Hollywood Launch Portland - Fraud and Dishonest Talent Scam - Hollywood Launch Portland

Posted on Monday, November 26th, 2012 at 12:44pm CST by 037b0baf

Product: Unethical and Illegal Talent Development Scam

Company: Hollywood Launch Portland

Location: 1535 SE 9th Ave.

URL: http://www.hollywoodlaunch.net/

Category: Entertainment

I had taken my child to an "Audition" for Hollywood Launch Portland with my friends daughter. After first finding out that they were not actually located in Portland but in Vancouver Washington - I knew I was in store for a winner program. After the joke of auditions, they told us essentially that it would cost thousands of dollars to "train" my child to be a triple threat talent.

Michelle Miller was the name of the lady running it. She was rude, arrogant and clearly thought she was all that - although I can't find any reference to anything she ever did or qualifications to run the program, work with kids or anything entertainment related.

I said no - I am not going to pay to play - a term that applies for having to pay to get experience - I myself was scammed in Portland from former defunct agencies that were all closed due to their unethical practices as this franchise should be.

My friend said yes surprisingly but have since regretted the decision. She is afraid to complain while her child is in the program for fear of reprisal. As others found out when dropping out, this Michelle character bad mouths people publically that leave her.

Come to find out she has not had a majority of the classes she promised, the celebrities she said were teaching are not and she sits on every class, butting in when she doesn't like what was said or to interject her 2 cents when the unprepared instructor says something she wants to weigh in on(because they have no curriculum). My friend also heard she pays the teachers in cash to leave no paper trail.

So far, they went to a couple of events and shoots - essentially the kids parents paid them to let their children perform in free activities, have to dress and drive them there and didn't even introduce them, their performance was not relevant to the event or anything else and Michelle has a daughter that is getting a free ride and gets all of the spotlights and first shot at all the opportunities.

They ride on the coat tales and success of their Hollywood California base and claim all of their success as their own. They don't have a license to operation in Washington or Oregon, are not an educational institution in either state, have apparently not performed background checks on any of the instructors and don't provide insurance for their classes. I also heard that they solicit donations and volunteers for their activities - as a for-profit business, that is illegal in both states.

This project needs to be closed, refunds given to the defrauded people that signed up for it and a public apology issued.

A complaint has also been filed in the Oregon and Washington corporation divisions for violations.


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tony w., 2012-11-26, 04:46PM CST

UPS failed to notify me of delivery to my apt with a note.

Damaged $2000.00 Preston Wood Trails Apt.s are not very intelligent hosts/for not telling me either . four days later I found my package. What idiots.

dd4524ad, 2013-01-14, 11:25AM CST

I have worked for Michelle on a few projects.

She has a passion for upholding good moral values in the entertainment industry.

We held a casting call for a independent film, a few of her students nailed the part and are now in the cast. The training quality of her program shows in the auditions.

When we helped out on the zombie music video shoot the kids were well prepared and in the zone.

We at Stonebridge Video work well with this program because we have the same moral standards and believe in the Hollywood Launch process.

Jonathan G., 2013-02-27, 07:49PM CST

To Whom It May Concern,

My name is Jonathan George and I am partner and Creative Director of Hollywood Launch Academy. I am truly sorry that anyone had a "bad" experience with our Academy because we strive for excellence at all our campuses. We develop aspiring talent into triple threat performers and we have some of the biggest kid stars in Film/ TV/ Music come from our Academy. We are excited about branching out to Portland so that we can begin to develop the PDX talent and give them the tools so that they can work toward their dreams.

I have been working professionally in this industry for 20 years and have worked with the biggest names in entertainment. I have come across all types. I have been working with Michelle Miller, president of Hollywood Launch Academy of Portland, for over a year and she has been nothing but professional, passionate, and incredibly knowledgable about the business. My partner Veda Burton, president of LA's Rage Entertainment Complex, and myself have devoted ourselves to train Michelle to build and run a team around these young talent. Michelle has first hand experience on how to manage the careers of others and innately understands what needs to happen to build the appropriate team. I just spent a week in Portland with the Academy and the kids and parents raved about the program and Michelle and her involvement in their careers.

I am extremely excited for the new semester of Hollywood Launch Academy of Portland. I am sure there were growing pains for the new campus, which is to be expected, but I will be coming to Portland to work with the students on a regular basis to insure things are running smoothly.

Please feel free to contact me or anyone at Hollywood Launch Academy with any questions you may have.

Thank you,

Jonathan George



4b20a287, 2013-02-28, 07:39PM CST

I would like to address each of the items that was brought up in this complaint one at a time. First of all the location of the auditions were in fact in Vancouver, which were well organized. They were in a location in Portland and something came up with the studio and they had to find a place fast and they turned to the business that supported them in their audition process, so they moved temporarily to this location. Michelle is actively searching for locations in Portland.

I was told the cost of the program for six months and found it to be very reasonable as the cost is only $25 per hour for training in all areas. That is significantly less than I would be paying to do all of these on our own.

I have known Michelle for many years and know her work ethics. I know that what she stands for. This program teaches the skills that are needed in this industry, but more importantly it teaches life skills, such as work ethics (being early is on time), integrity, knowing your comfort level and what you stand for. These are all skills that can be used in life if my child chooses to not continue this journey. The life skills and the auditions he has done will make it possible for him to be able to handle a real interview for a job outside of the business. My child got a couple of small rolls that he may not have had it not been for this program.

My child did an actors camp in Seattle a few years ago that made big promises and did not deliver on one of them. Michelle has made no promises to me or my child other than quality training, and we are getting it! Michelle makes it very clear that this is not a talent agency it is a training program and we have to find our own representation if we so chose.

I have never personally heard Michelle speak negatively about anyone in the industry and she has never said anything about anyone that has dropped out of the program. I have not seen her sit in on every class, but I can?t say that she never has. This is her business and it is smart business practice to know how classes are going.

By stating that your friend ?heard? something makes it third party information and if you ever played the telephone game when you were younger information gets skewed the further from the source it gets and sometimes no longer is recognizable as when it started.

I have never paid to have my child perform for anyone. There was an event that the kids were invited to perform, where it was required that they stay in character while they were out and about. Therefore not able to be introduced to people. As for Michelle?s daughter, she has an agent and has been working in the Portland market for many years which is why she is getting jobs. My child does not have an agent as of yet, we are still looking for the right fit, but as a result of being in the program he was exposed to a few castings where he did in fact get hired for the job. So to say that her daughter is the only one is wrong. There have been five students that I know of that have all worked as a result of the Hollywood Launch Portland program.

As far as successes this branch of Hollywood Launch claims is their own? It does not claim anything that it has not had direct connection with. I have never seen anything written or spoken claiming that success for something that the Portland location or Michelle did not do. We have been with the program since the beginning and plan to continue as long as we can afford it or until my child no longer wants to do it.

I am not sure where your information is coming from, but just because you hear something does not make it true. As a parent of a child in the program, if there is something that is needed I volunteer to help, as do other parents with kids in the program. I offer to help whenever I can. I feel I need to participate in my child?s education, no matter what it is, baseball, choir, football. That is what parents do! I know dance moms that volunteer for shows making costumes how is that any different?

My child has grown so much, not only as an artist, but as a person. My child is more outgoing and able to learn things quickly. Which anyone in the business knows that is a great thing to do, because scenes may change on the fly and these kids are equipped with the knowledge to adapt to the circumstances. This program is great for any child that wants to be in the business.

I was and am not a victim of fraud in any way. This program delivered what was promised to me. My child who did not know how to dance before entering the program now loves dance, also did not really act, but enjoys it. We primarily came to this program so that my child could become a better singer. Hollywood Launch Portland Academy did that for my child.

I highly recommend Hollywood Launch Portland to EVERYONE!! It is an amazing program and one is doing so much good for these kids!!

Business Reply  Michelle M., 2013-06-03, 06:09PM CDT

To Whom It May Concern,

My name is Michelle Miller and I am the owner of Hollywood Launch Academy of Portland. I am truly sorry that anyone had a less than great experience with our Academy. Like Jonathan said above, we strive for excellence. This was our first semester here in Portland and I would love to speak to the parent and student about their experience with our program. We definitely want to grow and be the best training academy. All of my contact info can be found at portland.hollywoodlaunch.net.

Hollywood Launch Academy trains aspiring talent into competitive triple threat performers. The Academy's mission is to train the best and brightest students to become highly skilled, confident, well-rounded, packaged and fully functioning artists. We concentrate on many different aspects - vocal technique & styling, performance, dance, acting, personal style & image, media training, song writing, artist branding, recording, music business, social media, auditions and showcases to name a few. The LA Campus has had some of the biggest young stars to be developed there and the curriculum is the exact same for all campuses. It is a proven curriculum, which makes these kids super stars in life regardless if they go into entertainment or not.

Hollywood Launch Academy of Portland services the Portland Metro area, which includes Vancouver. Yes, we held our auditions at a beautiful dance studio in Vancouver. Upon opening we were located in Portland but due to a scheduling conflict with the facility, we decided to hold the remainder of our classes at the same dance studio in Vancouver. It was the best space for our training needs. Our new location is in Portland, however, we service Portland and feel our training is the same regardless the city we house our Academy.

On a personal note, I love the entertainment business and am passionate about it. My entire life has been centered around dancing, singing, acting, performing and public figures. I studied voice, worked as an actress and toured for many years as a dancer. As an adult, I am a professional manager of people working with elected officials, candidates for state office and congressional office on image, style, social media, marketing, interviews, public speaking and public relations, just to name a few. I am now a parent of a working child in the entertainment business and I saw the need for an academy of this depth here in the NW, which led me to open one here in the Portland Metro area. Although the entertainment business is always changing, I have firsthand experience on how to manage the careers of others and understand what needs to happen to build the appropriate team around them. I have also had extensive training from our LA Campus to insure we are on top of the latest skill sets for young talent.

We also give FREE performance opportunities to our students so that they gain experience and grow as entertainers. This past semester we were invited to open an entertainment industry event because it was an event all about "Oregon?s Talent". This was a great experience for all of our performers. The audience loved them and the parents were just as thrilled. We also made a music video as a part of our instruction, which incorporated skills in acting, dancing, performing and working with a director. Not only did it create a reel for the kids, we then taught them how to utilize social media to get hits on the video. This video has over 4000 views; all the students involved in the video loved it!

As a new campus, we have had growing pains, which is to be expected but we are working closely with our head campus in LA to insure things are running smoothly and according to policy. Jonathan George, which is the top developer of young talent will be here on a regular basis to over see the growth of our students. We have our business license, insurance and we run our business according to the law.

I am extremely excited for the new semester of Hollywood Launch Academy of Portland. We have an amazing student body and am excited to watch them grow!

Please feel free to contact me or anyone at Hollywood Launch Academy with any questions you may have.

Thank You,

Michelle Miller


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