Naomie Christensen: Safety and Common Sense

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Safety and Common Sense

Problems facing actors and actresses are potential scams or worse. Here are a few tips to avoid becoming a part of network marketing program, scam or worse.

Everyone knows auditions are not held in a hotel rooms; however, network marketers spend money on a location for auditions, because they have total confidence their show will be on a network. They are not truly dishonest. This is also true of struggling directors who will pay the actors when someone pays for the pilot, film or commercial.

Directors make connections through conventions, contests and competitions. They need film to participate and while it is always good to support everyone, because everyone is struggling, often people not willing to pay employees are already developing a faulty reputation with the Union. A tip for directors is to pay minimum wage, find friends who will work for free or improve tactics on marketing reels. A tip for actors, never pay for anything. A person could argue it is valuable experience. Have self-respect by walking away if having to make a purchase or pay doesn't compensate travel costs.

Next on the list are scams. Often real jobs are listed on open internet sites. Very few people are scammers; however, similar to people in Africa with millions of dollars to give away, there are also Fashion Designers looking for models. They are going to pay you thousands of dollars. All you have to do is forward the check to the photographer. Keep the rest of the money. This scenario never happens. Professional companies who pay models top dollar have a bookkeeper and are capable of sending paychecks to the photographer. As a model, actor or any other type of entertainer show up and look fabulous.

Signs of money are one way to identify a scammer or predator. Legitimate hair design troops might pay a model $300 for a days work. Coordinators meet applicants in hotel lobbies, not rooms. There is a detailed PowerPoint presentation in the conference room. They have money. It isn't over-the-top, yet there is an obvious amount of professionalism. As a teen, I worked as a hair model. We meet at the hotel with eight or ten other models. The makeup is done in a hotel room, yet we were never alone. This is very important. It is visible when someone is legitimate.

Major production companies, such as: Miramax and others spend a lot on accommodation and decoration. They will not invite you to their home. They have offices with recruiters. People buzzing around, so if someone is offering high wage they should have money.

What about low budget directors and designers? They cut costs, so they post on regular websites and have offices in their home. It is difficult identifying who is real. In fact, I went to an amateur photographer's apartment for a photo shoot. He was paying in pictures. I was a day-player role in a low budget film. I heard about it over the internet. It paid $200 and travel expenses for the weekend. I had to stay in their friend's trailer home overnight, while we were shooting. I had a good feeling about them. Both jobs were legitimate; however, every indicator suggests run away quickly. If I had done that, I would have lost the job.

Developing a career, it is difficult to know what is what and who is who. This is why self-defense is important. I carry pepper spray. Another helpful self-defense tool is a one inch knife. It is long enough to cause damage without killing a person. Most corporations and businesses recommend a blade of two inches or less for this reason. Walking around late at night is scary. Imagine hanging around in a stranger's apartment.

I haven't ever had to use these measures. Most of the time common sense is good enough. If recognizing things are not on the up-and-up or feeling uncomfortable walk outside and then drive away. Even if it is a legitimate job, feeling uncomfortable looks awful on camera, you didn't need the job. They don't want someone who acts erratically.

Life is difficult when struggling and trying to get a "Big Break." This should not overwhelm common sense. As the adage states, "If it is too good to be true, it probably isn't (true)." Have confidence in finding jobs wherever they appear. These tips will help to avoid emotional duress.

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