Now here is a situation in which the red flags were flying long before I decided to put it on the shelf – simply because I wanted to experience it long enough to share and gather information for myself.
So, in my search for talent agencies one day, I came across a heavily promoted website (and by this, I mean heavily promoted by themselves. The website shows as one of the top, promoted links on Google.) referred simply as the, ‘One Source Talent’ agency. It stuck out like a sore thumb. Here is where the first red flag came in – unlike most agencies where they’re very selective about submissions and would never deign to have open submissions on to mitigate the flow, OneSource practically had a submission form on the splash page on their website.
So, for the heck of it, I put it a bit of basic information, including a picture. That occurred in the morning. By that very evening, I received a call back. This, needless to say, was the second red flag.
The man on the other end of the line was nice enough. I can’t recall his name, but he claimed that my application was reviewed and that they’d like to see me. Short and sweet. Immediately after speaking with him came an e-mail with all the pertinent information. It was a detailed e-mail – giving directions, assigning me an ‘invitation number,’ and a few ‘industry points,’ which seemed to make quite a bit of sense, really.
So, I got there a half-hour early (and if you know me, that’s tardy), and was met at the lift by a tall, lanky South-Asian fellow who appeared to be going my way. Upon reaching, I was given a clipboard from the receptionist after being asked for my ‘invitation number,’ with a form requesting my basic information. I was told to go into a large waiting room with many rows of chairs inhabited by a fraction of the people. In the front of the room was a television displaying, “The Devil Wears Prada.”
In due time, I completed my form, submitted it to the receptionist, and was once again requested to wait in the waiting area along with the growing number of people. Then, close to a half-hour later, a young man appeared, called names one-by-one, lined us up, and led us into a hallway in which each person was individually led into a room, had their paper confiscated, and their mugshots snapped. We were led back into the waiting room.
After another 15-or-so minutes of waiting, a young woman appeared. Her name escapes me, and apparently, so did some other relevant information. This is foreshadowing for later, I assure you. She introduced herself and prompted us to drop all and lend her all ears for the following presentation. She went on for about ten minutes about OneSource Talent being one of the leading agencies and that they’ve casted for major companies such as NBC, etc, etc. She spoke incredibly fast.
I was simply asked a couple of shallow questions, such as, “What brought you here today?” “What are your goals?” “Does your family support you doing this?” “Do you have any questions?” and was almost immediately sent on my way with a ‘ticket’ to return the following Monday at 12:00 pm. Wait. That’s it? That was it? I was expecting a long conversation, a major evaluation of my character…something. Not only that, the gal was noticeably rushing through the process and did not care to hear about my extraneous skills.
Oh, man. So many red flags, it’s socialist.
Therein lies the ego-boosting tactic. They tell you that if you are selected, they will let you know. If not, you are more than welcome to call back and ask why. With the shallow line of questioning, anyone would be a shoe-in.
So, Monday morning, I arrived over an hour early, and regardless of the fact that I was scheduled to be there at 12:00 pm, was received almost an hour early, as well. I was brought back to the same room – my ‘personal representative,’ a curly-haired young woman with a face of shape memory alloy set to permanent scowl. She was generally unsmiling and pretty unpleasant to be around.
She presented me with a similar line of shallow questioning, then a small commercial script to practice. It had something to do with allergy medication of some sort. She then left the room for a good while for me to have time to practice the lines. She returned, I dictated.
“What did you think about it?”
“Well, I could do better.” I always say this. I’m the perfectionist-type. There’s always room for improvement in my eyes. She then disappeared for another few minutes, and returned.
“I talked it over with my boss and we are happy to say that you have great potential and we think you would be a great asset to our company.” She handed me an additional sheet of paper in which she prompted me to look over and sign. It was basically a checkbox of requirements. One of which included an agreement to pay the initial $495 start-up fee, along with the additional $39.95 per month.
Ah, so it’s one of those. I see it now. I was waiting for this to happen.
“She did mention it in the
“Did you need to make a phone call? You can ask someone else, and they can provide their information. Perhaps you have a family member that would be willing to help you out?”
“Hm. Can I take this home and think about it?”
“No, this is a one-time offer and it can only be done today.”
I expressed the desire to phone someone and she left me at my devices. That was, of course, a lie, as I had no intention to solicit scam money on my behalf from anyone. I believe I just sat there, pretending to make calls when she returned.
“Well, I am sorry, I cannot seem to reach anyone. The person I was hoping would help has their phone off, ad I promised them that I’d let them know prior to signing something.” I was gauging her for a response.
“It’s your career. If you needed someone else’s permission, they should have come with you. They should be sitting in that chair right beside you.”
“That would be rather difficult, considering that person is in Florida right now,” I retorted.
“I was under the impression that you said your family was okay with this. You are an adult and you shouldn’t have to base your decisions on other people.”
“I am sorry. I just cannot come to such a staunch decision in one day.”
“If you were truly dedicated, it would not be a problem for you.”
“Obviously, I am dedicated. I am just not currently financially able to throw down $500 on a single decision.”
“We are only looking for people who are driven and excited to take their career to a new level,” she bullshitted.
So yes, they are trying to imply that a lack of finances = lack of true ambition. Indeed.
“Look, it’s up to you. You have no resume. This is why we help people with little-to-no experience. If you really don’t want to do that, just tell me. I’ll just wish you luck on your endeavors and you’ll be free to go.”
This is when I became quite annoyed. Excuse me? I have no resume? How did you arrive to that conclusion? Last time I checked myself, I was a professional entertainer with a pretty extensive resume, thank you very much.
So, once again, I confirmed my decline.
“Alright, good luck then, and you can’t audition with us again until another year.”
Pffft. Fine with me. Until then, I’ll be out getting more experience for my nonexistent resume.