AMTC (American Model and Talent Convention)
"I don't believe that a scouting service should cost thousands of dollars and ask that you travel long distance in order to meet with them." -- Katie Ford, President, Ford Models, New York (as quoted in A Model Profession)
This web page contains background information on AMTC (American Model and Talent Convention), comments by supermodel Cindy Crawford, expert advice from industry professionals, comments on AMTC Regional Directors, a review of AMTC advertising, consumers' complaints on hidden fees, comments about professional photography and comp cards, and a leaked telemarketing script.
The AMTC (American Model and Talent Convention) was originally named after the late Millie Lewis, a former model, who started modeling schools, the Millie Lewis modeling schools. Her daughter, Carey Lewis (now Carey Lewis Arban), took over her mother's modeling schools and then started the modeling convention. She and her husband, Dr. Bill Arban, are not only the founders but also the owners of AMTC.
The American Modeling & Talent Convention (AMTC), according to the company website, "is the most respected convention in North America."
CINDY CRAWFORD SPEAKS OUT AGAINST MODELING CONVENTIONS
EXPERT ADVICE FROM INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS
AMTC, by its own admission, has Regional Directors. These are modeling agencies and modeling schools which evidently recruit and refer the models they represent to AMTC and/or collect fees for the AMTC modeling convention. These schools even admitted that they solicit schools and agencies to talk people into going to AMTC:
On its surface, this look legitimate; however, the preceding comments by a reputable agent, Exposure, Inc., cast serious doubts on the whole convention in general and specific parts in particular. Basically, why would a reputable agency send talent to attend an expensive convention when it is a) not necessary; b) extremely expensive; and, c) typically yields very poor results?
At what level of business ethics is an agency which sends models to the
AMTC operating? While the jury is still out on the Convention's
arrangement with Regional Directors, it is known that the arrangement of
another large convention, IMTA, with modeling schools and agencies is racketeering.
The most significant issue, perhaps, is the success rate of AMTC in the attendants getting modeling contracts and earning money as models. This is essentially, after all, the central purpose of the convention.
In an email in 2002, the president of MLAMTC claimed they have stopped measuring their success rate, because it has become impossible to do so. Not very long afterwards, however, a concerned parent emailed to say she had been given printed ML advertising in which they claimed to have a 25% success rate.
Even if you were to believe AMTC, which presumably was not audited independently, the competence of the "professional scouts" and so-called "regional directors" is horrendous at a 75% failure rate.
Letter from Parent:
At least four parents who paid for their children to attend the American Modeling & Talent Convention said they paid for professional photography prior to the convention. This was at the advice of or it was a requirement of AMTC. According to the above email excerpt, "You pay around $600 for pictures that you have to take to the AMTC."
This is a total violation of modeling industry standards. Agents and experts all advise against spending money on professional photography, comp cards, and portfolios before you get representation with a modeling agency. Furthermore, the price AMTC charges is far in excess of what those who do have representation should pay.
As if the entire convention was not expensive enough with the admission price, hotel expense, travel costs, and everything else, they throw in another $600 for "professional" photos and prints, which incidentally, many agents don't need, many times don't want, and, may, in fact, toss out.
If you visit the websites of the agencies whose agents supposedly attend AMTC, you can find out for yourself what type of pictures they want and don't want.
According to one parent who paid ML for professional pictures prior to AMTC, the photographer was on staff at an ML agency, yet he was not even a professional photographer, but they were asked to pay professional photography rates!
Therefore the only conclusion is the money parents spend for professional pictures prior to the AMTC is going straight into the pockets of Millie Lewis. For every 1,000 kids who attend AMTC and pay $600 for pictures, $600,000 is going to AMTC, money that may or may not be split with photographers.
Consumer Comments (Feb 2004)
My daughter was so excited, she heard about it on the radio. How could it be a scam? After all it was on her favorite station.
I was not so sure. I didn't want to rain on her parade, so I agreed to keep her out of school for the day and bought her a new outfit.
We went to the audition, but something just did not seem right about it. I didn't say anything to my daughter she was too excited.
Moving on... she did her reading, danced and sang. We had a wonderful time watching all the people get up and show of their talent... or not. Only thing missing was Simon from American Idol.
The next morning the phone rang.
"Good News," said the lady on the line. She has been called back. For the small price of... I said no thanks and hung up.
Now I have the painful task of telling my sweet, talented little girl that it was all a ****.
I do have to say... we had a wonderful time together!
Not sucked in,
Mom in Dallas
See also Online Discussion of AMTC
Crimes of Persuasionon