A chance at fame or journey to bitter disappointment? The jury is out when it comes to talent scouting opportunities overseas.
With many aspiring artists scraping to get a foot into at least one door that will pave a path to stardom, so too have there been a number of talent scouts selling them the ultimate dream — a chance to be signed to talent agencies abroad.
Throughout the year, talent scouting agents hold regional auditions across SA identifying aspiring actors, singers, models and dancers and shortlisting them to attend workshops in Johannesburg, where producers, talent managers and casting directors from New York City and Los Angeles scout for new talent. .
While these opportunities raise the hopes of many hopefuls who view them as a one-way ticket to attaining their dreams, they also raise the eyebrows of several organisations in the SA arts industry.
Some claim the agencies sell desperate aspiring artists an unrealistic dream that is not worth the money — about R60,000 — they are often expected to cough up.
However, International Arts Talent Showcase (also known as Arts Africa) — one of several such platforms — talent scout Sonwabile Gingqishe said their fees covered two boot camps, flights, transport in New York, accommodation, costumes, sightseeing, participation in the convention and competitions.
Gingqishe said IATS did not guarantee any international signings, but offered a platform for talent and international agencies to meet and explore possibilities of working together.
SA Guild of Actors vice-chair Adrian Gallery said their organisation had received complaints from parents of children