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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Parents complain about talent agency’s practices

by admin

KATU’s Dan Tilkin talks to Lana Veenker about a “scouting company” that recently made a stop in Portland.

Parents complain about talent agency’s practices
By Dan Tilkin KATU News and KATU.com Staff
Jan 17, 2011

PORTLAND, Ore. – A talent scouting company that recently made a stop in Portland offers to help child actors for a hefty price but a local casting director says payment upfront is a red flag.

Parents say the company, THE, pronounced “TAY,” is also using the Disney name to lure families in, but Disney says it is not affiliated with the company.

Remi Lapira and his 8-year-old daughter recently heard the company’s ad on the radio, and the company’s website features two actors, Anna Maria Perez from the movie “Fame” and Disney’s “Camp Rock 2” and David Deluise from Disney’s “Wizards of Waverly Place”.

THE’s staff members invited his daughter back (to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Portland) for a second audition to make it to Florida.

“They were talking to my daughter and said, ‘Hey, you did a wonderful job,’ and my daughter was like, ‘Well, I don’t know how I did a wonderful job if these people weren’t even paying attention, they were playing with the lights.’ And that’s where it kind of (threw) me. I was like, ‘Whoa, red flags. What’s going on here?’” Lapira said.

He said THE wanted him to pay $4,900. The company also offers packages as high as $7,900.

Portland casting director, Lana Veenker who has a long resume, including work on the movie “Twilight,” said payment upfront is a red flag.

“If we were to do an open casting call for a real project, there’s never any money asked for from the parents or the kids,” she said.

KATU News called THE at its Delaware offices but a company representative said no one at the company would do an interview unless the questions were submitted in writing.

“I’m concerned for the parents who are actually shelling out that kind of money, because they think Disney is going to be the one taking them,” Lapira said.

Both Lapira and Veenker are frustrated because the company’s name makes it difficult for parents to find information about it on the Internet – typing “the” into Google returns everything.

If you have an aspiring actor in your house, go to The Casting Scoop to read more from Veenker about what to watch out for and how to get your break.

Did you guys see those prices?? UGH!

Parents: The problem here is that they’re advertising the event as a chance to meet with Disney talent scouts, not as a ploy to get people to register for a conference. If they’re trying to sell registrations for a conference, they should be up front about it and not advertise it as a casting call or a chance to be in the next Disney movie.

And there’s no reason why any conference or workshop should cost anywhere near $7900. If you’ve got that kind of cash lying around, enroll your child in a bona fide acting conservatory and sock the rest of the money away to help them get into Juilliard later. Don’t spend it on what amounts to little more than glorified lottery tickets.

___________________________
Here are links to our past posts on other scammy operations:

Acting/Modeling Schools that Double as Agencies?
December 27, 2008

Beware of Acting and Modeling Scams
February 25, 2009

Trusting your gut and doing your research
December 22, 2010

These ones were specific to Twilight, but the information on recognizing scams is still valid:

“Breaking Dawn” Casting SCAM ALERT
December 3, 2009

Beware The ‘Breaking Dawn’ Casting Scam!
December 4, 2010 (AccessHollywood.com)

Beware of online ‘Breaking Dawn’ casting scam
December 4, 2010 (MSNBC.com)

No need to pay to be in “Twilight” cast
December 6, 2009

Repeat after me: All current casting calls for “Breaking Dawn” are FALSE
December 8, 2009

The Buzz on recent “Breaking Dawn” audition hoax
December 16, 2009

Auditions for ‘Twilight’ film are scams, says Portland casting agent Lana Veenker
January 5, 2010

WARNING! “Breaking Dawn” Casting SCAM ALERT 2.0
April 30, 2010

 

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Monday, October 18, 2010

"Twilight" Returns to Oregon Coast? Not According to Film Office.

by admin

An article claiming that the “Breaking Dawn” set had been discovered on the central Oregon coast by three University of Oregon students appeared on HULIQ.com over the weekend.

BRAYS POINT, Oregon – When three University of Oregon students decided the weather was too nice on a sunny Friday to sit in class, they cut school. “We hit the coast and we’re sure glad we did because we’re huge Twilight fans. Imagine riding by the beach and spotting Kristen Stewart or Robert Pattinson? Well, it happened to us, we found Breaking Dawn,” says Greg Barker who’s a senior at the U of O in Eugene.

Vince Porter, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Film &Television, refuted the claims both in the article’s comment section and in an email to us.  The article states that a contact at the Governor’s Office of Film & Television confirmed that pre-production was underway and goes on to quote a source.  Porter tells us that the Governor’s Office was never contacted and confirmed no such thing.  Moreover, the Governor’s Office checked in with the University of Oregon and found that there are no students registered at the school with the names listed in the article.

For more information on what we know regarding “Breaking Dawn”, check out these previous blog posts:

“Breaking Dawn” Casting Director Update
Summit Clears Up A Few “Breaking Dawn” Rumors
Summit Entertainment’s THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN To Be Filmed In Louisiana and Vancouver, BC

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"Breaking Dawn" Casting Director Update

by admin

Courtesy of the Official Twilight Series Fan Page on Facebook:

Official local casting directors have been hired for THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN. Stuart Aikins reprises casting duties for Vancouver-based casting. Fincannon and Associates Casting is handling talent searches for Louisiana-based casting. Both work under LA-based casting director Debra Zane. There are no other casting organizations involved with the production at this time.

Contact information for official casting directors:

Debra Zane Casting

5225 Wilshire Blvd

Los Angeles, CA 90036

E-mail: BreakingDawnCast@gmail.com

Aikins / Cossey Casting

#403 1755 West Broadway

Vancouver, BC V6J 4S5

E-mail: BreakingDawnCasting@canadafilm.com

Fincannon and Associates

1235 N. 23rd St

Wilmington, NC 28405

E-mail: breakingdawn@fincannoncasting.com

Read the Facebook posting here.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Summit Clears Up A Few "Breaking Dawn" Rumors

by admin


Seems that the admins of sites across the “Twilight” universe have received some rumor control messages from Summit.

The biggest rumor being cleared up is, of course, regarding casting for the final film installments:

There is only one casting director working on THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN films right now – Debra Zane. As of right now no local auditions are being held. If Debra’s name is not attached to it in some form or another, it is not legitimate. She is also not putting out nationwide casting notices. Once again – as was the case with NEW MOON and ECLIPSE – any ads you see are completely false. She has set up an e-mail address specifically for casting inquiries (BreakingDawnCast@gmail.com).

Head here to read the full list of cleared-up rumors, courtesy of TwilightSource.com, as linked from the Official Twilight Series Fan Page on Facebook.

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Summit Entertainment’s THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN To Be Filmed In Louisiana And Vancouver BC

by admin

Our friends over at The Twilight Saga Facebook page posted the following press release today:

SUMMIT ENTERTAINMENT’S THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN TO BE FILMED IN LOUISIANA AND VANCOUVER

Summit Entertainment’s THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN will be filmed in both Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Vancouver [BC] over the next year starting this fall. The next chapter of THE TWILIGHT SAGA will be released as two separate films with the first of the two slated to be released in theatres on November 18, 2011.

Academy Award® winner Bill Condon will direct both films starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner along with Billy Burke as Charlie Swan as well as returning members of the Cullen Family including Peter Facinelli as Carlisle, Elizabeth Reaser as Esme, Jackson Rathbone as Jasper, Nikki Reed as Rosalie, Ashley Greene as Alice and Kellan Lutz as Emmett.

The project, based on the fourth novel in author Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, is currently being written by Melissa Rosenberg with Wyck Godfrey, Karen Rosenfelt and Stephenie Meyer producing.

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN illuminates the secrets and mysteries of this spellbinding romantic epic that has entranced millions.

The third film in the franchise, THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE, is currently in theatres.

About the TWILIGHT SAGA film series
The TWILIGHT SAGA film series stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson and tells the story of 17-year-old Bella Swan who moves to the small town of Forks, Washington to live with her father, and becomes drawn to Edward Cullen, a pale, mysterious classmate who seems determined to push her away. But neither can deny the attraction that pulls them together…even when Edward confides that he and his family are vampires. The action-packed, modern day vampire love story TWILIGHT, the first film in the series, was released in theatres on November 21, 2008 to a blockbuster reception. The second installment of the film franchise, THE TWILIGHT SAGA: NEW MOON was released November 20, 2009. The franchise has grossed over $1.4 billion in worldwide box office ticket sales to date.

About Summit Entertainment, LLC
Summit Entertainment, LLC is a worldwide theatrical motion picture development, financing, production and distribution studio. The studio handles all aspects of marketing and distribution for both its own internally developed motion pictures as well as acquired pictures. Summit Entertainment, LLC also represents international sales for both its own slate and third party product. Summit Entertainment, LLC releases on average 10 to 12 films annually.

Read the original post here.

Once we hear any news about casting or casting directors involved in the project, we will post it here on the blog and send it to our Twihard newsletter subscribers. Sign up for the Twihard newsletter in the right sidebar of this blog!

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Friday, April 30, 2010

WARNING! "Breaking Dawn" Casting SCAM ALERT 2.0

by admin

Those of you who have been following this blog for a while know how we feel around here about casting scams, especially those that target kids.

Most recently, we took issue with the unscrupulous companies that advertise casting calls for Breaking Dawn (the final installment of the Twilight saga) on the Internet or via email.

After luring victims to create a web profile on a so-called “casting website,” they inform them that they can only find out about Breaking Dawn auditions if they upgrade to a paid subscription. Of course, the auditions are bogus, as no casting director has been hired yet to cast the film, and if she were, she wouldn’t advertise auditions on a paid website. Instead, she would find established, experienced actors through bona fide SAG-franchised talent agencies.

Apparently, the problem is widespread, as our blog post got picked up by websites such as Access Hollywood and MSNBC.

(Hop down to review all our past casting scam posts)

THE LATEST TWILIGHT SCAM

Well, a new Breaking Dawn casting scam was recently brought to our attention and we wanted to warn others, so they will recognize the difference between a real casting call and an attempt to fleece fans of their cash.

I received the following message from a Twilight fan:

Sorry to bother you as I am sure that you are busy. We had an ad on the a radio here in Calgary saying that if you text this number at this certain time, you would get a call to audition for the next Breaking Dawn movie at [nameless acting & modeling school]. Today they called and booked an audition time for my daughter on Saturday. I was just wondering if you knew anything about this or if it is just a scam to have people join [nameless acting & modeling school]? They said there was a casting director coming.

Without even gathering any more information about this supposed casting call, I can tell you that this is nothing but a ploy to get people through the door. Once they have arrived, victims will have to sit through a sales pitch and be pressured to sign up for acting and modeling classes that are expensive and of dubious quality. Likely, victims will also be pressured to purchase spendy (and useless) photo portfolios or attend a costly “talent showcase” in LA or New York, where, they’re told, they just might be “discovered.”

RED FLAGS GALORE

Here are the red flags I spotted in this message:

  • Breaking Dawn is not casting yet.

    The film doesn’t go into production until the fall. No casting director has even been hired.

  • Auditions for Breaking Dawn will not take place anywhere where classes are offered, nor will they take place in Calgary.

    The film is likely shooting in Vancouver, BC. A real casting company, not an acting and modeling school located in a shopping mall, will be hired to cast the actors.

    NOTE: Anytime a company that offers classes or photo portfolios also promotes itself as a talent agency or talent management company: Beware. Real industry professionals know that it is a conflict of interest to do both.

  • Auditions for any real roles in the film will not be advertised on the radio.

    Actors will be hired through bona fide SAG-franchised talent agencies.

    (The extras casting company MAY hold an open casting call, but this won’t happen until the film goes into production this fall and actually hires an extras company.

    Moreover, it will only be advertised in the Vancouver area or wherever the film is shooting. They do not want to truck extras in from remote locations. There are plenty of people on hand who live nearby.)

  • The qualification to audition for a film this huge is not one’s ability to send a text message.

    The casting directors want educated, established, experienced, professional actors. They don’t have time to waste on these kinds of games. Film is a high-pressure, fast-paced business and producers want only the crème de la crème.

    If you want to break into acting, get into the best acting class you can find and train, train, train. Don’t look around for silly shortcuts. Acting is hard work and very competitive.

  • Who in the Forks is this casting director?

    This acting/modeling school claims that a casting director will be there, but since it can’t possibly be the CD of Breaking Dawn, who is it?

    And why are they claiming it’s an audition for Breaking Dawn? The film is not yet in production and no crew has been hired.

    Period.

_____________________________________

CRACKING DOWN ON CASTING SCAMS

Fortunately, new laws are starting to be passed, such as the Krekorian Talent Scam Prevention Act that went into effect in Los Angeles at the beginning of the year, per Variety:

SAG sponsored the legislation, working with the BBB, ATA, AFTRA, WGA, BizParentz.org and the City Attorney of Los Angeles.

You can read about it here.

Hope this clears up a few things and saves people from falling for this or similar operations.

_____________________________________

EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT ACTING & MODELING SCAMS

Below are some links to previous posts and articles on scams that target aspiring actors and models. Read up and be educated!

“Breaking Dawn” Casting SCAM ALERT
December 3, 2009

Beware The ‘Breaking Dawn’ Casting Scam!
December 4, 2010 (AccessHollywood.com)

Beware of online ‘Breaking Dawn’ casting scam
December 4, 2010 (MSNBC.com)

No need to pay to be in “Twilight” cast
December 6, 2009

Repeat after me: All current casting calls for “Breaking Dawn” are FALSE
December 8, 2009

The Buzz on recent “Breaking Dawn” audition hoax
December 16, 2009

Auditions for ‘Twilight’ film are scams, says Portland casting agent Lana Veenker
January 5, 2010

Return to top.

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Summit in final negotiations with Breaking Dawn director!

by admin

We love it when some REAL Twilight news surfaces and not just scams and rumors.

Variety is reporting that Summit Entertainment is in final negotiations with Bill Condon to direct Breaking Dawn, based the fourth book in the Twilight series. And looks like it will, indeed, be split into two movies, as many predicted.

Great news for Twilight fans everywhere!

Summit circles final ‘Twilight’ pic
Condon in talks to direct ‘Breaking Dawn’
Wed, April 7, 2010
by Tatiana Siegel

Summit Entertainment is closing in on helmer Bill Condon to close out the “Twilight” saga.

Condon is in negotiations to direct “Breaking Dawn” — the final tome in author Stephenie Meyer’s four-book vampire series. The deal is expected to close quickly, with no major sticking points between the two sides.

“Breaking Dawn,” which marks the last chapter in the love story of bloodsucker Edward and mortal Bella, will likely be broken into two films — meaning Condon would be the sole director to land two “Twilight” gigs. Catherine Hardwicke helmed the first pic, while Chris Weitz directed the second, “New Moon.” David Slade was behind the camera for the third, the upcoming “Eclipse.” Though Summit has been fickle with its directors, the company has stuck with scribe Melissa Rosenberg to adapt each installment.

Condon most recently helmed the musical “Dreamgirls.”

Link to article.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Finally, some real Breaking Dawn news!

by admin

We finally have some real news to report on Breaking Dawn!! But first, a public service announcement:

HOW TO STAY INFORMED ON THE TWILIGHT SAGA

We continue to be inundated with messages, emails and tweets, asking who is directing Breaking Dawn, who is casting it, where it is shooting and when auditions are taking place.

As we’ve said before, we’re unable to answer all these questions individually, or we’d simply have no time to, you know, earn a living! We do have a casting company to run, after all. 🙂

For the time being, we have nothing to do with Breaking Dawn and there’s no guarantee that we ever will. It all depends on when and where it shoots and who is hired to cast and direct. None of this is in our hands, unfortunately, and we cannot reply to everyone who asks one by one.

Here’s the best way to keep informed about anything we do learn regarding the Twilight Saga. Anything we find out will be reported in these five places first:

1. Twihard Mailing List: Join by sending a blank email to twihard [@] aweber [.] com (remove the spaces and brackets).

2. Twitter: Follow us at http://twitter.com/lanaveenker

3. The Casting Scoop: Check this blog regularly or subscribe to the RSS feed (see right sidebar)

4. Facebook: Find us at http://facebook.com/lanaveenkercasting

5. MySpace: We’re at http://myspace.com/lanaveenkercasting

SO YOU WANNA BE AN ACTOR?

Finally, if you’re trying to break into the acting business, sign up for our Tools 4 Actors newsletter, also in the right sidebar of this blog, or simply send a blank email to tools4actors [@] aweber [.] com (minus the spaces and brackets). The newsletter is full of tips and tools from Casting Director Lana Veenker, and it’s helpful for both beginners and seasoned actors.

NOW, on to the news:


Thanks go to our friends over at the Twilight Lexicon for alerting us to this article on Entertainment Weekly:

Exclusive: Summit looking at Academy Award-nominated directors for ‘Breaking Dawn’
by Nicole Sperling
March 16, 2010

Yes, it’s still early days, but Summit is trying to up its pedigree for its big-screen adaptation of the final installment of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. Sources tell EW that the studio has reached out to at least three top-notch directors, including Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation), Gus Van Sant (Milk), and Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) to gauge their interest in what is likely to be two movies. (Van Sant’s reps confirmed that he’s been approached, but Coppola and Condon’s people didn’t return phone calls by press time. Summit declined to comment.)

No decisions are likely to be made until the studio delivers screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg’s detailed outline to the directors. That should happen sometime next week. Until then we can just wonder how these three very diverse directors will approach Bella’s controversial birthing scene.

Link to article.

Be sure to also check out the Lexicon’s interesting comments about this news:

The Hunt for Breaking Dawn Directors Begins

In our opinion, which is based on past experience and conjecture not insider info, Summit will tell us details about Breaking Dawn after the Eclipse major marketing wave is over. That’s not to say that Melissa Rosenberg isn’t working on script options, meaning making it one movie or two movies, that they aren’t figuring if they will use Portland or Vancouver, or when they’ll be shooting. It just means that like most companies, they like to focus their marketing and newscycle on one major product at a time. Pun intended, they don’t want the Eclipse movie to be eclipsed by Breaking Dawn news.

Link to article.

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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Lana at Official Twilight Convention – Seattle

by admin

For all of our Twihard blog followers:

If you’re attending Creation Entertainment’s Official Twilight Convention in Seattle on January 15-17, 2010, keep an eye out for Lana!

She will be giving a talk, tentatively entitled “Auditioning for the Twilight Saga: Fact versus Fiction,” and will touch on the following topics:

    • Twilight Saga casting calls: How to recognize real ones from fake ones

 

    • Can I audition for a role in Breaking Dawn? Understanding the casting process

 

    • Help! I need an agent! What you need to do to get signed by a legitimate talent agency

 

    • Working as an extra

 

    • How to break into the business if you don’t live in Hollywood

 

Once in many moons a new genre craze begins and so it is for TWILIGHT, the epic series of books and smash hit feature film (with sequels to follow). We are proud to present the Creation Entertainment’s Official Twilight Convention 2010 in the happening city of Seattle Washington State, January 15-17, 2010. With fantastic guest stars from the film, wonderful programming, panels and events, themed parties, autographs and photo ops, live musical performances and more: make your plans now to join the celebration!

Hope to see you there!

 

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Auditions for ‘Twilight’ film are scams, says Portland casting agent Lana Veenker

by admin

Oops, I almost forgot to post this, as the interview took place before the holidays! More coverage on the “Breaking Dawn” casting scams circulating the Internet:

Auditions for ‘Twilight’ film are scams, says Portland casting agent Lana Veenker
By Margie Boulé
The Oregonian
January 05, 2010

All your teenager wanted for Christmas was a part in the next “Twilight” movie.

Since the first two films in the “Twilight Saga” series, “Twilight” and “New Moon,” have been released and the third, “Eclipse,” has been shot, teens all over the world are getting desperate. Their last chance to be the kid sitting in the back of the lunchroom, or the teenager behind the counter of the coffeehouse, or even the brown dot on the horizon in a crowd scene, could soon be gone.

So your teen jumps on the Internet and starts searching for audition opportunities. Or your daughter, who belongs to a “Twilight” fan site, gets an e-mail out of the blue from a “casting scout” for “Breaking Dawn,” the fourth film in the series.

Don’t fall for it.

According to Lana Veenker, who owns Lana Veenker Casting in Northwest Portland, “It’s all a scam.”

Lana should know. Not only is she a legitimate casting agent, but she’s also the casting agent who gave people real parts in the first “Twilight” movie, which was shot in Oregon and Washington.

Which puts her in the hot seat these days when teens want to know how they can be in “Breaking Dawn.”

Link to full article.

 

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Repeat after me: All current casting calls for "Breaking Dawn" are FALSE

by admin

Not to beat the subject into the ground, but ever since my original blog post about the “Breaking Dawn” casting scam that’s being advertised all over the Internet and landing in people’s email inboxes, I have received tons of messages asking whether casting calls on other sites are also a scam.

Here’s the bottom line:

ALL CURRENTLY ADVERTISED CASTING CALLS FOR BREAKING DAWN ARE FALSE.

Breaking Dawn is not yet in production. When it does go into production, professional casting directors will be hired to cast it.

Any website or company claiming that they can get you an audition for “Breaking Dawn” and then asks for ANY money whatsoever is not a real casting company.

REAL CASTING DIRECTORS ARE NOT “CASTING SCOUTS”

Real casting directors don’t have websites where people are required to pay money to submit themselves for jobs.

They will never see the supposed audition tapes that the “casting scouts” on these websites are promising to forward on to them.

Real casting directors in the US are usually members of CSA. Their resumes can be found on IMDb.

REAL CASTING DIRECTORS WORK WITH REAL TALENT AGENTS

The CDs that Summit hires will work with professional talent agencies to hire the principal roles.

Real talent agencies do not charge their talent any money to be represented. They only make commissions when their actors book jobs.

Real agents represent established, professional actors who were either referred to them by other professionals or whom they have previously seen perform on stage or film.

They do not scout for talent in shopping malls, on Craigslist, in banner ads or in spam emails.

Real agents do not run acting or modeling schools, especially ones that charge thousands of dollars.

In the US, they are usually franchised by SAG

and AFTRA.

REAL EXTRAS CASTING DIRECTORS WILL HIRE THE BACKGROUND PERFORMERS

Real extras casting directors have offices, staff and phone lines. They are usually based in the area where the film will be shooting. Their resumes can be found on IMDb.

They will widely advertise open casting calls for background actors (if any are needed) on the TV and radio stations in the city where the film is shooting.

The casting call will be free to attend. You should never have to pay to audition or to find out the location of an audition.

They will not seek to hire extras who live outside the shooting area. They are not interested in dealing with travel complications that could arise from hiring an out-of-town extra. And they certainly won’t hire someone who doesn’t already have working papers.

If you want to be an extra on a film, the harsh reality is that you need to live in the area where it is shooting and there’s no guarantee you’ll even be chosen to work.

PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD

I hope this clears up everyone’s questions. Please spread the word, as many people have not heard this information, and judging by my inbox, are still falling prey to scam artists everywhere.

You can read my previous blog posts on this subject below or by clicking “Scams” in the Labels section in the right sidebar. As mentioned before, if we ever get any real news about “Breaking Dawn,” we’ll post it here and pass it on to our Twihard mailing list.

Be safe, do your research and always use common sense.

Lana Veenker CSA
Twilight” Casting Director (Oregon)
IMDb

LINKS:

No need to pay to be in Twilight cast

Breaking Dawn Casting SCAM ALERT

Beware of Acting and Modeling Scams

Acting/Modeling Schools that Double as Agencies?

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Breaking Dawn Casting SCAM ALERT

by admin

If you’ve been around my blog for a while, you know how much we hate, HATE, HATE scam artists who prey on aspiring actors and movie fans (especially kids) with fake casting calls.

A new one involving Breaking Dawn, the final installment in the Twilight series, has come to my attention. BE WARNED! As I’ve done in the past, I’m going to dissect it, show you all the red flags and demonstrate how I did the research to uncover the scam artist behind it all.

So next time you get an email like the one below or see something online that sounds too good to be true, you’ll know how to dissect it yourself to find out if it’s bogus or for real. Take note!

By the way, I’m not going to post the name or URL of the company and give them free traffic, but this was forwarded to me from a real talent agent, whose client (a minor) received it. The girl did not have a profile on this scam website and doesn’t have any other publicly viewable casting profiles online. So the first question is: How did they get her contact information? When her mother replied to the email to inquire, the email bounced back: “no such mailbox.” Major red flag. I would have deleted this as spam right then and there. But let’s dissect the entire message anyway!

ANATOMY OF A SCAM EMAIL

From: Casting Department
Sent: Thu, Dec 3, 2009 3:36 am
Subject: Salem Area Movie Extras Needed for Twilight “Breaking Dawn” Casting in Portland. <---RED FLAG! All Ages Wanted, No Experience Needed, Make up to $300 Per Day!

  • Shoot location has not been announced, so no casting is taking place in Portland. Also, productions never hire extras casting companies until a few weeks before principal photography is starting. Last I heard, Breaking Dawn won’t shoot for another six months or so.

“Dear Jane,

“I noticed your portfolio online<---RED FLAG! and have decided to contact you regarding positions now available as a movie extra for the new Twilight “Breaking Dawn” movie in Portland.”

  • Casting directors don’t casually browse the Internet and contact people individually to work as extras. You think we’ve got time for that kind of thing???

    If a CD needs a thousand extras, he or she will contact all the TV and radio stations, announce a casting call and get everyone to show up at once. Or, if they have an established extras casting company, they will contact extras in their existing database and check their availability for specific dates.

“No experience is necessary, all looks/types are wanted and the pay ranges from $80-$250<---RED FLAG! per day depending on whether it’s part or full time.

“Casting starts next Monday<---RED FLAG! so you will need to register (FREE REGISTRATION)<---RED FLAG! as soon as possible. It will be lots of fun, a great way to make connections in the industry and pays well!<---RED FLAG!

“If you are interested CLICK HERE TO APPLY (registration is free).”<---RED FLAG!

  • Where to begin? First of all, we know extras casting doesn’t start next Monday, BECAUSE THE FILM ISN’T EVEN SHOOTING YET. Yes, principal actors sometimes get hired well before production starts, but not the extras.
  • Next, the words FREE REGISTRATION are misleading: You can indeed register (i.e. give them all your contact information) for free on their website, but you can’t view the casting call details unless you PAY (more on this later). Real casting calls are widely publicized and FREE.
  • Also, the subject line of the email promises up to $300/day. This part says they can earn up to $250/day. In reality, extras earn a lot less than that. And only stand-ins even come close to working full-time as extras. The work is very sporadic; usually only a few days here and there.

    We’ll discuss what happens when you click on CLICK HERE TO APPLY in a bit.

“Sincerely,

“David Fox / Portland Casting Scout”<---RED FLAG!

Five simple words, yet so many suspicious elements:

  • David Fox is a dubiously generic-sounding name. Plus, I live in Portland and I’ve never heard of him. A Google search for “david fox” + “casting scout” returns zero results.
  • Nobody calls themselves a casting scout, unless they’re trying to get money out of you (in my experience). We are casting DIRECTORS. A Google search for “david fox” + “casting director” doesn’t turn up anything useful, either.
  • If by some stretch of the imagination, I don’t know him because he just arrived in town for this specific project (which is not possible, since the shoot locations of BD have not been announced), he would at least have a resume on IMDb, right?
  • Wrong. IMDb has no listing for an extras casting director named David Fox. Do you really think Summit Entertainment would hire someone with NO casting experience to work on their blockbuster movie? Check out the resume of the extras CD who cast their last film. THAT’S more like it.

“PS: We are the entertainment industry’s way of casting new faces and talent all around the world for movie extra roles.<---RED FLAG! With over 300,000 members<---RED FLAG! and thousands of Industry professionals (producers, directors, agents and photographers) [SCAMMY COMPANY] is the right place to find jobs! Thousands of jobs now available in all 50 states. We have been in business since 2005 and are a proud member of the Better Business Bureau.”<---RED FLAG!

  • Aah. So now we discover that our beloved David Fox is not the extras casting director of Breaking Dawn, but in fact he works for a website that he claims industry professionals use.

    Sorry, but professional extras casting directors have their own databases of local talent. They don’t hop on these websites looking for extras, otherwise they’d get swamped with useless submissions from around the world. Extras are always cast LOCALLY.

    Oh, their scammy website probably has casting calls for some low-budget freebies, posted by indie filmmakers who don’t know any better, but no major production company is going to use a company like this. When they arrive in a shoot location, they hire a LOCAL casting company, with an actual office, phone lines and real people behind the desks.

  • And by the way, when I searched this company’s name on the Better Business Bureau‘s website, it came back with a reliability rating of F (company name blacked out, to avoid giving them traffic):

If that wasn’t enough to convince you that the company is a scam, let’s check out what happens when you click the link in the email.

___________________________________________

ANATOMY OF A SCAM WEBSITE

This page has some of the same information as in the email, but I will point out a few more red flags:

ALL EXTRAS CASTING IS LOCAL

“Place: (nationwide) <---RED FLAG!

“Female or Male – All Ethnicities – All Ages <---RED FLAG!

“By clicking ‘Apply’ button you will send an email with a link to your profile directly to the casting agent.” <---RED FLAG!

  • Nobody does a nationwide extras casting call. That would be insane. Why would a casting director want 20,000 emails from extras who don’t even live in the right area? Extras casting is done LOCALLY. Period.

    There are plenty of people who live near the shoot location, so there’s no reason for production to hassle with the myriad travel complications that could arise from hiring someone out of the area. If you want to be an extra on a particular movie, you’ll just have to move to where it’s shooting first.

    Extras casting directors already have too much work to do and way too little time. They prefer to hire extras whom they’ve worked with before and trust to show up on time and behave properly on set. At the very least, they want local extras.

NO WAY TO REPORT PROBLEMS OR COMPLAINTS

  • The links to report scams, spam and inappropriate content do not allow you to send a message; instead, they lead you to the registration page. I was not going to give this sketchy company my contact info just to report a complaint, so I read the Terms of Service to see if I could find any contact information there.
  • The two email addresses I found in the Terms of Service where one can supposedly file complaints (abuse@___.com and legal@_____.com) both BOUNCED.

WHO IS THIS GUY?

  • Next, I conducted a WHOIS search on the company name, but only came up with the contact info for a private registration site that keeps the registrant’s name anonymous.
  • So, I did a WHOIS search on the domain name of the email address in the original email and–BINGO!–I found a certain Richard Fox (hmm, same last name as David–what a coinkidink!).
  • A little more digging revealed this information:

    * “Richard Fox” owns about 4,885 other domains
    * is a contact on the whois record of 631 domains
    * 1 registrar has maintained records for this domain since 2006-10-23 with 1 drop.
    * This domain has changed name servers 2 times over 2 years.
    * Hosted on 3 IP addresses over 3 years.
    * View 15 ownership records archived since 2007-11-27.
    * 3,881 other web sites are hosted on this server.

  • In other words, a guy who spends a lot more time making money off websites than doing any actual casting.

THE FINE PRINT

So, what will it cost you to find out about a NON-EXISTENT casting call for Breaking Dawn? Well, if you’re unlucky enough to have signed up for the yearly subscription, you’ll be out a HUNDRED BUCKS with no refund. I found this on the TOS page:

“[SCAMMY COMPANY NAME] offers a monthly (30 days) subscription for $39.99 and an annual (365 days) subscription for $99.99. All subscriptions are billed for the respective amount following the last day of the subscription period. [SCAMMY BRAND NAME] memberships are subscriptions billed on an automatic recurring billing cycle. PLEASE NOTE THAT ONCE YOU HAVE BEEN BILLED AND SERVICE HAS COMMENCED FOR THAT BILLING CYCLE, YOUR FEE FOR THAT BILLING CYCLE IS NON-REFUNDABLE. NO PRO-RATA REFUNDS WILL BE GIVEN FOR CANCELLATIONS IN THE MIDDLE OF A BILLING CYCLE. [SCAMMY COMPANY NAME] also offers a $1.99 3-day trial promotion. The 3-day trial if not canceled becomes a regular monthly subscription of $39.99 after the initial 3-day trial.”

I’m sure our wily Fox is making a pretty penny off Twilight fans who did not recognize the scam that this is. And that makes me mad!

Please feel free to share the link to this page with everyone you know. Don’t let others fall prey to creeps like this.

[Edited to add this helpful link that also applies to acting scams:

US Federal Trade Commission:
If You’ve Got the Look, Look Out! Avoiding Modeling Scams
]

[Also edited to add: Any “Breaking Dawn” audition advertisements that may appear on this blog are doing so by using keywords and are not endorsed by us. We do our best to block websites from placing bogus casting calls on our site, but some may slip through the cracks. Caveat emptor!

Twilight fans can keep apprised of any actual news we may receive about the films by visiting this blog, subscribing to the RSS feed in the right sidebar and/or by sending a blank email to twihard@aweber.com to join our Twihard mailing list.]

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Friday, October 16, 2009

More news about "Breaking Dawn"

by admin

More news has just surfaced about “Breaking Dawn,” the fourth movie in the “Twilight” franchise, based on the best-selling books by Stephenie Meyer.

Scene in Portland‘s Kelly Jo Horton breaks the scoop:

Twilight is coming back to Portland.

I can’t tell you how I know this, but I know this. According to a very reliable source, there are two production companies involved: Summit Entertainment and Sunswept Entertainment. The movie will be split into two separate films. Breaking Dawn Part 1 will most likely begin shooting in March of 2010 (despite rumors putting the start date as September 2010), which puts filming right smack-dab on the same schedule as Leverage. Portland will look like the backlot of Universal with Leverage and then the two Breaking Dawn movies shooting back to back.

Link to full article.

We know Kelly Jo Horton personally and believe her to be a reliable source. That being said, our office has not been contacted by the production company regarding casting, as we stated in our previous post, so we’ll repost a few reminders for the “Breaking Dawn” hopefuls out there:

PLEASE, NO SUBMISSIONS
There is no need to inundate our mailboxes with materials (or goodness forbid, swamp our phone lines or email inboxes). Our small staff and limited resources make it impossible for us to consider ANY submissions or inquiries at this time. Please save your money and spare us from the onslaught!

STAY INFORMED
To keep updated on any Twilight-related news we may have, subscribe to our Twilight mailing list, by sending a blank email to twihard@aweber.com. You can also keep an eye on this blog for news and/or sign up for the RSS feed on the right sidebar.

We assure you that any information worth sharing will immediately be posted here and sent to our mailing list.

NOTE: This is a different mailing list from our Tools 4 Actors newsletter. If you want to receive Lana’s acting tips and tools, use the form on the right sidebar of this page.

We are all hopeful that the news is accurate, but for the time being, we’ll just have to wait and see. We appreciate your help in keeping our lives manageable!

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Breaking Dawn Rumors

by admin

Word has been flying around the blogosphere that “Breaking Dawn,” the fourth film in the “Twilight” series, may be shooting in Oregon next September.

For the record, we have not yet been contacted by production about this possibility and have not been hired to provide casting services.

There is no need to inundate our mailboxes with materials (or goodness forbid, swamp our phone lines or email inboxes). Our small staff and limited resources make it impossible for us to consider ANY submissions or inquiries at this time. Please save your money and spare us from the onslaught!

To keep updated on any Twilight-related news we may have, subscribe to our Twilight mailing list, by sending a blank email to twihard@aweber.com. You can also keep an eye on this blog for news and/or sign up for the RSS feed on the right sidebar.

We assure you that any information worth sharing will immediately be posted here and sent to our mailing list.

NOTE: This is a different mailing list from our Tools 4 Actors newsletter. If you want to receive Lana’s acting tips and tools, use the form on the right sidebar of this page.

We appreciate your understanding and hope to have more information for you in the future.

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