Monday, July 07, 2008

Scam talent agents

There has been an ad running in the English papers each week for movie extras for a "great Israeli movie." I had been an extra in the Jean Claude Van Damme movie, "The Order" around 7 years ago. To become an extra, I answered an ad in the newspaper and it was a legitimate outfit. I had my photo taken and then was called to show up at a site at 6 in the morning for a catered breakfast; at 8:00 we were bused to our filming site, and then filming progressed. It was fun. Didn't pay much, but hey, I got breakfast and lunch out of this and got to sit with the "bad guy" during lunch.

So I took the day off work today, and told my 18 year old daughter we had a meeting in Tel Aviv with these agents. I would love one of us to be rich and famous, and any break is welcome. I wasn't sure Tel Aviv would be so welcoming during the summer, because of the heavy humidity. We're so spoiled here in Jerusalem with hot but dry weather. Luckily when we got off the bus, the weather wasn't too terrible, and we made it to the agency on time.

I already had warned my daughter before the trip, "If they ask one cent from us, we're leaving."

I looked at the entrance to the office. The sign on the wall looked like cardboard covered in cheap silver paper and there was a computer-made sign on the door.

"Did you just move in?" I asked the girl who was going to interview us - the only person in the office.

"Oh we're just always moving. We may have to leave one of these days." she said.

Warning bells rang in my head.

"You both are so beautiful. Your photos are so beautiful. You won't have any trouble getting work."

She went on to explain the kind of work we would do and the different levels as extras, something in-between being an extra and an actor, and more serious auditions for speaking roles.

"Then when you sign with us, we need you to be exclusive with us for one year. And the fee is 280 shekels each upon signing."

"Huh?" I said.

I continued, "sorry, but I will not pay any fee for an agency. Real agencies don't charge fees."

I guess I startled her. She called "the boss" on the phone and asked him if he could waive the fee for us. I almost believed they were legit at that point. But he nixed the idea.

He said to her,"Let them sign a contract, we'll give them a discount, and if they don't get any work, we will get them back the money."

Still didn't like the scheme.

The woman continued to rave about me. "I don't want to lose you. Send me an email with your photos again, and I'll try to convince him. If people are looking for a beautiful 50 year old, I now have you I can send to them. They are so many young beautiful girls." she said looking at my daughter. "But YOU. There aren't too many older beautiful women."

My daughter was perplexed as we walked out of the office, both of us looking sadly at the next victim sitting in the waiting room.

"She wanted you more than she wanted me!" she said to me.

"Oh honey, it's simply because I'm your mother and she thought, rightly so, that I have more money than you do. So that once I pay them the contract fee, they'll say I need money for a professional photographer and it will cost me even more money, and it will never end. And that's the only reason. Besides, it was worth the busfare to Tel Aviv for me to hear how beautiful I am. You know I don't hear that too often."

We both hugged each other and laughed.

I was hoping that Ms. Agent didn't laugh at me behind my back, telling her boss, "yeah she looked good, but boy did she have a big ass."


Anonymous said...

what was the name of the agency? sounds familiar...

jerusalemgypsy said...

Cannot tell you on the blog - naming names is not legal. Write to me off blog please.