Local acting coach worried over Monday auditions in Huntsville seeking actors, models, and talent

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -- On Monday, November 3rd,  "Actors, Models and Talent for Christ" will conduct free auditions in Huntsville for anyone interested in the entertainment industry.  One local acting coach says it's a sales pitch to get people to pay thousands of dollars to attend a convention.

WHNT NEWS 19 is Taking Action to help you educate and protect yourself.

The auditions will be at the Von Braun Center at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Local acting teacher Bill Billions, who owns and operates Hollywood Huntsville, isn't happy to see them.

"They come into towns across America.  They have what they call auditions and call backs, but they're really sales pitches," said Billions.  "We've seen people who've been hurt by groups like this."

Billions said as soon as he learned AMTC was coming, he contacted WHNT NEWS 19 to take action and get out a warning.

"We want to do what we can to give people a little perspective so they can make a good decision if they want to do it or not," said Billions.

His concerns with AMTC are they operate as a non-profit ministry, there are complaints against them filed with the Better Business Bureau and they charge thousands of dollars to attend their annual conference. Billions says he speaks from years of experience acting in Hollywood.  He says people don't have to spend thousands of dollars to get noticed.

"It's not necessary to pay $4,000 plus expenses just to go to one convention, roll the dice and hope that you get famous," insisted Billions.  "Getting an agent is free. This is an industry of relationships."

AMTC countered with a statement that, in part, points to its website which is, "extremely detailed in describing what we do, how we do it and most importantly why we do what we do," writes Adam She, Executive Director of AMTC.  "Everything from program costs to mission, vision and core values are very clearly stated."

Billions says many people invest the money and get nothing out of it.

"We get the people who get heartbroken and they come to us and ask what to do next," he said.

The auditions at the VBC are free.   Applicants must be at least 4 years old.

Billions further commented about AMTC:

"[AMTC is] in a family of groups that includes John Robert Powers, John Casablancas, and Barbizon -- all of which are controversial and considered by industry insiders to be scams. They come to your town with promises of stardom and charge thousands of dollars to go to conventions hoping to be discovered. This group adds religious lingo to their list of tricks. They come in, take your money, and move on, leaving broken hearts in their wake."

Adam She of AMTC responded with the following statement:

"Anyone that chooses to take the time to attend one of our events, from the initial information sessions and audition to our flagship SHINE conference, will tell you there is a very stark difference between AMTC and the companies you mentioned. Several points below.

Transparency: Start by comparing our website to the websites any of the companies listed above. You will see we are extremely detailed in describing what we do, how we do it, and most importantly, why we do what we do. Everything from program costs to mission, vision and core values are very clearly stated.

Mission: As a non-profit ministry our sole purpose transcends career placement for aspiring performers. Our goal is to give performers spiritual guidance and industry savvy, so they are better equipped to spread the good news of Jesus Christ wherever they are sent - whether that’s on platforms in media and entertainment, church, school or in their own homes. Not everyone that joins AMTC has a desire to be a famous performer; the same way not every athlete that joins a traveling sports team expects to play pro ball. Many join because they want to be a part of something greater than themselves; to learn and begin a journey of growth and self discovery.

Programs: The programs we provide are unparalleled. Though the Bridge Training Program, we offer spiritual preparation through daily devotions, video messages and godly leadership. Industry training is given through an online curriculum and coaching at our AMTC hubs. In addition, we provide a photo shoot, which includes hair, makeup, styling, photo editing, printing and ownership of all images. This leads to our flagship event, the SHINE Conference where performers have the opportunity to learn the business of the industry through over 40 worships and seminars. They also get to meet 50 - 100 of the best agents, mangers, casting directors and music representatives in the nation. (See link to descriptions online and attached previous conference agenda.)

But it doesn’t end there. After SHINE, AMTC advises performers how to build on the skills they learned and relationships they began at SHINE. Our support for AMTC grads continues though biannual grad meetings, VIP workshops and casting services, all included in the initial tuition cost. There is no greater care, value and long-term support offered in talent development.

Depending on discounts that may apply, tuition can range from $3,895 - $4,995. That being said, we also offer scholarships to those with the right character, goals and financial need.

Also, select individuals that do not receive a callback from the local audition are invited to a free 3-hour workshop. This is our way of encouraging those that are sincere in their desires, but may not be ready for the Bridge Training and SHINE conference."

AMTC started in 1982 as a for profit talent development business, then transitioned into a non-profit ministry in 2012. Until we became a 501(c)(3) in 2012, AMTC maintained an A+ rating with the BBB. Currently, we meet 19 of the 20 BBB standards for Charity Accountability. The last remaining standard is to be fulfilled when our next audit is complete. The woman coming to Huntsville is Jenn Gotzon. She is a very well educated and credentialed actress, scout and mentor."