Hidden Faces, West1Promotions, Regardez - Joined these agencies?

  • User Deleted

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    A researcher doing some work for the BBC - wants to hear from anybody – that has paid an up front fee to them.

    He can be contacted by e-mail:

    [email protected]

    Leave a contact telephone number...

    Regards,

    Clive

    • 1st Dec 2006
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  • Alexander Helm

    Actor

    I did join Hidden Faces over three years ago. One of the situations where you smell a rat but don't know exactly what to do for the best. Fortunately, I have a far clearer picture of that area of the industry. I didnt help when reputable agencies charged upfront fees. Anyone who wants to know more can contact me through this site. I also know other people who joined this agency.

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 1
  • Wendy Denham

    Actor

    I joined Regardez - model agency in the summer of 2005. I went to a local hotel, was interviewed and told that I was marketable for their acting/commercial side of the company and photographed and paid an upfront fee to them.They told me about everything that they would provide and would I please send them a cd of any other photographs I had that might be suitable for my portfolio which I did. On their website is a mock up of a card and that is the last I have heard of them. I have had no work or contact from them since.

    • 1st Jun 2006
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  • Alexander Helm

    Actor

    Hello Clive

    I have just got back from a rehearsal and hear an agency which I think is probably Hidden Faces is doing a recruiting session at the Swallow Nelson Hotel. They usually advertise in the local press and recruit in hotels across the country. They have used the Swallow Nelson Hotel for several years now. I dont know exact details but if you msg me I can forward you the hotel telephone number.

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 3
  • User Deleted

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    Thanks Alex...

    My spies have already told me about this Norwich hotel. I was in contact with the hotel; and the Norwich Evening News - paper earlier today regarding a possible article.

    The agency involved, is not Hidden Faces, it is an agency called West1Promotions, which is run by a man called Seth McDonald - according to Companies House records. Seth was/is a manager for Hidden Faces.

    West1Promotions started up in July 2005. Yet the agency says - it has been in business for nearly a decade.

    One mother contacted me by e-mail about her six year old daughter, who was photographed by this agency. The poor dear looks like Dracula!

    Yet the local nursery took a smashing photo of the little girl with her sister, for only £16. West1Promotions charge £179; with the promise of finding you a model/extra agency.

    This child's mum has sent me documents which prove that the agency West1Promotions - put you in touch with - an agency called Regardez, based in Southampton; who charge another up-front fee of £117.50.

    Regardez once featured in a BBC programme in 2003, where they were purported to be voted one of the worst show biz agencies. I think that says it all. In August 2000 - Mail on Sunday did a two page spread about Regardez and it's sister company C P Promotions etc...

    After making a complaint three months ago to the DTI Employment Agency Standards (EAS), this government department is finally going to visit this agency; next month.

    Most agencies in our industry are honest, truthful and hardworking - on our behalf. I have nothing but admiration for such agencies. But we have no safeguards in place to protect us from the charlatans in our industry; who appear to be growing in numbers...

    I sit here tapping away at my computer, hoping that those in high positions will listen to me. I get less and less work because of my high profile; this results in less and less earnings. I do not profit; quite the reverse. Yet I continue; despite all the odds against me.

    I have written yet another, very strong letter to the DTI EAS. One day - we will have regulations which allow reputable agencies to prosper, while getting rid of the bogus agencies... Eight and a half years campaigning; is - a very long time!

    Sincerely,

    Clive

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 4
  • User Deleted

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    BBC Radio Norfolk has just done a programme this morning about West1Promotions (linked to Hidden Faces and Regardez) Here is a transcript of items discussed: -

    BBC RADIO NORFOLK 27th January 2005

    Now, are you one of those who reads with excitement the opportunity to become a model, film extra or even actor?

    If you are, then you may well have been attracted to the opportunity to be introduced to agencies who can get you work.

    But how much work actually comes off? And are you asked to hand over cash to get you started?

    It's a situation Clive Hurst has contacted us about after hearing these introductory sessions were being held locally.

    Mr Hurst describes himself as a campaigner for actors rights and good conditions. He heard about what was happening locally on the internet....

    Have you been affected? Have you been along to one of these sessions? Have you had work through them?

    Later in the programme we hear from MP Henry Bellingham (Shadow Conservative DTI Spokesman) who's had some complaints about them. We'll see what he plans to do about it. We have also spoken to a company which recently ran a session in Norwich ...We'll tell you what they say later in the programme.

    Now the North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham has heard from several constituents who feel they've been duped. He's now taking up the matter with the Department of Trade and Industry .......

    A little earlier I asked him who's made him aware of this practice....

    Now, we have spoken to the company which ran an advert for anyone interested in becoming a model or an extra asking them to come along to a hotel in Norwich last weekend.

    That company is called West 1 Promotions.

    They wouldn't come on the programme or do a taped interview but say hundreds turned up last weekend and have confirmed participants were charged more than one hundred and seventy pounds. They say this was for the OPPORTUNITY TO BE INTRODUCED TO MODELLING AND ACTING AGENCIES.

    They say they give no-one "false hopes" and only promise to introduce people to agencies. They claim they are not an agency themselves, they are a MANAGEMENT COMPANY, and therefore don't fall under DTI rules that Mr Bellingham was talking about (ie as a management company they can charge an up front fee).

    But they do say that if those who have handed over money at one of these sessions get no offers of work from the model or acting agencies then they will refund your money after ONE YEAR.

    This is just a brief synopsis of the programme...

    THANK YOU BBC!!!

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 5
  • User Deleted

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    You can listen to the interview of Henry Bellingham MP, who is the Conservative Shadow DTI Spokesman and myself, by BBC Radio Norfolk - by logging on to my website www.anactor.net

    Radio 4 are now interested in doing something, so is BBC Working Lunch and Watchdog. Even the Times newspaper will be running a story quite soon too...

    **;~))

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 6
  • User Deleted

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    I saw the advert for West1 promotions and went on their website. It looked ok at first glance, but luckily (due in part to my media background) i was able to read between the lines. I rang the so called "Information line" and was put through to the voicemail of an Orange Mobile. That was enough confirmation for me, so i steered well clear.

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 7
  • User Deleted

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    I would like to add another agency to the list - Have you joined...? This time it is an agency called Studio1promotions. Yes I know it sounds almost like West1Promotions; but Studio1promotions say they are not connected to them.

    West1Promotions for £179, merely - put you in touch with Studio1promotions; who then charge you a second up-front fee of £49. The agency states various contracts of work... including one job in the Costa Bravo, Spain. Wow!

    There are only 41 female and 27 male models shown on the Studio1promotions website. Studio1promotions state they have been in business for 9 years yet their .co.uk website was only registered on 18 January, 3 weeks ago.

    It's really sad reading all the e-mails, from Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, London and Norwich - from hard up students, actors and models; especially from those under the age of 16 - who have been promised a great career in modelling. How could their parents say no...? It's like admitting they do not love their children. With 2 children - the fees are double!

    Of course some people/children may get work; but many will not...

    Regards,

    Clive

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 8
  • Alexander Helm

    Actor

    The people that represent these agencies often create very elaborate explanations and on the surface plausible explanations why they need money from you. I just spoke to this very eloquent women at Models Direct rationalising the upfront fee.

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 9
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Yesterday the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) published an adjudication on West1Promotions. You can see this on the ASA website: www.asa.org.uk/asa/adjudications - Then click on none broadcast complaints. Then type in: West 1 Casting

    There is a second complaint in the pipeline... The latest adverts do not show the name of the agency, nor does it mention the up-front fee of £179.

    Look out for an article in next Thursday's 'The Mirror'...

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 10
  • Paul Lomas

    Actor

    AS an agent working in this industry for many years I do not like other agents starting up in business making false statements of potential work that does not come forward giving us a bad name, My company certainly does not charge any fees up front and please do not part with any money, I see from the 'Metro' free newspaper that

    'Hidden Faces' www.hiddenfaces.tv. are advertisig with them and are now based at Pinewood Road, Iver Bucks SL0 0NH, I am not quite sure if they are renting an office in the famous 'Pinewood Studios' just for the interviews? acording to the advert their credits include:- BBC/ITV/C4/SKY/NOKIA/NIKE/and the Darkness Video.

    Printing or web costs may occur, but the amount is not printed.

    Regards

    Mirage38

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 11
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I have tried to help many would be performers/models who have paid fees at these hotel venues.

    I am delighted to say that one of the people, based in Birmingham has today received a refund from this agency, after the Department of Trade & Industry Employment Agency Standards stepped in and suggested the agency refund this money; because the photos taken were of such a poor quality. It made the little girl of six look like Dracula!!!

    This is the second such refund. Many applicants have seen the Internet Chat Rooms suggesting they steer clear of such venues. This latest refund has made my day!

    The little girls mum wants to send out a clear message to all those who take money under false pretences - to stop these unfair practices...

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 12
  • User Deleted

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    The Newcastle on Tyne Newspaper, the Evening Chronicle has done a marvelous article on this subject; a whole page!

    Copy and paste these 3 web pages!!!

    icnewcastle.icnetwork.co.uk/eveningchronicle/eveningchronicle/tm_objectid=16801935%26method=full%26siteid=50081%26headline=fame%2dwarning-name_page.html

    icnewcastle.icnetwork.co.uk/eveningchronicle/eveningchronicle/tm_objectid=16801935%26method=full%26siteid=50081%26headline=fame%2dwarning-name_page.html#story_continue

    icnewcastle.icnetwork.co.uk/eveningchronicle/eveningchronicle/tm_objectid=16801935%26method=full%26siteid=50081%26page=2%26headline=fame%2dwarning-name_page.html

    **);~)

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 13
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    This is from someone in Newcastle who e-mailed me this morning looking for some advice:

    I went to an interview yesterday for West 1 Promotions at the Thistle Hotel in Newcastle and paid the £179 up front and now coming home and reading the comments from you and other people on the internet I am very worried now that I had just wasted £179 and will end up getting no work. Can you give me any more information or anything that will put my mind at rest? Do they definitely not get work for people?

    The agency took just a normal Polaroid picture to see if I was photogenic then after they said I was and would get loads of fashion modelling and promotion work even work like tequila girls and stuff like that they then said in order for them to take the 6 pictures from the professional photographer and to take me on to there books they would need a fee of £179 there and then.

    After the photos were taken I was told how good they were and within 6 weeks I would receive the photos along with the address and contact details of the agency they have sent my photos to. On the contract it stated if I stopped the payment to West 1 Promotions they would take legal action. But, I understand that I have a cooling off period - where I can cancel the contract and demand a full refund; but the agency is not stating this on their contract!

    Why?

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 14
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    This is from a mum of a 12 year old daughter:

    I found this e-mail address in a post from a chap on Casting Call Pro's web site and thought I would let you know what happened yesterday.

    My 12 year old daughter went to an 'audition' held by West 1 promotions at the Britannia Hotel Coventry yesterday (5th March) with her dad.

    She was apparently interviewed and signed up... costing her dad £179. When she came home, the first things I asked her were, if this company had taken money and if her dad had signed anything. My heart sank when she answered with a very excited "Yes" to both questions. I did some digging around on the net and was dismayed with what I came up with.

    I only wish I'd been there. I've heard and read so many times that any reputable agency will never ask for money 'up front'. We are now £179 out of pocket which is bad enough, but I have one 12 year old little girl who is going to be heartbroken. This is all she has ever wanted to do (much to my horror!).

    How can these people cash in on and crush a child's dream and be allowed to get away with it? I called the Britannia hotel in Coventry this morning, and told them they had hosted nothing but a huge scam. I got the impression they had received quite a few similar calls this morning.

    I'm still in the process of gathering information and paperwork pertaining to last Sunday's fiasco. Dad is a little embarrassed about being so easily conned. Personally, I'm more concerned with my daughter. I had to tell her in the end, as she was growing more and more excited. She was deeply upset, as you can imagine.

    Anything that can be done to prevent these from continuing to do this to children has got to be a good thing...

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 15
  • User Deleted

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    This is an e-mail I received today from a 20 year old student:

    Hi Clive this is ***** just a quick message to say I got a full refund this week from west 1 so let everyone else know who you are in contact with. I just annoyed them so much by emailing them every week I think they finally gave in after 2 months!

    Thanks for your help and all your contacts you have given me.

    I would never have received a refund if it wasn't for you.

    **);~)

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 16
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Just to let you all know that Hidden Faces has just changed its name to - Hidden Talent...

    **;~)

    • 23rd Sep 2006
    • 17
  • Pierre Maubouché

    Actor

    Just spotted this thread, which is a great public service to actors. One thing though...

    I don't believe 'beeb.net' is a bona fide BBC email address suffix (beeb.net is just an ISP), which I find awkward as this is supposed to be 'a researcher doing some work for the BBC'.

    Then I realised that it was Clive's email address - which I find odd, Clive, as you say that 'this researcher' can be contacted at this (your) email address - why not put the researcher's BBC email address instead of your own?

    I'm sure there's a good reason for this oddity though, but for a guy who is fighting so much for transparence you'll agree that this looks a bit... well, not clear!

    • 24th Sep 2006
    • 18
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Hi Pierre,

    You too can can have a @beeb.net e-mail address, this is offered by 'BBC Worlwide' at www.beeb.net. I have had the [email protected] address for over 7 years now.

    As you know my website address is anactor.net which I set up only about 6 years ago; because the website was easy to set up; you may want to have a peek...

    You may also want a peek, at a new website, set up by a certain individual, who shall be hidden... The new website is called www.notanactor.net. I have suggested to the author of this website, that he may want to run my fan club!

    On my own website link 'Agency Help Line', you can listen to the 5 BBC local radio programmes, so far this year, in which I have supplied the research material... If you really want proof - of some of my research.

    I cannot reveal anything further; you must realise that. Transparency is fine; but not in this situation; as I am sure you do understand.

    As to what the reader will think? Well they will have to make up their own minds. There are even those that think I write, under a pseudo-name, which I think is very unfair; I do not. Why would I want to write under another name, which is not my own; what would be the point? Where's the logic - in making such false allegations?

    Of course there are others who think like I do. Nobody willingly wants to pay up-front fees; that are taken under - false pretences. Other performers may want to hide their identity; because they have been threatened in some way; I cannot comment.

    I do not hide my identity... I put into the public domain as much information as one can; but certain things must remain confidential...

    The above, will be the only comment I will make, on the subject you have raised...

    All the best,

    Clive

    • 26th Sep 2006
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