The cost of a free audition - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

NBC12 INVESTIGATES

The cost of a free audition

By Curt Autry - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – So, you want to be star -- or maybe your child is destined to become Hollywood's next big thing. Periodically, entertainment companies come to Richmond to hold "free" auditions. 

We went undercover, to an audition with a Christian talent firm and quickly learned that even at a free audition you'll probably need your checkbook. 

We sat near the back of the banquet hall at the Wyndham Hotel watching the "free" auditions for AMTC, or "Actors Models and Talent for Christ" -- with a heavy emphasis on "Christ." 

"How many of you believe in divine appointment? Show of hands - so, I absolutely believe God sent you here for a reason tonight," the speaker says. 

The speaker is Carey Arban. She calls herself the "Chief Serving Officer" of AMTC. And she tells the crowd of 150 plus what they're really auditioning for. An opportunity to attend AMTC's big event at the Gaylord Palms Resort this summer where a select few will showcase their talents before the world's leading agents, casting directors, and musical industry professionals. 

During her long power-point presentation, Arban warns the "would-be stars" that not everyone in the industry has her same Christian resolve with a slide on the screen that reads "dark forces are looking for you..." She even names a few: 

"Barbizon, John Robert Powers, and John Casablancas, they charge tuition in excess of $20,000" said Arban to shocked reactions from the crowd. 

Arban points out that it certainly is a lot of money, and far more than the bargain price of $3,595.00 she'll be charging those who make the cut tonight to attend her function. 

Arban says her Christian faith has made her a target, so don't believe everything you read. 

"AMTC has been attacked, I have been personally attacked - especially on the internet, so anything you read about AMTC on the internet that is good, is true," said Arban. 

After two hours, it is audition time. We brought along April Lee, who is a former Richmond Idol winner, and a professional vocalist. Sure enough the next day there was a call back on her voice mail. 

"Yes, April, I'm with AMTC - you've made the cut," said the recoding. 

Despite the invitation Lee says she won't be attending. 

"You're talking about, like a minimum of $5,000, by the time you fly there and everything else; I just don't know that it would be worth it," said Lee. 

We randomly picked a dozen contestants from the crowd that night and called them back a few days later to see if they made the cut. Nine of twelve got a call back. We also contacted Ms. Arban to ask what percentage from the Richmond auditions made the cut. Her reply reads, in part: "Hi Curt, we truly don't keep callback numbers. It's about our calling from God as a company matching the calling from contestants as individuals. I don't use words like "the end of the line." I am not God- or Simon Cowell." 

Local actress, singer, and model Ameera McKissick attended the AMTC convention last year, and according to their website, placed first in the modeling competition. She won't say anything bad about the company. 

"As far as going to AMTC, I did have a blast," said McKissick. 

And McKissick is not alone. Other distinguished AMTC alums include American Idol top ten finalist Tim Urban, child star India Scandrick and actress Megan Fox. The company also has an A-plus rating with the Better Business Bureau.  

Despite McKissick's success at the AMTC event - it really didn't bring her any work, but she doesn't blame them. She says all participants need to go into the convention with their eyes wide open. 

"I don't feel like it's a charity event, where all come and I'll help you. No, it's a business," said McKissick. 

McKissick will appear in a movie this summer. She landed a job as an extra in a film called Just Wright starring Queen Latifah. It hits theatres May 14. McKissick admits she got the job on her own with no help from AMTC. 

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

  • Latest news from NBC12.comNEWSMore>>

  • Laughter, tears as former first lady Barbara Bush remembered

    Laughter, tears as former first lady Barbara Bush remembered

    Saturday, April 21 2018 12:04 AM EDT2018-04-21 04:04:04 GMT
    Saturday, April 21 2018 11:06 PM EDT2018-04-22 03:06:22 GMT
    (AP Photo/Evan Vucci). Mourners pause as former U.S. first lady Barbara Bush lies in repose during the visitation of former first lady Barbara Bush at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Friday, April 20, 2018, in Houston.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci). Mourners pause as former U.S. first lady Barbara Bush lies in repose during the visitation of former first lady Barbara Bush at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Friday, April 20, 2018, in Houston.

    As the outpouring of tributes continues for Barbara Bush, the general public can pay its respects to the former first lady.

    More >>

    As the outpouring of tributes continues for Barbara Bush, the general public can pay its respects to the former first lady.

    More >>
  • Trump considering pardon for late boxer Jack Johnson

    Trump considering pardon for late boxer Jack Johnson

    Saturday, April 21 2018 3:44 PM EDT2018-04-21 19:44:16 GMT
    Saturday, April 21 2018 11:05 PM EDT2018-04-22 03:05:41 GMT
    Stallone, who starred in the 1976 boxing film "Rocky" and several sequels, is a supporter of the president and attended Trump's New Years' Eve party at Mar-a-Lago in 2016. (Source: CNN/Twitter)Stallone, who starred in the 1976 boxing film "Rocky" and several sequels, is a supporter of the president and attended Trump's New Years' Eve party at Mar-a-Lago in 2016. (Source: CNN/Twitter)

    President Donald Trump says he's considering "a Full Pardon!" for boxing's first black heavyweight champion more than 100 years after Jack Johnson was convicted by all-white jury of "immorality" for one of his...

    More >>

    President Donald Trump says he's considering "a Full Pardon!" for boxing's first black heavyweight champion more than 100 years after Jack Johnson was convicted by all-white jury of "immorality" for one of his relationships.

    More >>
  • Thousands sing 'Happy Birthday' to Queen Elizabeth II

    Thousands sing 'Happy Birthday' to Queen Elizabeth II

    Saturday, April 21 2018 6:54 AM EDT2018-04-21 10:54:10 GMT
    Saturday, April 21 2018 10:16 PM EDT2018-04-22 02:16:16 GMT
    (Toby Melville/Pool Photo via AP). Britain's Queen Elizabeth raises her glass during speeches at The Queen's Dinner, during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Buckingham Palace in London, Thursday, April 19, 2018.(Toby Melville/Pool Photo via AP). Britain's Queen Elizabeth raises her glass during speeches at The Queen's Dinner, during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Buckingham Palace in London, Thursday, April 19, 2018.

    Queen Elizabeth II is marking her 92nd birthday with a star-studded concert in London.

    More >>

    Queen Elizabeth II is marking her 92nd birthday with a star-studded concert in London.

    More >>
  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Delta passenger fined $500 for apple

    Delta passenger fined $500 for apple

    Saturday, April 21 2018 1:01 PM EDT2018-04-21 17:01:03 GMT
    Saturday, April 21 2018 6:45 PM EDT2018-04-21 22:45:42 GMT
    adlock's healthy snack turned into a tough reality to stomach. (Source: KDVR/CNN)adlock's healthy snack turned into a tough reality to stomach. (Source: KDVR/CNN)

    Crystal Tadlock is not happy about the fine she said

    More >>

    Crystal Tadlock is not happy about the fine she said

    More >>
  • 'Austin Powers' star Verne Troyer dies at age 49

    'Austin Powers' star Verne Troyer dies at age 49

    Saturday, April 21 2018 4:51 PM EDT2018-04-21 20:51:28 GMT
    Saturday, April 21 2018 6:03 PM EDT2018-04-21 22:03:39 GMT

    Verne Troyer, an actor famous for his role as Mini-Me in the "Austin Powers" trilogy, has passed away.

    More >>

    Verne Troyer, an actor famous for his role as Mini-Me in the "Austin Powers" trilogy, has passed away.

    More >>
  • Judge accused of abusing, berating defendants

    Judge accused of abusing, berating defendants

    Saturday, April 21 2018 7:20 AM EDT2018-04-21 11:20:28 GMT
    Saturday, April 21 2018 7:30 AM EDT2018-04-21 11:30:55 GMT
    Judge Merrilee Ehrlich has stepped down after being accused of berating defendants. (Source: WSVN/CNN)Judge Merrilee Ehrlich has stepped down after being accused of berating defendants. (Source: WSVN/CNN)

    A judge accused of "aggressive and tyrannical" behavior has stepped down from the bench.

    More >>

    A judge accused of "aggressive and tyrannical" behavior has stepped down from the bench.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly