Is Explore Talent a Scam?

Hello Bonnie, I had written you before inquiring about Explore Talent, a “bogus” way of finding out about casting notices (which I was quite suspicious about in the first place). But now my suspicions as well as your column relating to this topic have been completely confirmed. After filling out a profile on their website weeks back, but NOT joining, I have been bombarded by emails, as well as an “actual” phone call from someone in Hollywood at Explore Talent, asking me if I was interested in an “acting career.” I couldn’t believe it, the lengths this so-called “legit breakdown service” would go to in order to gain more profits from well-meaning actors simply looking for work. I, of course, said I wasn’t interested and hung up. BUT I am writing again to perhaps suggest you write yet another article regarding these types of services in order to ward away well-meaning actors who want to work the business in a professional manner. Also so that I, and many others will not come across looking like an ass by either honoring their first impression about these people OR by subscribing to this type of falsity. Thanks again, as I’m sticking with Actors Access, Back Stage, and my agent — of course — for help in finding new ways to get in those doors!

Thanks so much for the follow-up! I know it’s tough for actors who seek advice and hear, “Run!” “Save your money.” “It’s a scam!” while the salespeople are saying, “They’re just afraid of your success.” “I bet they’ve always tried to keep you from living your dreams!” “Did you see our wall of testimonials?” Sure, you can Google a company to check out its track record, but when you’re being told everything you’ve ever wanted to hear about your chances in the biz and how this service, this class, this program (whatever it is) is going to give you the edge you so desperately want, even your own research can fail you. Your desire to believe they’re telling you the truth is very strong. And that’s what they’re counting on.

Believe me, if there were a magic pill, a recipe for success, a shortcut to the front of the line in Hollywood, everyone would stop taking classes, getting headshots, paying agency commissions, and going on auditions. They’d just take the pill, follow the recipe, or do that shortcut, no matter how much it cost! But that’s just it: You can’t pay anyone enough money to get ahead in Hollywood. It just doesn’t work like that. Your instincts told you so, and you emailed me to double-check before spending your money. I sent you a link to my column on Scam Casting Notices and your suspicions were confirmed. No one should feel BAD about getting sucked in, nor should they be made to feel guilty when they tell the salesperson they need a few days to think it over, no matter what the pitch might be. Sounds like you did due diligence, but filled out a form on their website before deciding against their services.

Keep in mind that, even if you’d never encountered that particular website, you’d likely end up on some salesperson’s contact list at some point. I know of actors whose unlisted numbers are only on their headshots which are only ever submitted to agents in an attempt to get representation, yet somehow they’re called by people selling classes, headshots, or stolen breakdowns. Just like we all get junk menus tucked in our doors because we live in the neighborhood near a restaurant, being an actor is going to get you on pitch lists for actor services. To continue the analogy, the trick is asking around before dining at a door-to-door menu-dropping restaurant you’ve never heard of, rather than giving it a shot and risking food poisoning.


Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!


Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/000396.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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2 Comments

  1. misty fonseca November 20, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    Bonnie just had a question my daughters photos have been leaked out of her old model agency.I’m wondering how explore talent got those photos.they called me.asked about my beautiful daughter and if she would be apart of their agency.how did they get them and are they a true deal??or what??help my # 9183236115

    Reply
  2. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie November 23, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Hi Misty! I wonder if the old agency sold the photos to Explore Talent? Or are they elsewhere on the Internet? Or perhaps you submitted those same photos to a casting notice that turned out to be one of those shady things where the photos get sold or passed off to other entities? Could be anything!

    That’s one of the scary parts about having a young one in the industry! We, as adults, can decide on our own that we’re entering a profession that qualifies us as public figures, and that makes our materials more desirable by the public, and we kind of have to deal with that side effect of our choice. But when you choose it for a child (or your child chooses it without full awareness of adult-level consequences that are inherent to the profession), it’s a little scarier.

    I recommend you chat with the good folks over at https://bizparentz.org (a non-profit organization advocating for the rights of young actors) about what has happened. They may have experienced this sort of thing before and know what you should do next!

    Rock on! 🙂

    Reply

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