Canadian Showcase for Models and Talent - Complaints
To Whom It May Concern:
I was wondering if you had ever heard of Canadian Showcase for Models and Talent. It sounds like many of the scams on your site, but it is not mentioned.
About 30 out of about 300 were "chosen for a call back." At the call back, you had to give them $295 for registration to their showcase being held in Edmonton, Alberta, from October 11-13, 2002, with the full cost being $595.
I would truly appreciate any information you may have on this company.
C.B. in BC
Does the Canadian Showcase for Models and Talent have a website? There doesn't appear to be much info about them online. I've only heard about the Canadian Model and Talent Convention (CMTC), which is at cmtc.ca.
When you said 30 were chosen out of 300 for call backs, are you referring to the showcase organizers' screening? This sounds common for modeling conventions. People are "selected" to buy a seat at a modeling convention.
Modeling convention prices, separate from travel expenses, food and accommodation, can range from $300 to $3,000.
Unfamiliar with the specific convention or "showcase" you asked about, I'll explain the general issues, and you can apply them to the Canadian Showcase.
The biggest problem with modeling conventions is the organizers are not held to the same standard as modeling agencies.
Modeling conventions organizers are essentially modeling scouts. They scout nationally or internationally but independently for modeling agencies. They are like free-lance model scouts.
The agencies have their own model scouts, too, and they are paid finder's fees. The agency scouts don't get paid until the model gets signed and typically after the model works (percentage of future earnings).
Why is there a double standard for modeling convention scouts? Why aren't they also paid only when a model is signed? If the same standard was held for modeling convention scouts as for modeling agency scouts, and modeling agencies, which aren't paid unless the model gets work, nobody would get ripped off.
The second biggest problem with modeling conventions is the modeling convention screening process. It is like a blind date. People show up without seeing each other to see if there is a mutual interest.
Pictures of potential models should be sent to agencies which are planning to attend a convention before anyone cuts a ticket. Let the agencies decide which model hopefuls they want to see in person at the convention. It does not have to be like a blind date.
The modeling industry has modeling scams where there are no checks and balances. (It seems as if wherever there is a conflict of interest someone is getting exploited.)
Holding modeling convention organizers to the modeling agency commission standard puts the checks and balances in place. So does letting the agencies screen potential models in advance of a convention.
Obviously the Canadian Showcase for Models and Talent makes money off the models from the fees, but it may be worth asking if they send out pictures to agencies in advance. Without that screening, they are wasting the agencies' time and the model's time and money.
It would essentially turn the event into callbacks instead of a parade where 90% are rejected, followed by 10% (or less) getting callbacks.
Right now their failure rate is something like 90%. They may want to do something about that. Agency screening could reverse the numbers: 90% success and 10% failure.
Thanks for your reply. CSMT apparently does have a website, but I can't find it... They said, "Our website is down right now." (I did phone their number but was unable to talk to a real person.)
Of interest, CSMT is exactly like the one you mentioned, CMTC. I went to the CMTC website and everything is the same, except the name, the date and site of the convention, the address, and the phone number.
My daughter had been selected for a call back. (She is actually a singer, not a model.) I was leery as I had to pay a $295 deposit and then apparently I would have to sign a contract at the call back.
Of course I'm not going to sign anything without a lawyer or notary seeing it, so that also rang a few bells for me.
What really bothers me is that they do not mention money at all during the entire auditioning process. Actually they don't ever say anything about it. You find that out when they give you your time for your call back.
So here you have these teens all excited and happy to be chosen, then you have to crush them because you simply cannot fork over $595 on the off chance that a record producer is actually even going to be there.
If I'd known about the cost of the whole thing, I would never even have attended.
C.B. in BC
To Whom It May Concern:
My two daughters auditioned with the Canadian Showcase for Models and Talent last night in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
There were only 60-70 young people who came to the open call advertised on a local radio station.
All but about 12 of the prospects received a "callback" for another audition the following day.
I and some of the other parents at the audition were suspicious when so many were asked to stay. (They requested certain "numbers" to leave rather than request "numbers" to stay, so no one was sure who actually didn't get a call back.)
There was only one person making the selections, who represented herself as being a lawyer in the business for 25 years.
She told the parents there to "do their homework" by checking out her company.
At home that night, I went online and searched for the company, and found a letter from a person in BC that had written to Modeling Scams expressing the same concerns over this company.
(Their experience with respect to the proceedings was identical to my own. Even the time, date, place, and $595 fee for the modeling conference were the same.)
Now I was concerned. (Not that there wasn't really going to be a conference in Edmonton, but that the odds of success were so low, yet they appeared to be ready to accept anybody who would come up with the $295 deposit and sign a contract on the callback the next day. No time to consult a lawyer or even think the whole thing through.)
My kids were of course pretty disappointed, but we printed the article off the internet, and the next morning we went back to the audition site, and handed out copies of the article to those going up to the audition, many of whom we had met the night before.
We did not advise anyone on whether or not they should continue with the audition, but just gave them the article to read before they made a decision on whether they would sign up.
Of course the company got wind of this, and when we went in to talk to them, the "lawyer" started YELLING that she would sue us for defamation of character, and that her company was VERY, VERY BIG.
I told her to go ahead, there was no law that said I couldn't hand our articles to those who might read them. (After all she could hand out her brochures.)
She then told me that after expecting 600 people, she had phoned her boss, and told him she was "never coming back to this stinking town. This was the second time this article had reared its ugly head."
She then said that the company in the article was not hers. I said the name was the same, as well as the dates, price, and location; yet she still denied the company was hers.
Then she said that my daughters could consider signing at a future time.
(At this point I could barely control my laughter. If only the other parents could have heard her.)
C.M. in MB
To Whom It May Concern:
I am 18 and was a participant in the Canadian Showcase for Models and Talent.
When I went to the first "screening" I just went in order to see if they somehow knew a way for me to get into voice acting.
Not expecting anything to come out of it, I managed to drag my parents along since they didn't want anyone there under 19 without a parent.
As one woman has already said in one of your other letters, the main speaker DID present herself as a lawyer and so on.
She was very kind and understanding to both myself and my dad when I explained how far away my parents had to drive in order to come to the call-back the next day.
We found it suspicious that they'd ask for so much money in such a short time, but I'd come to the conclusion by then that "It's better to know that you can't make it than to never know at all."
So my dad and my elder brother (by 10 years) came along with me the next day.
We were unable to call the Better Business Bureau to inquire about them before I had to go there the next day, so I told my dad that I'd pay him back for the first $295 if they did turn out to be a scam.
My family has a way of seeing through lies since my sister is a con-artist who used to live in Regina.
Anyway, one of the ladies that I was talking to knew exactly what she was saying and believed every word of it.
There was a blue paper that claimed that they were a member of the Better Business Bureau that she handed to me, and she stated it numerous times but only at the Call-backs.
The day after, I managed to get my parents to call the Regina headquarters to find out about this "Canadian Showcase for Models and Talent," and to see if they were, indeed, registered.
I received a call later that night from my parents. They ARE registered under the Ottawa branch, and therefore are a real agency.
Even though they may have a 90% failure rate, or however much it said on that other letter I read in your site, they are the real deal.
I don't expect anything to seriously come out of this (although it would be nice if it would), but as a "competitor" I find it all an exciting and life-learning experience.
I think that it's great that everyone has been looking into it so much since I couldn't find any information online anywhere (I'd forgotten to write down their website address when the lawyer told it to us) except here, and I thank the other writers for their letters.
Even if the Conference is over priced, it's something that will leave an imprint on my life, and I think it will be a place where I can make new friends, and learn more about the "film-making industry."
I just thought that I'd let everyone know, also, that there aren't just negatives to this whole ordeal, there is a silver lining.
To Whom It May Concern:
Canadian Showcase for Models and Talent do have a website listed as www.canadianshowcaseinc.com.
They gave us a large list of companies that would be attending along with the promise of at least 100 agents, looking for various things such as models/talent/acting.
But at the end of the impressive list they said: "This is subject to change." Which once again leaves them legally covered if the names you expect to see at the convention are not there.
They don't give any of the names for us to check, and the biggest question in all of our minds is why is it necessary to pay an upfront fee of $295?
Is it for the airfare of the agents? Or do the agents pay their own way? Perhaps it is for making a downpayment on and reservation of the auditorium.
There were probably about 40-50 people who auditioned; at least 30 of those people received a call back.
This is a very high call back rate. The obvious conflict of interest leads convention organizers in general to be overselective.
These were kids that did not display any great talent or beauty —or what they would typically look for at a reputable audition. This led us to believe they are truly after the money and care nothing for the kids who have put their hearts into this.
A fair conclusion if they do not tell you their success rate? Did they? There's nothing wrong with choosing 30-40/50 people if their placement record is 75%. But at big conventions like Model Search America the placement record is 10-20%; at another one it is less than 10%.
My own opinion is if this Canadian convention was better or high they would tell you. All you really have to ask is how many attend their conventions, how many attended their last convention, and how many were placed at their last convention.
So if you could please let me know if this truly does sound like a scam, I am going back for the second call back this evening, and, if I can, I am going to get in writing a list of confirmed agencies which will be attending the convention. Thank you for any help you can give me.
I don't think they provided you with enough information to make a solid decision. And apparently they don't screen their recruits using photos. Given the clear and significant conflict of interest, the only thing that would make me go to the convention would be if they sent out my picture ahead of time to all the agents who were going to be at the convention, and one or more reviewed my pictures and said they wanted to see me. Then I would know it was not just the convention organizers telling me I could be a model so I would pay them.
To Whom It May Concern:
I was recently called by CSMT. My daughter had an audition. They said they liked her. Then she was invited to the 4th annual CSMT in Toronto.
We live in Montreal. Of course there was a fee ($595) for her to attend.
I'm just wondering how legit is this company? Are they supposed to charge that much money?
I would really like to know if it's worth it for me to take my daughter to Toronto... or am I just wasting my time and money?
Montreal is a major Canadian modeling market. Have you taken your daughter to agencies in Montreal? This makes more sense because it's cheaper (free?) and, unlike the showcase, an agency can actually get your daughter work.
The showcase is a casino. Basically. Would you drive to Toronto to go to a casino? If it cost you the traveling and hotel expenses, and you only got to play once for $595?
Even if your daughter is seen, she is unlikely to get signed and get work unless it is where she lives. Is she going to move to Toronto or anywhere else?
You'd really want to exhaust all the options in Montreal before you look into any other options with upfront fees.
To Whom It May Concern:
"Canadian Showcase for Models and Talent" and "Proscout": Those seem to be the same type of [...] if not the same company. Years ago Proscout came to Prince Albert, SK and advertised on the local radio. A lot of teens showed up. You did not have to pay for the first audition, but if you were accepted you did go to Banff at your own cost, plus another huge amount to the scout prior to the pseudo-showcase or convention where one was supposed to receive some training.
They also recommended their own expensive photographer if you wanted a professional photographer. There was absolutely no training (as advertized) in Banff, but their workshops consisted of some talks which had absolutely no value.
With all that money paid one could not even get anything else for free. No food or drinks at all. Water was the only drink given. Some staff at the Banff Centre could not believe what they saw! The only things kids had to do was walk in front of a camera as if they were a model, for one minute or less, and that was the showcase, seing all the kids and teenagers parade in front of every parent in their own clothes! (this was the training!)
Parents could not approach agencies—only once the child was recruited for a possible contract (maybe to ask for some more money!), so you could not know if these were real. At the same time as these pseudo-agencies were there, the real ones were giving interviews for free in Calgary, I learnt from a model. Some models who had also been modelling were there and were not even accepted!
I stayed around to see the ones that were accepted. All the gorgeous girls I saw were not taken. Only the tall, extremely skinny with an ugly face were being interviewed again by the pseudo representative of the modelling agency. All what they did was put their photo in a file and they would have to wait for a phone call if the company was interested.
In any case, even if a few made it, it did not justify ripping off everyone else.
CSMT just had their audition in Saskatoon. A man who tried to reach my daughter phoned my home to let us know they were auditioning there. I asked where he got ahold of our phone number.
He answered, "It came from either having gone to an audition before or from having gone online."
I thought this was strange but my daughter did look for jobs online, so I thought she might have applied.
I asked him if there was any cost but he seemed surprise and said he did not think so.
We went online and we saw the [...] was Canadian Showcase for Models and Talent and not "Canadian Showcase" and I wrongly thought Canadian Showcase phoned us.
In Saskatoon the agency representative told me in front of us all that there was no cost. However, he gave us, just before we left, a four-page document we read later, and it showed you had to give a deposit of $300.00 on your call back, which was 24 hours later and the remaining of the $695.00 in Edmonton on October 7th and 9th.
So he lied to our face and we decided not to come back the next day for a second audition.
We talked to another girl who also was called. They told her they got her number from a previous scout audition. Unfortunately it seems she wanted to take a chance!
Everyone we know in the entertainment industry told us that one does not have to pay to get recruited. They were right. All the scouts are agencies of agencies and they are there to exploit people. Since when one has to pay a big amount for a job?
We went to real auditions where they keep the information in folders and it does not cost a penny. And these were known companies. At the Canadian Showcase for Models & Talent, when I told the representative about the complaints on Internet, I was told: "Oh, these are people who did not make it who complained!"
He also said that he was doing that part-time because he liked to meet people, that he was very busy (acting or modelling, I forgot), that his colleague had been modelling in Taiwan etc., but we could not help thinking he was there for the money.
I calculated that in Banff, when we went there over 10 years ago, Proscout had made half a million in one weekend! When I went to the police about Proscout, years ago, I was told: "Consumer Beware" and I unfortunately did not follow up on it.
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