The Playground Los Angeles Review Gary Spatz — acting
Beware of this company, a total scam!
THE SET UP
It all starts with the first contact at a mall or public place were the "scouts" are on the hunt for children. These people are basically out of work actors, so they are very convincing. They prey on kids and parents that look like they can afford to pay for over priced acting classes. (they never mention that fact, but is is printed in small letters on the invite you are given)
They will approach you and say something like "oh, your son/daughter is so cute. Have you ever thought about getting in tv, commercials or film?" You're excited and your child is certainly excited with the prospect of being discovered. (they count on this) and the pitch begins. The scouts then invite you to attend a special audition were you can meet industry professionals and maybe even an ex Disney star who is also down on their luck looking for a paycheck for an hour or two of their time.
THE FAKE AUDITION
You decide to load up the family and are all set to attend what seems to be an incredible opportunity.
After arriving you discover there are many families just like you, all wanting their big chance to be discovered. After a quick dog and pony show, dropping names of supposed past students and the success they have achieved, your child goes on stage and reads a 3 line commercial. You are then rushed over to one of their admission reps. They inform you if your "lucky" you'll get a call and a second chance to meet with them one on one.
THE CALL BACK
Hello, this is ____ from The Playground, Ive got some great news!, you are one of the few kids that have been selected to come back for a second and final interview. (at this point they may or may not mention the fact that there is ALLOT of your money involved.
THE SECOND INTERVIEW- TIME TO BREAK YOUR CHILDS HART
You and your family are in a small office plastered with photos of child stars, the real fun begins.
The sales rep with begin to flatter your child and go on about how great they are and what a great look they have. Your child is so excited and about to burst, then the other shoe drops. Oh, but little Johnny needs training. "You cant possibly think you can get into this business without training? Everybody needs classes." The cost can be between $3000 to $6000. You will then most likely ask if you can go home and think about it. (most people would). They have this covered. "Well, if you'r not serious and don't want the spot, someone else will." (the take away). Of course this is a tactic and if you say no your child is devastated and thinks you have just kept them from being the next big star. Explain to them this place is not real and you will find one that is. Tell them they are too talented to go with the first place that wants them.
NOT SO FUN FACTS ABOUT THE PLAYGROUND
They accept and call everyone. To prove this point, go to the phony audition with another family and don't tell them you are together. You will both get the same call about how special you are.
They hold these additions every weekend and are very well known for churning hundreds of students a month.
If they were so reputable and so many agents were in fact referring their children and clients to them, then why would they have to rely on stalking children in malls. They would have a waiting list and a line out the door. Think about it.
The teachers are also out of work actors that rely on this scam to pay the rent. If they were truly successful, you don't think they would be doing this to pay the bills do you?
The cost of classes here are so way over priced. Now they will tell you the "you get what you pay for" or "we don't charge much more than other classes and our classes are the best and Gary is bigly better."
The owner Eric Rottman has been involved in acting scams for decades. He was the founder of O'Brian -Rottman Studios in Dallas and Los Angeles, both we shut down for fraud and misleading sales practices. Google it. Same exact business model.
Do yourself and most importantly your child a favor. Go home, research and call around. Also, go to The BizParentz Foundation website, it is a non-profit corporation providing education, advocacy, and charitable support to parents and children engaged in the entertainment industry. If you still want to do business with Gary, Eric and this group of scam artist, trust me they will be more than happy to take your money. Also, goggle Gary Spatz, The Playground Los Angeles and put the word scam after the name. You will be amazed.
They will most likely say that all the bad posts and reviews are from people that never attended the classes or it is one of their competitors trying to discredit them.
The bottom line is this. This company preys on children and the uninformed. They are very good at what they do, if they weren't they would not still be in business.
Find a company that has a legit business model and truly cares about your child.