Ever Thought About Being A Model?

Ever Thought About Being A Model?
BELLEVUE - Imagine a talent scout walking up and inviting you to an "open call" for models.

It's happening for hundreds of local wannabes who dream of being discovered.

But who are these talent scouts?

We looked into one new scouting company in Bellevue called "Options Talent."

The scouts just started recruiting, and they're getting people very excited -- especially teenage girls.

"When I was little I always thought of someone coming up to me and saying I had potential for being a model or an actress or something," said 14-year-old Kaila Houseman.

She says she thought she was dreaming.

"Yeah, I was really excited," she said.

She and her friend Sabrina Haynes were approached by a scout at a store in Tumwater.

"She's like, 'Did you guys ever think about modeling?' And we go, 'Yeah,' " Sabrina said.

She gave them business cards for a company called "Options Talent".

We found out Options Talent is a scouting franchise headquartered in Orlando, Florida. They sent me KOMO 4 News a promotional video. It centers around a Web site.

"Our site allows models, actors, agents, casting directors and industry pros to find each other in one convenient place," the Web site advertised.

The company told us it markets its computer database of models and actors to clients, agents and casting companies throughout the world.

Scouts approach people with "potential" -- Kaila and Sabrina --- and invite them to an "Open Call" to learn more.

If you decide to sign up, it costs $595 up front, and $20 a month to have your photos and information on the Web site. That's all you get.

Everyone who shows up, gets accepted."

Options Talent says to get "discovered," people first must be "seen" and their service is designed to make that as simple, direct and efficient as possible for the talent.

According to OptionsÂ’ Director of Communications Michele Presley, more than a thousand agents, clients and casting professionals are registered to search the Options database.

Dave VanMaren runs ABC Models in Kirkland -- a major local talent agency. He says while it's possible some clients might search a general data base for talent, "I think the reality of agencies taking their time for something like this is slim, very slim to none, because they're busy booking."

He says they don't use that service at all.

On its Web site, the company states it is not a talent agency and getting work as a model is very difficult.

Again, anyone who pays can be on the site. And the scouts are independent contractors who get $20 to $150 dollars for every person they scout who signs up to be on the Web.

Local agents tell us Web sites are becoming more common but they're typically part of a recognized modeling network.

One casting agent has her own Web site, which is free for the model and actors she chooses to represent.

Another agent just launched a new Web site for actors and models represented by their company. The cost is a flat $175, and the models and actors pay the Web company directory, not the agency.

All the companies we talked to caution consumers that talent agencies never charge a fee for representation. Agencies make their money by getting percentage of the money you make when they get you work.

That is why agencies are very selective and will only take on talent they feel then can get jobs.