Model and Talent Search Canada (MTSC)
Questions / Complaints
To Whom It May Concern:
Model and Talent Search Canada (MTSC) is
based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. They came to Saskatoon
and egina, Saskatchewan, Canada, to solicit hopeful
models and actors for their convention in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in
In similar form to many of the conventions already reported
on the site, it selected would-be prospects for callbacks
to attend the convention at a cost of $595, plus hotel,
travel, additional fees, and guest fees.
WOW. Even in Canadian dollars, this represents an astronomical
What was most troublesome to me, however, was the use
of reputable brand names in commercial scripts to market
the convention to potential models and actors and to
lend credibility to the enterprise.
As a professional actor and casting director, I am very
familiar with the entertainment industry and
the ways and means of hiring commercial talent. The use
of model conventions by famous brand names to cast television
commercials has NEVER been one.
And so I contacted each of the companies being represented
by MTSC through the use of commercial scripts which
were read during the "audition process" of
I did this not because I am a trouble-maker, but because
I would not let my 11-year-old daughter attend these "auditions."
She wailed: "Oh great, mom. Now everybody I know
is gonna be in a GAP commercial but ME!"
It seems that although they were not told directly that
they would be in GAP commercials if they went to the
convention, several young people who were questioned
were under that impression, as were some parents who
had already made a deposit.
THE GAP replied immediately: they do not cast their
commericals in Canada. All THE GAP ad campaigns are cast
and filmed in major US cities, like New York and Los
Currently, GAP ads feature famous faces like Carole
King. As did HOSTESS FRITO-LAY, AMERICAN SAFETY RAZOR,
Although Mastercard was notified, they have not responded.
However, all those that did respond expressly denied
any knowledge of the use of their products by Model and
Talent Search Canada, and were very interested in the
use of their brand names for commerical purposes without
After checking with all of their advertising agencies
on record to ensure this was not the case, the Colgate
people seemed genuinely concerned about the negative
effect on any young person who thought they would
be in a Colgate toothpaste commercial if they attended
Others were genuinely peeved. The Hostess Frito-Lay
General Counsel (corporate lawyer) stated in his letter
to me: "We take very seriously any unauthorized
or improper use of our trademarks, and very much appreciate
your assistance in alerting us to this matter. We will
be advising Model and Talent Search Canada that they
must immediately stop using the Lay's script or
any reference to our brands."
I contacted the president of MTSC with my concern. He
asserted that he provides an invaluable service to the
public by introducing them to key players in the entertaiment
industry by way of his conventions.
I think he also threatened to sue me for rocking his
boat with the companies mentioned.
Fine by me. I would gladly step up to the legal plate
to bring this guy and others like him into public
Any company that maliciously preys on the dreams of
young people should be run out of town and straight into
The cost of a postage stamp will get you a fair assessment
by a legitimate model agent/scout.
If you are an actor, you will need a talent agent, and
a meeting with them is FREE.
Even if you live in a small town, auditions can be done
on video and sent to the casting director at minimal
expense to you.
Remember: agents need YOU to build a successful
business and a reputable talent roster. It will cost
you some money to get started (head shots/comp cards/portfolios/acting
classes), but model and talent conventions are, in my
professional opinion, a great big waste of it.
Do not let the lure of success fool you. The beauty
of the twenty-first century is brains.
S.S., Concerned Parent, Saskatoon, SK
To Whom It May Concern:
Last May I went to the Model and Talent Search Canada
(MTSC) convention in Winnipeg. I paid the $600 and went
and did the auditions for acting.
By the end of the weekend, I had gotten nine call backs
from agencies all over North America. But they basically
all said that I should contact them in the future after
I've had proper acting training.
Is this the way a real talent scouting works? Was I
being scammed? Or does it sound legit?
It's too late to change things now, but I think about
it all the time. I just want to know if it sounds like
I had $600 stolen from me, or if the agents were just
being honest with me.
I hope to hear from you very soon. It's so hard to get
into the acting business when everyone out there knows
just what to say to get you to cough up your money. It's
really, really hard.
You're asking about acting, as opposed to modeling,
but the same principles in evaluating the financial risk
Look at the basis of your selection and the method of
Firstly, on what basis did MTSC select you? Had you
previously received formal training? Or did you just
do a brief audition for them?
Secondly, was there any screening by the agents who
attended the convention prior to payment? Did MTSC send
a video of your acting to the talent agents before the
Had the talent agents seen your record of training and
your video and resume before the convention, would they
have asked to see you?
Or would they have said: "Contact us in the future
after you've had proper acting training"?
Model and Talent
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