Posted by: Chris Maloney | October 7, 2011

Proscout: The Whole, Extended Experience, With Callbacks and Follow-ups.

New York City

Image by kaysha via Flickr

Note:  As a parent, I have no stake in promoting Proscout.  I promised myself when I went I would write something to other parents who were considering it because I didn’t find the level of detail I was looking for.

When I read on the internet about Proscout I was very concerned about it being a scam.  I did my research, decided it was a scam, and decided to bring my son to the local audition so he had the experience of it being a scam.

Fast forward through getting a local callback, to months of agonizing about wasting money on a scam in Boston, to going through with it because it’s still a lot cheaper than going to individual agents.  (It’s also a lot cheaper than sending your child out to LA at 17 to explore their dream).

We went to Proscout Boston 2011.  My son was chosen for a monologue as an actor
and did the walk as a model.  He was picked by ten of the eighteen agents that were looking for children.

So, was Proscout a scam? No.  They provided us with the exact thing they promised.  We met with the owners (not generally the interns, although there was one intern out of the ten we talked to) of local and national agencies.  The cost for a single interview to any of these agents would be the cost of Proscout for plane tickets alone.  By being one of the mock judges during a practice session, I would say honestly that the majority of people at Proscout weren’t modeling material.  Those that were received multiple call-backs.  But did the people who came who weren’t great material get ripped off?  Only if you assume they would not have pursued their dreams by going to individual agencies.  A number of those selected were already models and actors in smaller markets looking to break into bigger markets.  They certainly weren’t getting ripped off, and they were savvy enough to know a group meet-and-greet beats the heck out of individual meetings.

BUT… none of the agents got back to us after Proscout.  We had to pursue them, send emails, etc.  We went to a New York photo shoot to see if my son could actually model.  We sent him out to live with his grandparents in Chicago for a month so he would be available to both Chicago agents.

Even though two agents were interested in him in Chicago, he didn’t get any work from either one of them.  He did do a wonderful dance camp while he was out there, so it wasn’t a waste of time.  But it was very disappointing from an agent standpoint, not because Proscout didn’t make the connection for us.

He returned to us here in Maine, and we went to both local Boston agents.  Both were excited about him working for them (this is part of the business, everyone’s excited about everyone).  But we put off meeting with them until this fall.

So, a big waste of time and money, right?  Well, it turns out no.   We were submitted for a role on Pan Am  in NYC and couldn’t make it because it was the next day.  The next week (last week) we were submitted for a commercial.  We drove down and took the train into NYC.

My son got the part, so we drove down for two days of shooting (overnights) and came back up this week.

It isn’t Proscout, it’s the business itself that is brutal.  Of course you need to promote
yourself.  But the cost of a single NYC agent trip for us would have cost around three hundred dollars without a hotel overnight.  Anyone who doesn’t do the math thinks Proscout is a scam.  If you do the math, it’s a bargain compared to setting up meetings.

Could we have done it without Proscout?   No, and we wouldn’t have.  We’ve had enough setbacks in the last few months that it was the reality of Proscout that pushed us on.  Having that much interest from that spectrum of agents was a tremendous boost.  Having gone on one audition and gotten the first part he auditioned for really confirmed to my child that he isn’t simply dreaming.  I certainly expect he will not get most parts, which is why we’ll be very selective about NYC trips and are looking for things locally.  Our family must come first over the industry.

Here’s the nasty reality.
The entertainment business has a huge supply and a moderate demand.  Most of the extremely talented people already in the industry aren’t actively working in the industry.  So pursuing a dream within the entertainment industry can really benefit from a reality check.  Proscout can provide that sort of check and save years of effort.  If you can’t make a convincing thirty second audition, maybe acting is something to pursue on a community level.  If no one wants to take your picture, maybe modeling isn’t something you should spend years working toward.

So, should you do Proscout?  Only if you can’t let it go.  But anyone who’s sifted through the internet and found this blog post is already pretty far gone.  Honestly, have a frugal Christmas and get it out of your/your child’s system.

PS.  We also went to a THE audition, and were selected.  Since it’s in Orlando, the cost is far higher for the meet-and-greet.  They also have a cash prizes deal, which basically works out to a free trip for the winner.  While the actors from Disney were a draw, we decided against it.  But if you combined a Disney vacation with it, and just promised to have fun with it, then enjoy yourselves.


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