Robert Amatruda and Associates


To Whom It May Concern:

I am trying to find out about Robert Amatruda & Associates and Booking Actors & Models (bammodels.com).

They are making a swing though the country having "auditions." I attended the Sept. 28 convention in Dallas, and my daughter has received a call back from them.

I am supposed to meet them tomorrow. On the phone they said that they "very interested" in my daughter, and want us to go to Los Angeles to take photos. These photo packages range from $1,000 to $6,000, not to mention having to pay air and hotel in L.A.!!!

Needless to say, this sent up the RED flags and I started investigating. This is how I found your site. Based of the info and cautions I read here and other places, I think you might have helped save me some money.

Nevertheless, I was wondering if you knew anything about them?

Thanks for the informative site.

W.M.


W.,

Robert Amatruda wants you to pay up to $6,000 for photos AND fly to Los Angeles for a photoshoot? Who is he? A king?

This is unbelievable. It is unheard of. On both points. Who pays $6,000 for photos? Who flies to another city for a photo shoot?

Professional models fly to another city for a photo shoot but the client pays.

New models starting out should not pay more than $300, said the President of top agency Next in New York. The president of a model and talent agency said $200-600 is okay, and $800 is a lot.

But this all is missing the point. You are in Dallas? He is in California. Did you already visit Dallas agencies? Call some of them and ask about photo pricing. Ask them if $6,000 for a new and untested model is the sign of a reputable agency.

Redacted Info


To Whom It May Concern:

We decided against going to the Robert Amatruda and Associates meeting.

When we researched this man's company on the internet, we just had a bad feeling. It seems they make their money from the headshots that you pay for upfront, and you have to provide your own transportation to LA.

They cannot guarantee that your child will even get work. They said in the seminar that they do not provide jobs; a terrific headshot gets you the job.

My question was... If they want to use their own photographer to take these photos, why don't they bring him/her with them and take them here?!!

And if they are so interested in my daughter working for them, shouldn't they be paying us?

I guess we should have gone to have these answered for us.

O.L.


O.,

The whole idea of flying at your expense to another city to get photos done to pay for them up front is insane!

If you don't live in the city where the work is, how are you going to get work there? A casting director said the other day, "If you don't live in NY or LA, you're wasting your time and money."

Redacted Info


To Whom It May Concern:

My daughter received a letter from Robert Amatruda and Associates.

I was wondering if anyone knew how they might have got my daughter's name. How do they get any of the kids' names?

I read the letters on the website, but still can't determine whether it's a scam or not. 

We are in Houston, and my daughter has a meeting on October 19. Of course, she really wants to go, but I am undecided.

Any feedback would be helpful.

T.L.


T.,

You asked: "How do they get any of the kids' names?"

Very good question. Someone wrote a while back and said a modeling company had sold its mailing list to another firm which was trying to get money for a modeling school or some modeling scam.

Ask them. Ask "Robert Amatruda & Associates" where they got your daughter's name and address. This is how the other person found out, just by asking. If they don't answer the question, start walking.

If you are in Houston, find an agency in Houston. If you take your daughter to agencies in Houston before October 19, she will not complain, right? As long as she can see you're not trying to take away an opportunity. There are enough agencies in Houston which you can call and visit.

It is much safer to work with local agencies with a solid BBB record than strangers from out of town who are not accountable to local government and local media.


 

Redacted Info


To Whom It May Concern:

I just went to an interview with the photographer of Robert Amatruda and Associates. His name is Shaun Alexander and you can get more information on Zoomonme.com. He seems like a respectable photographer and, unlike many others, I am willing to go to LA to go to the photo shoot.

The whole shoot including portfolios, photoshoot, makeup, ZED cards, and everything will be about $2,600.

Now I am willing to pay for it as long as I am going to be receiving what I am paying for. I know that I may not get many if any jobs from Robert Amatruda and Associates, but I believe that if they give me my portfolio, and I am satisfied with it, then I can go off on my own and pick out my own agent.

Now they are asking for the money upfront. And from reading your scam letters, it may not be wise.

What I am asking is if I should tell him to fill out a contract stating that on the day we arrive he will be there and do the shots and within a month, he will have provided me with what I am paying for, make him sign and get a witness so just in case this is a scam, I will at least get what I paid for back? I do think he is a respectable man, but I just want to take all precautions.

Any thoughts to add?

Thanks,

S.M.

P.S: PLEASE write me back by November 3, 2002 around 12 PM (MT), because I am calling him back about my decision then.


S.,

Was "November 3" a typo? Your email was received on November 4.

You said: "I am willing to pay for it as long as I am going to be receiving what I am paying for. I know that I may not get many if any jobs from Robert Amatruda and Associates, but I believe that if they give me my portfolio, and I am satisfied with it, then I can go off on my own and pick out my own agent."

You may be overlooking an important point. Comp cards usually have the name/address of the agency which is representing the model. This is not a sticker like an address label you can peel off; it is printed on the card with the photos. Therefore you cannot just find another agent, as you suggested: you would have to get the cards reprinted.

A few days ago, the parent of an aspiring model wrote, saying they paid for many expensive comp cards, which included the name of the agency representing their daughter, but they were all wasted, because the agency suddenly shut down. They cannot use them. They said they were "left with a massive amount of comp cards on which were printed "ICE" which we couldn't use." (ICE was the agency name.)

But you said you would pay not only for comp cards but also for a portfolio. What exactly did you have in mind? Comp cards and a portfolio are not same thing. You do need comp cards starting out, but you do not need a portfolio.

The best portfolio is a collection of examples of work you have already done, like tear sheets, and maybe some other photos, showing what you could do, but the biggest issue here is what type of modeling you anticipate. If it is not high fashion, you might be able to start with comp cards. The portfolio should match the modeling jobs you anticipate to be convincing.

Another point is if an agency is going to set you up with a portfolio, they will choose not only the right photographer, but also the type of look for you based on their knowledge of what will be most marketable for you and the look that is "in."

Agencies can be very particular about this, and the look that is in can and does change, so you cannot assume this is a minor point. If they feel your portfolio is not marketable, they will toss it out, and you would have to pay again. Therefore you want to get it right the first time.

Now you didn't say where you live. You said you are prepared to fly to LA, and you mentioned you are in a MT time zone. Where exactly did you plan to get work? LA or where you live? Are you moving to LA? If you are not, then how are you going to model?

If you are prepared to fly into LA for a photo shoot, are you also prepared to fly into LA any time and every time you want to get work as a model? For every casting call and go see? If casting directors know you don't live in LA, do you really expect them to ask you to visit?

As a new model, or an aspiring model, you really need to be within driving distance of the place where you model. The exception is already established and successful models who can and do fly anywhere, often, but the models have a resume, and the clients know what they are getting, and they typically pay for the airfare.

Cindy Crawford used to travel a lot, but when she started, she had to drive to work. She had to drive to Chicago all the time to model there when she was a teenager until she moved to Chicago after graduating from high school. Are you within driving distance of where you could work as a model?

You are talking about a very expensive proposition. The total price of the photoshoot, including all the extra stuff, is very expensive. It is probably 2-3x more than what you should pay. Then you add the cost of the airfare round trip and what are you looking at? More than $3,000?

If you go through with this you are taking a huge financial risk which is apparently compounded significantly because you don't (if you don't) live anywhere near where you could get work.

Any time a modeling agency wants their models to pay more than $1,000 for comp cards or portfolios when they are new models starting out, the payment should not be due until the model gets work, taken from the first paycheck.

This is how it works at top agencies in New York, for example. The new models do not have to take huge financial risks. They do not have to pay extreme upfront fees. They may pay a lot for photography and photos, or even more than most, but they don't take any risk, so they cannot get scammed.

Since in your case you would have to pay about $3,000 in upfront fees, and it sounds as if you are new to the modeling world, are you convinced you know what you are doing?

Your idea of getting a contract specially designed to protect your interests is probably not going to protect you. It would probably not work or be advisable unless you had a lawyer to review it, but that would cost you even more money, and they may not even agree to it.

Of the photographer you said: "He seems like a respectable photographer." Based on what? I don't think the photographer is the main issue here. More importantly what do you know about Robert Amatruda?

A background check showed he has an extensive background and relationship with the John Casablancas modeling schools. A JC website said Amatruda is: "a former owner of JC Centers in Connecticut," and he still goes to them.

You really should read the letters on John Casablancas modeling schools and learn more about modeling schools in general. Find out why one talent manager said modeling schools are complete scams. Then you will start to understand where Robert Amatruda is coming from, and why he is into extremely high upfront fees for aspiring models, for photos or schools, even when they don't get work.

Redacted Info


To Whom It May Concern:

I just received a letter from Robert Amatruda and Associates.

I'm interested in what he is saying about a free seminar, but a while ago I was working a little with Beverly Hills Studios, and I paid a large amount of money, but they ended up going out of business.

Now, to get to the point, I wanted to know if I should go to the seminar or not? The letter sounds attractive because of how much experience he says he has and how successful he says he is.

Well, the seminar is in one week, and I hope you can get back to me before that. 

Thank you,

R.O.


R.,

The "free seminar" may become a sales pitch for expensive photos. Presumably you are already in Los Angeles, and would be able to find many different photographers at reasonable prices, if it ever gets to that.

If you are serious about modeling, shop around the same week as the "free seminar," and look for reputable agents who are licensed.

If the purpose of the free seminar is the same as an open call, contact agencies in your area and see if they also have free open calls.

Should you go to the free seminar? What have you got to lose if it's free? If you go, just beware of a sales pitch others mentioned for expensive photos and compare what he says with what agencies in your area say. Don't take one person's opinion as "gospel." Get a second and third opinion, and shop around.

Redacted Info


To Whom It May Concern:

I met with Robert Amatruda and his BAM associates in August of 2002 in Columbus, OH. I had received a letter in the mail inviting me to an open call.

I had heard of Robert Amatruda before because he had been featured on the Montel Williams Show. They showed Amatruda bringing a young girl out to LA to become a model. It showed Amatruda in a very favorable light. I never really thought about how they received my name. I went based upon Amatruda's reputation.

I went through the herding process, seminar about the modeling industry, and meeting with Mr. Amatruda directly.

I was then informed that if Mr. Amatruda was interested in representing me, I would receive a phone call the next day.

Of course I received a phone call and I chose to meet with Annmarie Scarpia, Amatruda's assistant (or so I was told) the next day.

So I went but I was kept waiting for over an hour. When Annmarie finally got off of her cell phone, she informed me that Robert loved my pictures and the video which I had done. He wanted to represent me but needed me to get some pictures done first.

I was a little hesitant; however, Annmarie stated that the only way Robert would be able to promote me is if I had my zed cards put together so he could send them out to clients.

She then said that I could easily get my pictures done for $1,780 out in LA. All I needed to do was give her a check for whatever I could afford so she could book my shoot.

I didn't see this as a scam. I seriously thought this was legit. So I wrote her a check for $150.

I contacted my parents and we flew out to LA and had my photo shoot at B1Studios.

The makeup artist barely put any makeup on me, but I really enjoyed shooting with the photographer and his assistant. The shoot took a total of five hours and I had eight different looks.

But the photographer had to tell the makeup artist/stylist/hairstylist to fix my makeup or change my lipstick. If he wouldn't have, she would never have changed it.

After the shoot, I returned to Columbus, and waited a week to hear back from Annmarie, because she told me that she would be in contact with me within one week.

But I never heard back from her. I had to keep calling her, and, when I did call at the office number which I had for her, the person there was answering “FLASH STUDIOS,” instead of Robert Amatruda and Associates. I had been told that Amatruda was representing me.

Well, when Annmarie finally contacted me, she told me that I needed to pay her ANOTHER $1,780 for developing and proof sheets!!

I decided not to do it and asked for my negatives. That was three months ago and I am now out $1,780.

I have spoken with Amatruda directly along with his cohort Robert Macias. Both have promised to help, but unless I hound them I receive no response.

My last dealing with Amatruda was a message I received stating that my negatives had been mailed to me.

That was well over a week ago and no negatives have been received and no phone calls have been returned.

I don't know what to do or from whom I can get help. In my opinion, this is a scam, and people need to be made aware of it.

Is there anyone else out there having this same problem? I paid the money and I never received what I was promised. This has to be against the law.

Please give me advice.

Thank you for your time.

J.K.


J.,

Being asked to fly to LA at your own expense and then pay $1,780, and then another $1,780 sounds extreme. How much have you already paid, total, including all expenses for your round trip ticket, hotel, food, etc.?

To whom did you make your check? The photographer or Amatruda? When you said Flash Studios answered, is this a photography studio? Is it a photography studio posing as a modeling agency? Do they make their money from selling expensive photos instead of commissions from modeling jobs?

It sounds as if they never made it clear up front they were going to charge you twice the original cost, because you seemed surprised by the request for an additional $1,780. Did they really expect you to pay $3,560? And you don't even live anywhere near the work in LA/NY?

Do they expect you to pay another $1,780 for the actual prints? $1,780 for the photography, $1,780 for the developing and proof sheets, and $1,780 for prints? For a total of $5,340? How many more hidden costs are there?

As far as getting your negatives, you could fax them daily until they FedEx them and give you the tracking number to prove they were sent. If they still don't respond, report them to the BBB. If that doesn't work, get a lawyer.

Your situation again underscores the importance of not dealing with people who want your money when they are not in your city or even your state. Customer service issues, etc., are very awkward, because they can ignore you so easily, not returning calls, basically giving you the run around.

Ironically, the producer of the Montel Williams Show, which you said led you to believe in what Amatruda was doing, previously wrote the site, saying she was looking for scam victims. You may want to write to her and see if she can help you figure out if you have been scammed.

Redacted Info


To Whom It May Concern:

I received the following letter from Robert Amatruda and Associates:

Dear D.,
 
Meet the man responsible for some of the most exciting careers in the entertainment industry.
 
Robert Amatruda, top Los Angeles casting director, will be in Atlanta this week only!
 
Mr. Amatruda's talent appears in movies, TV shows, music videos and national commercials such as (he lists some).
 
Mr. Amatruda will be holding a free seminar on becoming an actor "the right way" and scouting for potential actors and actresses.
 
This letter is your personal invitation to meet with Mr. Amatruda, president of Robert Amatruda Management.
 
This letter is only being sent to a limited number of people, so don't miss your chance, Thursday, January 16th at The Crowne Plaza Ravinia Hotel at 7:30 p.m. to meet the man that can change your life.
 
Training may be suggested to qualified candidates.
 
Under 18 must be with a parent.
 
Dress casually and bring a snapshot that can be left with Mr. Amatruda and his staff.
 
Space is limited.
 
Call (number listed).

So that's the letter but with correct grammar and punctuation and such.

I'm only 13 years old so I thought smart and looked this up online. That's how I found your site.

It only mentioned on your site they go to NYC and LA. They are coming to Atlanta, Georgia.

My friend also got two letters; our letters are identical.

Please reply.

D.D.


D.,

They said: "This letter is only being sent to a limited number of people." Obviously. They are not sending it to everyone. The question is, how did they get your name and your friend's name? You should ask them.

Why did they contact you? Were you in a school play? Did you previously show an interest in acting?

Amatruda is based in Los Angeles. Ask him how many people in Atlanta he works with work in LA. You need to find out how the people of Atlanta are going to get cast for roles in LA if they are in Atlanta.

In the letter they called Amatruda a "casting director." What is the name of his production company? They also said he is the president of "Robert Amatruda Management." If he is only an agent, he does not decide who is chosen for roles or work. That is done by a casting director.

If you attend the free seminar, take your acting resume, and find out if they ask for extreme amounts of money for photography or classes.

Beforehand you could contact talent agencies in Atlanta for second opinions about travelling road shows.

Redacted Info


To Whom It May Concern:

I live in Southeast Florida. I just met with Amatruda and his associates this past Saturday.

I went only because my 10-year-old daughter is passionate about acting and she wanted to go, and my wife and I promised we would always encourage our children to follow their dreams.

We attended his "open call" in West Palm Beach and received a phone call the very next day.

I tried with vigor to get information on the phone about the company, but was forced to go in person. I went back with my daughter that next Tuesday because they were leaving on Wednesday.

I spent the entire day on Monday doing due diligence. I called everyone I knew and tried to get an understanding of the business.

My gut told me this was a scam, and so did every other professional with any knowledge at all about this business.

I am trained to do due diligence, but no matter how hard I tried, I could not speak with anyone who knew this businessman.

I had also asked everyone else at the seminar how they got their name on this list. Noone had a clue.

I met with his associate, Ann Marie. This "Ann Marie" did not have a business card and could not give me the information I wanted when we met.

I told her that I needed to know more about her and Amatruda. She said she would have Amatruda call me the next day.

I never heard from him.

The end result is that every bone in my body said this guy was a *****. I was right.

I even told the girl Ann Marie that anyone could put together a glossy brochure and hire cute girls to work with them. She agreed and said there were a lot of scams out there. Some nerve!

The bottom line is that I went there to protrect my kid and that's what happened. She learned a very valuable lesson in life at an early age: "If it is too good to be true, then it probably is."

I believe that any person who would fall prey to this was looking for a get-rich-quick scheme. They wanted it more than their kids.

This stunk from the minute I got there. Nice presentation, but no business cards, and no answers to basic questions like, "Where did you get my kid's name?"

Their standard reply was referral or other talent agents. That's total bull because every other person there whom I asked also had no previous experience.

Go with your gut, people. If it looks good, but there are no references to back up claims, then it probably stinks.

Stay away!

P.Q.


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