This is not a piece about how Talent Meet Rep, LLC — a company doing business in Los Angeles, New York, and virtually in several other markets ostensibly for actors all over the world — appears to have been caught red-handed providing copy-and-paste feedback on actors’ taped auditions… feedback that was supposed to be uniquely written by DIFFERENT casting directors for each and every actor’s unique performance.

tmr blog post feedback

This is not a piece about how that same company is now coming under fire for allegedly selling these virtual auditions with feedback — at anywhere from $45 to $120 a pop — for actors to get their self-taped footage in front of casting directors WHO HAVE NEVER EVEN HEARD OF THE COMPANY.

tmr blog post feedback

This is not a piece about how that means this company was not only baiting hopeful actors into believing that their auditions would be seen by casting directors who otherwise are very tough to get in front of, selling them these high-priced slots, and providing manufactured feedback on behalf of casting directors who say they’ve never agreed to do business with TMR, much less provide this feedback to these actors but in fact possibly committing potentially a half-dozen highly illegal (and at the Federal level, y’all) acts… all the while being bonded under AB 1319 (the California law that protects actors from this exact type of scam, among others).

tmr blog post feedback 1

This is not a piece about how similar laws MUST come to exist in other thriving entertainment industry markets (no matter how small they may be), nor is it a piece about how when something appears too good to be true… well, you know how the rest of that saying goes. It’s also not a piece about how there’s a special place in Hell for those who prey upon artists’ dreams.

tmr blog post feedback 2

Nope.

This is a piece about how quickly this all went down in recent days.

This is a piece about the acting COMMUNITY and its ridiculously brilliant power.

And hopefully, this is a piece that will fire you up to be even more connected with your fellow #SMFAninjas (or other community of choice) because it is only through our sharing that this shit gets shut down with near-instant precision.

So.

First off, let’s be clear that everyone is looking for “the edge.” I shake my head about it constantly because — as I’ve always said — success in showbiz is like success in fitness: It takes hard work and discipline over time. Period.

tmr scene partners

But that doesn’t stop actors ranging from “fresh off the bus, starry-eyed newbie” all the way up to “knows a scam when she sees it, has been around the block, but MAN what a great opportunity this looks to be” from falling for scams. I can talk ’til I’m blue in the face about how relationships take time, how edges are not BOUGHT, and that many legitimate (but less sexy) ways to get farther faster in this business exist.

Doesn’t matter.

tmr blog post agent

Everyone wants the edge.

tmr blog post early agent tweet

And predators know that. And they know exactly what to say to get you to take their bait. Worst of all — in the case of TMR — we’ve got a company that seems to have been doing a really nice job of getting actors in front of casting directors and agents and managers, allowing them to build relationships in a not-at-all-illegal way, and then someone got greedy.

tmr blog post early tweet

Someone saw a chance to take this shitshow online and get away with fraud. I’m imagining the lightbulb moment that someone must have had wherein they decided, “Hey! Who will ever know?!? No actor’s gonna get mediocre feedback and share it with other actors! They’ll NEVER know we’re manufacturing it and recycling it. Heck, the reel-scene production companies do this with their scripts all the time and no actor ever catches on… because narcissistic actors don’t watch each others’ reels. They’ll never look at each others’ feedback!”

tmr blog post manager to cd

After that worked for a while, they decided to offer the feedback on behalf of casting directors who’ve never even *heard* of Talent Meet Rep, LLC. “Hey! Who will ever know?!? We’ll tell ’em they cannot put the CD’s name in the YouTube audition and we’ll tell ’em they have to take the vid down right after it’s been watched. We’ll tell ’em it’s because of a confidentiality deal with the studio for which the casting directors cast. And we’ll make it a high-value target who otherwise never does workshops — so EVERY actor is hoping to get in front of her. And we’ll charge more because of how exclusive this opportunity is. Perfect!”

tmr blog post owner tweet

And some asshole actually went to bed that night with a smile on their face, so very pleased to have come up with the perfect crime.

A crime against the dreams of actors who — unlike the generations of actors before them — have joined communities. Who connect with accountability buddies. Who have meetups and hangouts and Skype sessions and mastermind calls and Facebook groups and group chats and, and, and… ACTORS WHO HAVE COMMUNITIES.

tmr blog post share toys

So when the inevitable sharing commenced, things came together fast. When tech-savvy actors who use trackers to see clickthroughs on links they’ve emailed can see that the one and ONLY click to a YouTube vid came from the email sitting in the inbox of the TMR email account (and not ever a casting office’s server) mention that this seems… odd, fellow actors started pulling up their feedback from previous purchases and… whaddayaknow. Identical. Now? This shit got going lightning fast!

Because these actors CARE about their community. They know they may never get their $45 or $70 or $85 or $120 back (or far more, if they bought multiple allegedly fake audition feedback opportunities from Talent Meet Rep, LLC). They know they may look like fools for stepping into the light about how they got scammed. They know there’s a risk that the industry may perceive them as difficult for speaking out. They know the downside.

tmr eventbrite

And yet they *do* speak out. Why? Because if they can protect one fucking other actor from ever having to be scammed like this, it was worth it.

tmr blog post at fb

See (and share) the Facebook thread.

I’ve always said: Don’t WORRY about identifying the PEOPLE who are scam artists; identify the BEHAVIOR. Because once you identify behavior, you can see it in anyone — even someone who previously was keeping his or her nose clean and offering a legitimate service. Running PEOPLE out of business is like playing whack-a-mole. There will always be another rodent-like-mammal popping up and you’re never gonna be able to get ’em all knocked out and shut down.

But if you can educate others as to what to LOOK FOR when making decisions about where to spend their hard-earned money (and much more importantly, the DREAM POINTS they cash in when choosing to believe in ANYONE in this business), there’s hope for the future. There’s a chance others won’t make the same mistakes or fall for the same lines of bullshit.

tmr blog post others

Sure, someone will always come up with a new way to separate dreamers from their money… or their belief in others… or their very dreams themselves. But thanks to our communities, they won’t get to do it very long before word’s out and those who are willing to listen will make better choices. And speak up as well when they don’t.

There’s hope.

With spreading the word, there’s always hope.

Wanna be sure your tools *and* your mindset are in peak form while connecting with a community that’s always got your back? Start your 11-day FREE training today!

Let’s DO this!


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

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9 Comments

  1. Avatar Dija August 26, 2016 at 5:11 am

    This exact thing happened to me a few years ago. Someone was going around telling actors that they were chosen for some amazing modeling gig and they just needed their personal information to finalize the gig. First of all one of the companies was completely off brand for me so that raised a red flag. I know I’m not an Abercrombie model type. But nonetheless I had a minuscule hope that it was true. I immediately asked my acting teacher and soon a few others said they got the exact same email lauding their talent and looks to model at the same companies. The problem is back then I didn’t know what else to do to help protect other actors. This article has helped me see how I can be of help to the larger community by educating myself on the laws. Thanks Bon!!!

    Reply
  2. Avatar Victoria August 26, 2016 at 5:13 am

    Yesssss!! Shouting it from the rooftops and sharing with the community.
    Thank you, Bonnie, for creating a community of caring creatives. (Ha! Alliteration bonus points!) This article needs to go viral. Lemme try to help with that…!
    Can’t wait to jam with you and more SMFA ninjas in October.
    All the love,
    Vicki Sue

    Reply
  3. Avatar Rosalie Tenseth August 26, 2016 at 8:32 am

    Thank you for this awesome post Bonnie. BTW – I did file a complaint online through Eventbrite who we purchased the event through and asked if it was possible to reverse the charge and got a case number. Will update.

    Reply
  4. Avatar Amy August 26, 2016 at 9:16 am

    Awesome! I love that actors are pulling together. Union or not we have to stick together. And congrats to those who spoke up and thanks to Bonnie and team for providing a place to speak up. So happy to be part of this community.

    Reply
  5. Avatar Anon August 26, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    THANK YOU for bringing this to light. I used to intern for Talent Meet Rep’s (legit) in person sessions and I had no idea of the crookery going on behind closed doors. It makes me so angry and sick to my stomach that I was ever involved with this company. Additionally, I am FUMING at the fact that myself and other honest, hardworking actors/interns, through no fault of their own, are associated with this scam. I never gave my $ to this company, but I gave them my time and my trust and those are things you can never get back with a refund.

    Reply
  6. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie August 26, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    Y’all, thank you for the comments and sharing! We help so many others by getting the word out. <3

    Dija -- I'm so sorry this happened to you but isn't it interesting that even then you knew something was off due to the lack of brand-alignment?!? I love that! So smart to check with your acting teacher and thank goodness others did too, so the pattern could be spotted! Lemmeknow if you have any questions about AB 1319 or anything else about how best to protect yourself and your fellow actors!!

    Vicki Sue -- THANK YOU for shouting from the rooftops! You are a goddess and I am so inspired by you! Definite bonus points for your alliteration and OF COURSE it is a passion to build and nurture creative communities! There's nothing like that fellowship! It's powerful! Thank you for sharing this piece and HOORAY for #SMFAninjas love in New York in October! ROCKtober, baby! XO

    Rosalie -- Thank you so much! I actually updated the post with the screengrab of your Eventbrite share from the Facebook post at my fan page. THANK YOU! Gotta get folks aware of all the ways they can get help if they've been scammed.

    Amy -- Amen. Union or not, this is so damn important. Prod to have you in this community, m'dear! XO

    Anon -- I so appreciate you saying something here. I know a few actors who have worked for TMR here in LA and they too are blindsided by the whole online scam that was cooking out there in New York, and spreading to markets beyond. It's just so gross, isn't it? You're right about how there is no refund for that time and trust you gave... I do hope you did build some lasting, healthy, authentic relationships with your fellow creatives and the industry folks you met while working there. Those can never be taken from you!

    Stay strong, stay loud, stay ninja, y'all! XO

    Reply
  7. Avatar Marci Liroff August 28, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    Good on ya Bon (and team)
    I passed this around to my colleagues.

    Reply
  8. Avatar Mike Russo August 29, 2016 at 8:15 am

    Heery-Loftus Casting in Philly shared this article on their Facebook page today (8/29). Thanks, Bonnie, as always, for caring enough to have a place for ninjas to look out for one another.

    Reply
  9. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie August 30, 2016 at 10:24 am

    Thanks, Marci! Thanks, Mike! Great news that the word is getting out and one less sleazebag sleeps on pillows made of ill-gotten money. Let’s keep sharing that it’s behavior that’s trackable, so more folks — sooner — can honor that pit in their gut that says, “This just doesn’t seem right.”

    Reply

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