UPDATE: Hollywood Promises; The Event Responds

By: Faran Fronczak
By: Faran Fronczak

Official Statement from The Event:

In response to the story which aired on November 8, 2011, we have found many inaccuracies in your report. You state we have not replied to your story, however, you did not contact our company and you were given my email address and phone number last night at 6:30pm. We are now reaching out to you to participate in a response and hope that ethics will play a roll in reporting your inaccuracies versus your apparent need to facilitate hype and sensationalism to garner ratings.

1. We do not promise stardom and at no time is anyone told that if they pay us they will be told they can be a star at our event. In our agreements, our presentation and all of our materials we state we do not guarantee anything but an opportunity to network and meet over 60 industry professionals. These are agents, managers, casting directors, etc. that do scout and either hire or represent talent for all the major networks and film studios. I would like for you to show us where in our materials or on our website do we ever state by using our services we will make you a star or guarantee work in the business.

2. In regards to your referencing the 2009 Connecticut event, you need to do your homework. The voluntary cooperation by the former ownership with the AGs office was in regard to two sentences of the contract that were not in bold print. The prior ownership of The Event learned that this is a law that’s exclusive to Connecticut that they were previously unaware. They paid the fine, changed the contract for all future business. They also continued to hold a successful event there, with many happy satisfied customers. Since then the product is under new ownership and has produced several successful events and are in total compliance. Your referencing this has nothing to do with the product or relevant to the story. Specifically, this statement as it is COMPLETELY FALSE in your reference to the AG in Connecticut. "forced the company to make it more clear to parents that this is a talent competition... And not a
guarantee of stardom"

3. Disney is not investigating the company. If you have proof of that, please do share that with us as we have not heard otherwise. We require every family to sign a disclaimer stating they understand the process for the audition and specifically that Disney is not affiliated. Specifically #4 of our disclaimer says the following: "I understand by signing below that in no way does Disney sponsor or endorse The Event or is in any way involved in evaluating talent at the The Event."

Furthermore, I’d like to briefly explain what the The Event services entail. The Event is a family friendly competition for the performing arts held at various Walt Disney World area resorts. We provide the opportunity for parents and kids to learn about the entertainment industry and to network with dozens of industry professionals as well opportunities to meet and learn from today's hottest kid and teen celebrities. Currently, we host our events in Orlando, FL at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin. In addition to the many different showcases and orientations the attendees participate, we also award prizes and cash valued over $50,000 to the top performing talent for the week.

The Event is not an agency, casting company or management firm. Our open call events in local markets consist of an audition for The Event and an industry professional (agent, manager or casting director) who has talent they represent or who casts for major TV networks and films. It's like two opportunities in one. If talent go on to the next round for The Event (which again is a completely separate decision from the industry professional at the open call) they will then be invited to attend our events in Orlando. Talent spend the next few months preparing for the various showcases performing monologues, scenes, TV commercial scripts, modeling specific types of fashion styles, vocal and dance performances in front of over 60 worldwide companies. All of this is outlined in our brochure which parents receive in advance at the open call as well on our website.

We are proud of our many success stories. We have many children, tweens and teens that have gone to personal and professional success, such as Landry Bender, who attended our event in 2009. She is currently starring as a lead in a major feature film THE SITTER with Jonah Hill, which is being released nationwide this fall and has worked on many national commercials. Another industry success story is Zayne Emory, who was discovered at our event and is currently recurring on Disney XD's "I'm With the Band” and “Shake It Up,” in addition to many guest staring roles on shows such as “Desperate Housewives” and “Criminal Minds.” And Hayden Miller-Byerly who has had guest roles on Disney’s “Zeke and Luther” and booked several national commercials after attending only last year (July 2010) with no previous experience on his resume.

Other success stories and detailed information can be found in our materials and online.

Thank you,
Louise Worth
Media Relations

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- An update on the story we told you about last night involving local parents paying thousands of dollars to enter their kids in a talent competition.

Dennis Horton says, "You could be the next Disney star." At least that's what Stateline kids and parents thought. "The Event" Talent Search was on the prowl offering Rockford starlits auditions to make it big.

Christine MacDougall says, "They said that the director was going to interview each child. So you're still thinking maybe this is something bigger than a sales pitch." MacDougall brought her two children to the auditions. She says a talent agent from Hollywood was there, but only to help. MacDougall says, "He was there you know helping helping them get the talent for Florida, not for his agency in California."

Eiley MacDougall says, "I thought the talent agent was going to see me like for maybe an extra in a movie or something." Luckily, MacDougall is experienced when it comes to her kids auditioning. Eli MacDougall, "I auditioned for 'Fred Claus' as an extra, and you know, we didn't have to pay for that."

Heather Villa says, "We had to have at least $1,000 down on the package that would guarantee her a spot in Orlando." A spot... for a talent competition. With no promise of Hollywood success. Some parents admit to paying as much as $7,900 dollars to get them there.
Jaqui Zimmerman says, "I was just hoping that... I really like to sing and stuff like that. And i was hoping I'd be able to do that."

Dennis Horton of the Better Business Bureau says, "If you are working with someone who is a legitimate talent agent, they are the ones who are going to offer you a contract so that together you can make money. It isn't that you will be paying them upfront to help you."

The Rockford Better Business Bureau hasn't received any formal complaints. But in 2009, the Connecticut Attorney General ordered "The Event" to rewrite its contracts so parents better understood it was a competition and not guaranteed stardom. Our calls and emails to "The Event" have not been returned for the past two days.

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  • by Really? on Nov 10, 2011 at 08:39 AM
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