TORONTO – ENTERTAINMENT – John Stevens and Doug Sloan, business owners and actor advocates in Toronto, Canada spoke with CBC news recently to call attention to the lack of government regulation when it comes to Talent companies doing business in Canada. CBC caught up with John and representatives from over 6 different talent agencies in Toronto outside a “casting call” for an American Talent company charging up to $10,000.00 USD to attend their event.
“We have grave concerns for consumers in the Canadian market who want to launch their acting careers who do not have the proper credentials to do so at these high priced American events” they told reporters.
The duo explained further that, “Canadians cannot just pop over the border and work in the US. You have to have a green card, dual citizenship or what’s called an 01 Visa. All of which are difficult to obtain not to mention the process can be pricey. In order to qualify for an 01 visa you have to first have enough film and television credits in Canada and be an A.C.T.R.A. member to make you a viable candidate.”
The main problem, Stevens points out, is that there is no one watching over these companies and holding them accountable. In Canada, there are several watchdog groups that help maintain a level of professionalism in the Canadian Television and Film industries. The aforementioned A.C.T.R.A. (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) is a great resource to see if the company you are dealing with is legitimately performing in the best interest of you as a performer. Legitimate talent agencies in Canada operate under the code of ethics set forth by E.I.C.A.A. (Entertainment Industry Coalition Agency Association) and T.A.M.A.C. (Talent Agents & Managers Association of Canada).
“I just want to make sure consumers make educated choices that reflect the standards set forth by these reputable Canadian organizations” Doug Sloan remarked.
For more information about getting started in the entertainment industry in Canada be sure to check out Acting and Modelling Information Service.
They also made a point about how they as business owners are required to pay taxes in Canada as well as licensing fees and that at this point US companies are able to fly under the radar. US companies can come into Canada, charge grossly inflated prices for events, classes and marketing tools without contributing to the Canadian infrastructure.
When asked why they felt so passionately about this John answered, “We have worked directly with some of the people behind these US companies in the past. We have seen first hand the antiquated high-pressure sales tactics, the lack of customer service and bait and switch tactics targeting youth through impact words like “Disney” and “auditions”.
They also made it emphatically clear that they were not afraid of any retaliation from these companies because as the two said, “No one can argue with the honest truth”.
John Stevens and his partner, Doug Sloan, will be meeting with law makers and city officials in the upcoming weeks to draw their attention to this growing problem.