John Robert Powers Modeling
Comments / Concerns
To Whom It May Concern:
I'm 15 and I have always been interested in acting and
modeling. I recently signed up with John Robert Powers
in CT for lessons. It all seemed very legit, but now
I have been looking more into it, and I have read about
many scams with modeling agencies. I was wondering if
anyone has heard about any scams with the CT franchise.
What is the cost of the lessons at John Robert Powers
in CT? Are they the most expensive classes in CT?
If you decide to take classes with JRP, don't let that
stop you from contacting and visiting reputable modeling
agencies in the region which do not require upfront fees
or classes. Explore your options and shop around.
To Whom It May Concern:
First, I want to thank you for some excellent advice,
and saving my family some valuable time when it came
to our "call back" appointment with John
I think what irks me the most about their sales pitch
is that they do it in front of your children, almost
using them for leverage in convincing you to sign them
up for what is a very costly "schooling" program.
I noticed in one of your email responses that you listed
several reputable modeling agencies for one particular
Both of my daughters are very interested in modeling/acting
on some level. We live in the San Fernando Valley (California),
which is part of Los Angeles County.
Could you please give me the names of a few agencies
that I can call to offset my children's disappointment
that I decided not to follow through with the John Robert
B.K. in Granada Hills, California
Beverly Hills/Los Angeles Modeling Agencies
9057 Nemo Street, Suite B
Los Angeles, CA 90069
345 N. Maple Drive, #397
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
8826 Burton Way
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
8447 Wilshire Boulevard, #301
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
6100 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 710
Los Angeles, CA 90048
8383 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 650
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
To Whom It May Concern:
I attended a John Robert Powers (Ontario, California) convention
at a high-class hotel in Hollywood.
They talked of looking for talent and models. Each person
did a two-second or so videotape and was told to call
a number the next day at a given time.
Low and behold, my daughter was picked to do a video
in two days with MTV. All I needed to do was give them
fifty percent of the fee, and in thirty days pay
I agreed to do this because they guaranteed she would
be in the video, and the other payment would come from
her wages for working in the video.
But we have not heard anything else since then. I have
been so worried that this is a scam. Is there any
information about this company that you can share?
I did suggest to my daughter to call the BBB. She believes
them and she said I made her feel bad for saying such
You said: "My daughter was picked to do a video
in two days with MTV."
If it has been longer than two days, by all means call John
Robert Powers. Find out what is going on.
If you paid and there has been a delay, they should
have already called you.
If you are unable to get through to JRP, or even if
you are, you could call MTV. Confirm they are working
with JRP, and confirm the date you were given for the
It is suspicious that JRP would guarantee work for anyone,
even if they are under contract with MTV. Usually the
client chooses the talent, not the agency, although there
are exceptions, e.g. very minor parts.
You could also inquire about JRP at the BBB. I can't
find an online listing for JRP in Ontario, California
in the BBB database. If it could upset her, your daughter
doesn't need to know you are making the call.
Since you are the one who paid, not your daughter, you
should investigate. Your concerns are not unfounded.
They should not be getting any upfront fees. It is totally
back to front. A talent agency is paid after the talent
is paid, not before.
How much did you pay? How long ago did you pay?
Please note the following information from the Los Angeles
- As of January 1, 2000, new California laws relating
to "advance fee talent services" allow 10
days to cancel contracts without penalty or obligation.
In some cases, refunds must be provided within 48 hours,
or the company is required to pay the artist an additional
sum equal to the original amount of the fee. Cancellation
procedures should be outlined in your contract.
To Whom It May Concern:
I've gone through the same disappointments as those
who already wrote about John Robert Powers with
my children and trying to assist them in the fulfillment
of their modeling dreams.
It sounds like there are a lot of agencies which are
asking for money upfront. Any suggestions as to how to
get them started with a good modeling agency?
You could either keep looking until you find an agency
which does not charge upfront fees, or you could shop
around until you find the one with the lowest rate.
The best way to get started with a modeling agency is
to visit the agency by appointment or at an open call.
This gives the agency the most accurate representation
of the aspiring model, a chance to speak with and see
the personality of the potential model, ask any questions
they want, and it also gives the prospective model and
possibly the parents a chance to discern the character
of the people at the agency through interaction and asking
the right questions.
To Whom It May Concern:
Last February I took my nine-year-old daughter to an "open
call" at John Robert Powers in
She was interested in being a catalog model. We received
a booklet full of the names of famous people who got
their start at JRP.
Here is a direct quote from the booklet: "Individuals
who have potential but need direction will be recommended
to our coaching program to develop the skills needed..."
The room was full of people in anticipation of being
the next discovery; my daughter was one of them. JRP
took her picture, had her read a few lines, videotaped
her, and told me how wonderful she was.
The very next day, the agency contacted me for a call
back. They wanted us that night for another reading.
JRP wanted my daughter to read for a movie being produced
by Tom Cruise, and I was told how perfect she was for
We arrived and they tested my daughter again —she
was so excited. Then as we both sat there, I was told
about the classes. Because my daughter wasn't "agency
ready," I had to pay to get her ready.
I was told how much money my daughter was worth, and
how rich she would be. I knew I couldn't exactly afford
it, but I did have a $2,000 income tax return coming.
They looked at me, and then at my daughter, and told
me I had to choose, make an "investment."
I requested more time; then I was told that the classes
only had two more spots, and if I didn't make a decision
now, my daughter would be left out. (I had no idea the
open calls and classes were on going, and never ending.)
I looked at my daughter so excited to have been discovered.
I wrote that check.
My daughter finished her 40 hours of classes that totaled
$1,950. Then we went to the agency meeting. Finally I
thought this is it.
But it wasn't. I had to pay more money for photos now.
JRP would not represent her until I had photos and I
had to pay for them.
I was lucky enough to have a friend who was a photographer.
JRP wasn't happy: every photo was criticized. But we
finally agreed on one head shot.
We have attended many open calls. We have been videotaped
and the tapes are sent off to the casting agent, or are
I spent a lot of money and a lot of time, but as of
today, there is nothing to show for it.
I emailed JRP Denver and asked them tell me what they
have been doing for my daughter. They haven't even responded
What can I do now? I want my money back.
Unfortunately, there is not much you can do. Most of
the open calls on weekends for casting are probably bogus. JRP
pays the casting people to come and say they are looking,
when in fact, most of the casting for these movies is
Ask for a list of agents/managers JRP submitted to,
then contact them to ask how they felt her audition went;
some will give you good feedback and keep your files
Also, JRP is NOT an agency, it's a school! Ask
the counselors at the school to show you her progress
reports and if not happy with her classes, and if she's
not ready yet, ask to repeat free of charge.
All JRP's guarantee the training... AT least she will
get her money's worth on the coaching... provided, of
course the coaches are professionals. Everything
depends on the managers of that facility. I would ask
for the owner personally.
Let them know their service is less than satisfactory
and threaten to go public... that may scare them off...
It's worth a try! One owner settles with anyone
who brings a suit to avoid publicity.
The price is standard JRP pricing for a 20-week course. After
classes are taken, there is no recourse for refunds. It
specifically says JRP does NOT guarantee placement. They
try to help, but if not placed, it's not their fault.
I would contact the SAG (Screen Actors Guild) for a
list of reputable agencies in your area. Submit your
picture and resume yourself. SAG can further instruct
you to bring a suit if you choose.
If there is any casting going on in Denver, SAG will
know it. Ask for reputations of the agents you met
on calls, too. If not a legit casting company or agency,
then JRP is not doing a good service for them.
Sorry I don't have more news, but good luck!
Thank you for your response.
I would like to state two more things:
1) I was not told that JRP was a school, but that they
are an agency, and my daughter needed some training before
they would represent her.
2) I paid the $1,950+ for 40 hours of training and then
was asked for another $400 for photos before they would
sign the agency contract.
Regarding the licensing of JRP in Denver, whether it
is an agency or a school, you may want to inquire at
the office of the Attorney General or the District Attorney.
The legal reference section of The Glam Scam said:
- Colorado does not have specific laws which regulate
employment agencies (which includes talent/modeling
agencies). Certain regulations pertaining to employment
agencies are imposed and enforced by the District Attorney
(Consumer Affairs Section) from county to county.
It's illegal in states like Florida and Texas for talent
agencies to require training as a condition for representation.
In Texas, for example, agencies cannot charge talent
for advance registration fees, video or audio tapes,
postcard service, advertising, resumes, photographs, classes,
or require subscriptions to a publication.
The reason why it is illegal is to prevent businesses
from convincing consumers to sign up and pay for classes,
etc., to get jobs, but then fail to get them work.
In states which have no talent or modeling agency regulations
and no employment agency rules, consumers may be more
likely to get scammed, not only because there is no law
to protect them clearly defining what it legal and what
is illegal, but also because there is likely relatively
little work available. (The toughest laws seem to be
in the states where there is the most available work,
e.g. CA, NY, TX, IL, FL.) Denver is certainly not a modeling/acting
There may not be a BBB listing for John Robert Powers
in Denver, but there are many other JRP records, including
one in California which said John Robert Powers is a "franchise
type organization," and it is operating under "several
different owners and locations," which seems to
shed some light on JRP in general:
- The company refers to itself as a "tuition-based
performing arts center." This means the company
offers classes for which an upfront fee is charged. These
classes are not accredited by any recognized or regulatory
- The company is not licensed as a talent agency and
consequently it cannot offer, promise, procure or attempt
to provide nor guarantee employment in the entertainment,
modeling or talent industry.
- The company's ads state they are "searching" for
various categories of models for auditions.
- Other ads claim their clients are featured in ads
for Target, Macy's, Nordstroms and others.
- Do not interpret such advertising to mean this company
can obtain work for you or that they have access to
modeling jobs, including department stores. They do
not. The company makes its money selling classes to
- Educational/General Comments on "the Talent
Agency Industry" follows:
- Educational/General Comments
- Talent Agencies
- THE BBB PROVIDES INFORMATIONAL AND EDUCATIONAL ADVICE
ON MANY SUBJECTS. THE REMAINDER OF THIS REPORT PROVIDES
ONLY GENERAL INFORMATION ON TALENT, MODELING AND ENTERTAINMENT
AGENCIES, SCHOOLS AND TRAINING CENTERS.
- PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT WHAT FOLLOWS IS A GENERAL
REPORT, SOME OR ALL OF WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT APPLY TO
ANY PARTICULAR COMPANY.
- Virtually all successful models and actors work through
managers, and generally use a talent agency
that does not charge a fee payable in advance for
screen tests, photographs, acting or modeling
lessons or other services.
- If you are signed as a client by a licensed talent
agency, you will pay such agency nothing until
you work and then a percentage of your earnings
as a performer —BUT NOTHING IN ADVANCE.
- Current California Labor law mandates that ONLY a
licensed Talent Agent can book work for clients and
charge a fee for that service. So, be cautious of companies
that place "Help Wanted" ads for models or
actors, which usually state "No Experience Necessary",
and then ask for advance fees of any kind.
- Some companies make their money on photography fees
alone. Look out for those who pressure you into having
a portfolio done through their designated photographer.
In these situations, you may be required to leave a
deposit for the photos which will often cost hundreds
- Other companies make their money using high
pressure tactics and often misleading promises to
induce you into signing up for expensive classes.
Most of these companies target children 16 or younger.
Be cautious when a company tells you your child has
great potential but must have costly training before
he or she can be referred to a talent agency to obtain
- Make sure any verbal promises to you are in writing
and are included in any agreement you sign. Always
remember, if a company is not licensed as a talent
agency, it may not procure, offer or attempt to provide
employment or engagements for an artist, model or entertainer
per labor code section 1700.4.
Robert Powers Letters Index