Millie Lewis AMTC
(American Modeling and Talent Convention)

To Whom It May Concern:

I am just going to vent my frustration at what I experienced as a mother letting my daughter attend the Millie Lewis AMTC convention in Orlando, Florida, last month.

It all started with her being one of the lucky ones "picked" at the search they were doing in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Of course, I was flattered that she was chosen, so when she was called back and told she was good enough now to make the grade as one of the chosen, I was more than happy to give her the opportunity to experience this competition or whatever it is they call it.

It all started out with no hidden costs. Well, that is a tad bit false in the fact there are a few things that I spent money on. Had I been informed by the director, Rena, I would not have needed to.

In fact, had Rena been upfront with me, I would have realized that this was not a good idea for me to take my daughter at all, since we were not even there for the ever-famous "Call Back Day."

The original schedule given me had that day on Saturday, so I made my airline reservation to return back to Sioux Falls on Sunday, when, in all actuality, the Call Back Day was Sunday morning.

So my daughter not only missed that aspect of it, but I was told I had to purchase "comp cards" for my daughter because she would be handing these out to agents or something during the entire time there.

Then I find out that they are actually for the Call Back Day, which we were not going to be at, so I wasted my money on those, in my opinion.

To touch on the photo shoot, I didn't want to mess with driving another six hours roundtrip to Omaha to get them redone, so I did sign the acceptance form, but they were so bad. Not even near worth the $400 spent on them. But that is my fault for not putting up a fuss on that.

By that time I just wanted this all over!

Let's touch on the 24-hour training AMTC says their regional directors must provide prior to the convention.

Well, at the beginning I was told that all practices would be in Sioux Falls. The first few were.

On March 3 there was one for five hours.

On March 23 (we had to miss), another five hours.

We had to drive to Omaha for the photo shoot April 28th. (That counted as a practice, I guess).

On May 11, there was one for five hours.

On June 8 for five hours.

On June 22nd, another drive to Omaha, which I could not make due to prior commitments.

So my daughter did not receive the 24 hours training but only 20 were offered and she missed one day, so she was only there for 15 hours, if I calculated correctly.

Now, when we arrived in Florida at the convention, it was only by luck we ever found out there were meetings for the group. It was never from Rena or Karen; it was always from running into another contestant who happened to know.

The only contact I ever had with Rena was on our first night in the hotel, to let us know what time the group runway competition was.

Not once was my daughter asked how things were going, or anything.

I am not being a whiny mother, but an observer of the lack of organization and follow up, at least with the Omaha ISM.

I would not use this competition again through them, not for their lack of being nice people, but for the money I paid for this entire thing, and then to find out a lot of it was in waste due to missing the last day.

I feel very frustrated and disappointed and taken advantage of.

My daughter did have fun and learned some things; however, she could have done that locally without spending nearly that much money.

My recommendation is unless you have a "mother agent" acting like a mother, DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME AND OR MONEY.


R.Z. in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Response from reader:

First, to the lady that felt she had "wasted her time." I was at that convention. She should have looked in her packet and all the dates were clearly listed —there were some changes made but that was months before the convention. Even the sample schedule that was first put in the packet lists Sunday as "call back" day.

Second, if she wants her child in modeling she should know —especially if she attended the convention seminars that are very educational —that any person entering modeling needs to test and have comp cards.

Third, it was her choice to miss the training in her home town. We had many family commitments but made our priorities. Some families in our group paid for private sessions if they had to miss.

We attended the convention and found it to be a great learning tool and wonderful. By the way, my daughter does not have a success story from this convention. She did not get a call back.

But what she did get was tons of information from people in the business. She gained so much self confidence from all the positive experiences.

Find a place where she can practice interviewing, runway, commercials, call backs, sitcom cold-script reading, monologue, etc. and get positive advice on all of the above from reputable people all in one place?

I think you would be hard pressed to find a more meaningful place for potential talent to learn and grow and some to get actual work than this convention.

It does cost money but so does summer camp. And if this is your child's passion, as it is with my daughter, than it is well worth it.

Please use common sense and fairness in your comments and posting or your website will not be worth visiting.

L.D. in Kansas City, Kansas

Rebuttal from R.Z. in Sioux Falls, South Dakota:

I just want to say one, no, two more things:

According to this response from L.D., she did not have the same package I got in the beginning with the schedule, nor did she have the same bad experience I had.

It's like flying in airplanes: for some people, the first time is great, and for others, they get sicker than a dog and never do it again.

I'm very happy she and others had a great time. I did not, and I was dissatisified with our "mother agent," and the lack of mothering. Glad she had a good "mother agent" for her daughter.

One more thing I wanted to add, (I remembered this after I had sent the original email). This was just a topper to my frustration.

I ordered an AMTC yearbook or whatever it is. When I sent in the information on my daughter's sponsors, I just assumed they would realize my daughter's name is not the same as my name.

When I looked how they listed it in the back of the book, it is under MY NAME, not my daughter's. I thought it was just par for the course for how the whole thing went. Perhaps I should go for a $35.00 refund!

It just again shows that the ISM Omaha Office either wasn't totally there, or perhaps they didn't remember my daughter's name at the time they sent the information in.

That's about all I have to say on this subject. People can say or interperet my letter(s) how they want. I basically have nothing else to add.

Thanks again, and, I, for one, wish I had found your website with other people's experiences listed prior to signing my daughter up for this. You are performing an invaluable service for person(s) who want to see real experiences, good and bad.

R.Z. in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Response from Parent

Related: Modeling Photography and Convention Prices
[Modeling Agency President Speaks Out Against Expensive Conventions]

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