Attorney general warns about supposed ‘Disney’ auditions in Portland

This was passed my way by the incomparable Christopher Cousins, who was no doubt concerned that I might learn the hard way that, no matter what a local radio advertisement might say, I have no chance of earning a role in the next Selena Gomez movie this weekend.

Maine Attorney General William Schneider seems to stop short of calling a series of upcoming auditions advertised to take place at the Clarion Hotel in Portland this weekend a scam. However, in a release issued by his office, he warns parents hoping their little darlings are the next Wizards of Waverly Place to ask tough questions and keep their money in their wallets.

Here’s the release, in its entirety:

Attorney General William J. Schneider is warning parents about a series of acting auditions for Maine youngsters scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday at the Clarion Hotel in Portland.

Advertisements on a local radio station tell parents to bring their children ages 6 to 16 to the hotel for “Disney” auditions. One Maine mother called the toll-free number given in the advertisement. She was asked for her name, the child’s name and age, and told to arrive at the hotel with the child “dressed for success” and with two of the child’s photographs. She was not informed of any fee for the audition.

Consumers who have attended similar auditions in other locations complain that the “free” event ultimately could end up costing thousands of dollars. Once at the audition site, up-front registration or consultation fees may be required, or expensive acting classes and subsequent paid events may be offered after the audition.

“Many parents want to believe that their child could be the next Hollywood sensation,” said Attorney General Schneider. “The truth is that the odds of this happening are remote. A legitimate audition will not require up-front fees.”

Attorney General Schneider offers the following tips for families interested in pursuing modeling and acting careers for their children:

  1. Be very careful about any requests for up-front payments in the form of registration, consultation or administrative fees.
  2. Understand that this is a competitive business and a paid seminar or event may not be the best way to get agents or others to notice your child.
  3. Be wary of any promises of guaranteed employment or high earnings.
  4. Be cautious of companies that try to convince you to pay them money by using names of known celebrities, motion picture studios or recording companies.
  5. A legitimate production company will provide information about their business, their employees and their practices. Research company and agent names.
  6. Disney affiliates will be able to provide credentials demonstrating their association with Disney. Parents should ask for a telephone number of their contact at Disney Studios in Burbank, California.

If you think you have experienced an acting or modeling audition scam, call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at (207)626-8849.


Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.