What follows is a series of emails I had with Thali, a Friends in Film subscriber. She doesn't have her papers to legally work in the U.S. and like so many people… is looking for a way in.
Bottom line: You need to have papers (passport or drivers license and SS card) when you work in the film industry because that's how you get paid! At the end of the day, you'll fill out a time card and you'll need to fill it in completely. So work on getting your visa and your papers and then tackle the film industry!
THALI'S FIRST EMAIL TO ME:
Well I found this website in the internet, sent them an email, with my resume/headshot, and now we've been talking for a while. Now is the complicated part because I have to show contracts from productions/directors, and letters, so I'm kind going crazy running around for this stuff, but will be worth it though.
Here is his information:
REMOVED BY JANET
MY RESPONSE TO THALI
About the website, Looks like dancing, art, shows. If that's your thing…
It doesn't have much to do with film production (features, TV shows, commercials, documentaries, PSAs, music videos) but if you're into dancing and that kind of thing, it may be fun to do some shows.
What is the pay? Have you been to any of their shows? It would be good to talk to some of their performers.
That's my 2 cents!
THALI'S RESPONSE TO ME:
About the visa thing…I'm not going to work for them. They will be simply my "agent" they will apply all the documentation for me, and I'll be able to work for any film production. The payment for them is about 2500 plus additional fees of $570 to the USCIS and the Actor's Guild.
Nice talking to you,
MY RESPONSE TO THALI
Who is this agent? You shouldn't be paying an agent up front. I need to understand a lot more about that. Can you show me a website?
How did you come across them?
He is not an artistical agent. He is more like an immigrant agent (with lawyers and everything). I came to them by searching on the internet. The website that I have is the one I sent to you THE WEBSITE . Below you can check what he said about it.
Question: I thought that when you have somebody/company/studio that wants to hire you they fill all the paper work for you. Am I wrong?
Answer: The contract will be for the purpose of the visa filling – we will sign that I am your agent for this purpose. You will need to get job offers and contract for actual work from other people or companies for the time you are asking the visa for. They may not want to petition the visa for you, that's where I can help you in petitioning as your agent. in this way you will be allowed to work with many employers and not only with the company that petitioned for you.
I want to believe that they are real, because if not, there's no hope anymore, and I'll probably have to give up, move to another country like Canada, England or even my home country, to start my carrer there (they are not to exigent with this visa stuff than they are here).
Thank you for your help (your experience its always so important for me) and I hope your student from S Africa could find a solution as well.
MY RESPONSE TO THALITA
He's not an immigrant agent.
I honestly do not know what he is. He is charging money upfront.
There are tons of people who are exactly in your situation. They're desperate for a way in.
Have you talked to anyone that has gotten a work visa from working with him? I'd go meet that person in person!
Finally, whatever kind of visa he may be able to get you, won't be for Production Assistant work. Not for background work either. They're not going to talk to "an agent for the purpose of a visa".
Most actors who have their career going have talent agents. That's normal. It takes having a pretty impressive reel and resume to land an agent. And then it's still up to you to book the work and if you don't the agent will drop you because legitimate agents make their money from your paycheck. Nothing upfront.
Shelly is still working out how she can stay in this country and continue working. Right now her visa is very limited. She's working to get it changed to a different status. Let's see if it works.
I know this may be crushing, but more crushing is getting scammed. Losing the money you can't afford to lose for absolutely nothing. What are you going to do if you pay and you don't get the visa? What the heck can you do? Get your money back?
Whenever there's a huge problem, people crop up saying they can fix it. A real immigration attorney may be able to help.
Wow…THAT'S SO AWESOME what you just did! THANK YOU for taking your time to answer this email…I'm speechless!
I'm not even talking to them anymore! I tried to find them in so many places (like Better Business Bureau) but i can find anything!
In the begining of this year I went to see an attorney, and they said any judge won't give me a visa without a contract (like,almost impossible) but I still believe in impossible things!
THANK YOU ONCE AGAIN! You're unbelivable!
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