order payable to [the MANAGER].”

In a recent exchange between the manager and an actor, the actor asked that the $30 per month fee be waived, but the manager responded emphasizing a need for the fee:

email_manager

When contacted for a response in regard to actors being charged a fee to subsidize a manager’s subscription to Breakdown Services, Breakdown Services provided this statement:

“Our position is very clear – like an agent, a manager should not charge a client for anything. When we find that anyone, manager or agent, is collecting money from a client we stop their service (as long as we have proof that it is happening). At $30 an actor, you would only need a handful in order to pay for Breakdowns which means the manager is making a profit from the rest of the actors. The only profit a manager should be making is commision [SIC] from a project they helped book.

There are certain things a representative needs in order to run an efficient office – Breakdown is one of them and they should be paid for by the representative only.

Thom Goff
Breakdown Services NY”

Reportedly a client of the manager claims that Breakdown Services has suspended the manager’s subscription. Breakdown Services did not confirm the suspension or respond to inquiries of when, or if ever, the manager would be eligible to again receive casting breakdowns for prominent screen and stage projects which are difficult to obtain elsewhere.

UPDATE: The manager implicated above has had to sign an agreement with Breakdown Services that clients will not be charged monies beyond commission. The manager has also had to issue a new contract for clients, which eliminates the monthly fees.

Related story: Actors Scamming Actors Pay-to-Play

Casting Directors, Talent Agents, Directors & Actors

Love the Best-Selling Book for Actors
ACTING: Make It Your Business!

AMIYB_Amazon“Humorous and witty…
Actors everywhere who are trying to succeed in the business, young or old, on stage or on camera, anywhere in the world, take note:

This is your roadmap!”
BERNARD TELSEY, casting director – CSA
(NBC’s Peter Pan – LIVE!, Into The Woods – The Movie, Wicked, Sex & The City)
“All the right questions asked and answered…
and with a generous portion of good humor.”
SUZANNE RYAN, casting director, CSA
(Law & OrderUnforgettable)
“I love this book!
Paul’s book tells you what you don’t want to hear but really need to know
EVERY actor should read this book!”
DIANE RILEY, Senior Legit Talent Agent
Harden-Curtis & Associates
“Paul’s book made me proud to be a part of this community we call ‘show!'”
KAREN ZIEMBA, TONY & Drama Desk Award Winning Actress
“Paul Russell’s words are not only blunt & accurate they zero in on all the questions every actor wants to know but is afraid to ask!”
KEN MELAMED, Talent Agency Partner
Bret Adams, Ltd.
“I had my Business of Acting, BFA Seniors, class do book reports on a variety of “business of acting” books and ACTING: Make It Your Business came out a clear winner—considered to be essential for their bookshelves!
Dr. NINA LeNOIR,
Dept. Chair – Dept. of Thtr.
Chapman University

Get smarter on the business of acting from legendary Hollywood & Broadway actors and talent agents in a casting director Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book ACTING:AMIYB_Amazon Make It Your Business!

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Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly 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, Temple and the University of the Arts. He is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit www.PaulRussell.net.

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