Proscout - Questions / Complaints


To Whom It May Concern:

I'm writing in regards to Proscout.

My boyfriend and I attended one of their conventions after I sent them pictures of my boyfriend.

Proscout called and invited us to go for free.

He got 12 call backs and signed with a major agency in New York.

I don't believe Proscout is a total scam, but when I was at the convention I saw people walking the runway who should not have been up there.

I know now my boyfriend was invited for free, because there was no way he was going to pay $450 to go, and Proscout knew from seeing his face that an agency would most likely sign him, and they would be able to add him to their list of "Proscout Discoveries."

B.M.


To Whom It May Concern:

I have a question about model discoveries.

I went to an open call for Proscout model search and I was picked out of a big group.

They said that when we go to their event I will have a 78% chance of getting a top agent.

Do you really think that I have a 78% chance?

My parents are wondering about it, so if you know anything I would be so grateful for any information.

Their website address is www.proscout.com.

M.W.


M.,

No, I don't believe it. The success rate of modeling conventions or model discoveries as you called them is 10%-20% or less.

So the idea that Proscout has a 78% success rate is not something I would believe without seeing proof.

If they had 1,000 people attend their last convention, we are supposed to believe 780 were signed by top agents?!

If they had 100 people attend their last convention, we are supposed to believe 78 were signed by top agents?

Ask Proscout how many people attended their last model search. Then ask them how many were signed by top agents.

Then you can ask Proscout for the names of the people who were signed or the agencies which signed them. Then call the agencies and confirm their unbelievable claims.

Proscout is similar to Model Search America (MSA). They both have open calls and modeling conventions for new faces to get discovered. MSA had a failure rate of 80-90%, according to the BBB record:

The firm notes that between 10% and 20% of models attending past conventions have been selected for representation, and about 8% to 10% have gone on to earn money working as models.

NYC Fame, another model search, had a failure rate of more than 90%. The BBB record for NYC Fame said:

Consumers are advised that fewer than 10% of the models selected to attend the conventions are chosen for agency representation.

The BBB record for Proscout does not include the company's success rate like the BBB records for Model Search America and Proscout.

Why is Proscout not being held accountable to its marketing claims in print like MSA and NYC Fame, especially when it has BBB Membership, which is supposed to reflect a higher standard of business ethics?

Prior to this 78% success rate claim, Proscout had previously made highly questionable marketing claims in its oral presentation and on its website.

According to a published news report:

A man who introduced himself as Aaron, the director of scouting, told those gathered how ProScout came into being.
 
"The top agencies, like Ford, Wilhelmina, IMG, Karin... got together because they needed to get a way to find new talent. They chose three top scouts to head the project — Brian Marcus, Mel McFarland, and Greg Hartman," he said.
 
The problem is, both Ford and Wilhelmina say their agencies had nothing to do with ProScout's creation. "That [ProScout's assertion] I would say is a little sketchy," Wilhelmina Models director of women's modeling Ray Lata says.

Then on their website they previously claimed:

Getting discovered in the real world requires meeting established agencies from one of the "major market cities." Basically, there [are] just three ways this can happen: 1. Pure luck, 2. Hard work on your own, and 3. ProScout.

How was that not false advertising? You can walk into a modeling agency and get discovered. It's not 1) pure luck, 2) hard work, or 3) proscout.

Redacted Info


To Whom It May Concern:

My daughter attended a short interview session with ProScout in our small home town.

She was one of the dozen who received an invitation to attend a ProScout modeling event at the Hyatt Regency Center Denver Tech Center in Denver, Colorado, October 26, 2002.

They claim affiliation with agencies such as Ford, I.M.G., Aria, Karin, Q-Model Management, Wehmann agencies to name a few.

Can you verify ProScout's legitimacy? Their website is www.proscout.com. Some of the website is only accessible through a log-on password which is given to those who have been selected to attend the weekend modeling event.

Thanks,

C.L.


C.,

Did they say they would screen your daughter using photos before the convention/event? Are they going to give a picture of her to the agents from these agencies before the convention?

Without photo screening, the industry standard potential model review system, (for those not near the agency), before meeting in person, you are caught in the crossfire of a conflict of interest.

They are paid to be overselective. The more people they bring the more money they make. What is there to stop them from saying anyone could make it as a model?

The answer is nothing —except the agents attending these events saying, "Let us see the pictures of the models first; then we will tell you whom we want to see at the convention."

But all the agencies you mentioned you can contact directly yourself. Ford, the first one you mentioned, says to send pictures. The contact information is on their website. The others are much the same, including Karin, which says to send pictures.

Did Proscout not tell you their success rate? Most conventions have a very low success rate (again, because they are paid to be overselective).

Sending photos by mail has no conflict interest and almost no financial risk. You can probably find out contact information for all the companies like Ford you mentioned online or get their telephone number online.

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To Whom It May Concern:

I was wondering if you have ever heard of Proscout. I sent in some pics, and they selected me to go to a big event in January 2003.

I asked some questions pertaining to my actual chances of getting signed, percentage wise, and the response was legit.

However, they're asking for a few hundred dollars, and after telling them I did not have that kind of money, they offered to make a payment plan.

Why would I want to shell out money for a something that is not guaranteed, though? Would I be better off just sending pics to the agencies themselves?

Do you have any information on them?

A.G.


A.,

It sounds as if you already figured it out. You asked, "Why would I want to shell out money for a something that is not guaranteed, though?"

Very good question. Why would you want to shell out for something if the agents have not seen your picture first and next said they want to see you in person?

Proscout is an expensive Fedex. They can get you seen by agencies. But apparently they have never heard of Fedex.

Actually, you don't need Fedex, because the mail is reliable; you just need the aspiring models starter kit: stamps, envelopes, agency addresses, and polaroids.

That is for agencies nowhere near you; the ones close to you should be visited unless they specifically ask for your pictures.

You should know that unless you look amazing, if you are nowhere near NY or LA, the chances are slim of them taking a big financial risk or asking you to move to where they are and the work is.

To read earlier comments about Proscout see the link below.

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To Whom It May Concern:

My daughter recently attended a presentation promoted by ProScout.

Her daughter (my grand daughter) is extremely beautiful, but only seven years old. ProScout jumped at the chance to give her a selection card, inviting her to meet the agents in Orange County this coming March (2003).

They have asked my daughter to pay $500 and have told her that her chances are extremely high of being picked up by a top agency.

I have told my daughter that she should spend the money to have photographs taken of the beauty, and send them to the individual agencies, all without the so-called help of "Pro Scouts."

I modeled for several years as a teenager and found that all agencies want to see the product from the camera vs. the 10-second march!

Sincerely,

C.B. in Las Vegas, Nevada


C.,

You are on the right track about avoiding costly middlemen, but professional photos aren't even needed at the beginning; snapshots are sufficient.

Once the snapshots are approved, then the agency will want to do test shoots, to, as you said, "see the product from the camera."

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To Whom It May Concern:

I went to one of those ProScout open calls, and I got picked to go to one of those convention things.

I thought it would be a great opportunity, but my parents suspected maybe it was a scam, and asked me to research it somemore.

So I did, and it doesn't sound too good for ProScout.

But now I don't know what to do. If scouting companies are not the answer, what is?

I'm 5'10", full lips, kind of exotic-looking, which I hear is very popular in the modeling industry right now, and I'm at a young age of 15.

I don't know if I should send pictures to agencies, because I hear most of the time they don't even open them; because they get so many, it's not very likely your pictures will be seen.

So now I don't know where to start. I'm not trying to be some BIG famous model or anything...

I've just always been told I should try modeling, but I only want to do it for fun, for a little money, and for the enjoyable experience.

I don't want to waste my parents' money on some stupid convention that obviously does nothing for aspiring models.

So can you give me some helpful advice? I really need it.

Sincerely,

N.T.


N.T,

Read the other comments and modeling advice throughout the site.

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To Whom It May Concern:

My daughter and I attended the ProScout Search held at the Philadelphia Marriott Feb 24 thru 26.  She paid almost $700 for the right to attend, $65 for a guest to attend, $180 for photographs that were no better than something you could get from WalMart Photo Shop, $348 for hotel and parking, and she NEVER got to talk to any agents one on one which was the whole purpose of her showing up.

There were over 1,000 'stars' and less than 10% were told an agent would like to talk to them.  It was a waste of time, money, and it was sad to see so many people who were [...]'ed.  I saw three Asians, no Hispanics, one Muslim.  The 'stars' were about 50% Black, 50% White.  These people played on parents' desire to: 1) have a better life for their family by promoting their 'star' child, 2) played up to people's dreams, and 3) to every parent's view that their child is special.  There were whole families there that were clearly suffering financially and saw this as a big opportunity for their child. 

The two days were spent in seminars telling us that: 1) complainers can get their careers ruined because the agents all talk to each other (in other words, don't make conversation about ProScout being a scam; 2) parents need to learn the business, 3) you need to live in Los Angeles or New York City to pursue a career, 4) it's really about personality and being willing to totally embarrass yourself in their seminars, not beauty, and 5) you should be thrilled these folks will even appear in the same room with you.

They charged $25 extra for workshops which had no value whatsoever.  There was no opportunity given to talk to any of the agents, get ProScout people to give you advice on you specifically, and they ran the seminar so cheap it was ridiculous.  They provided water and glasses for it, not bottles of water or soda.  They raked in one million dollars last weekend and couldn't even provide us with coffee, tea, or soda.  When they gave the agents' names, they gave only first names, so I am not even sure the agents were for real.

DON'T THROW YOUR MONEY AWAY!!!! 

Sincerely,

Redacted Info


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