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Empire Talent and Modeling Agency / Lies about Cost

1 10309 N Scottsdale Rd #201Scottsdale, AZ, United States Review updated:
Contact information:
Phone: 480-778-1919

When I called to get information about this agency for my child, I asked "Maricia" Do you charge anything?" At which point she told me NO, that they only make their money when the child gets work at which point they take 20%. When I arrived and 1 1/2 hours later and half a tank full of gas used, she told me it would be $800.00 to get started. That only their photographer could take pictures and it would be the $800.00. Then she said her name was Kelly, I guess she forgot that she gave me another name when I spoke to her on the phone. She even stated " I was the one that spoke to you". I don't believe that a reputable agency would lie about fees, This tells me that this agency makes their monies by this method. Also, I have been to legitimate agencies elsewhere and they always spend time with the child to make sure that the child is what casting agents are looking for. She didn't spend one second with my child or even speak to her other than to say "hi cutie". My child sat on my lap the entire time without any speaking. So this tells me that they accept anyone with a checkbook. Bottom line, a lot of kids are not cut out for this work and would never get any.

Ja

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Ma
  15th of Nov, 2008
Agree Disagree -2 Votes

In the spirit of fairness I want to respond to Jackie's complaint about Empire Talent and Model. My experience with Empire, Marisa and Kelly (Marisa's assistant) has been great. They DO NOT charge a fee for representation and only recommend certain photographers because the quality standard with those photographers is proven to be industry standard.
I understand Jackie's issue about paying $800 for professional photos, but it seems like she didn't understand that this is an optional service. Also, Marisa is one of only 6 licensed agents in Arizona, she has only one assistant, and they are extremely busy. I'm sure it was just an oversight that Marisa made the call to set the appointment while Kelly actually took the appointment.
Both Marisa and Kelly have always treated me and my child with integrity and honesty. They are consistently booking work and trying extremely hard to grow their business. There are other options for getting headshots for your child or yourself that are much less expensive, just make sure they are industry-standard, otherwise it will be a waste of your time and money.
Finally, unless it is an interview for a specific job and not for general representation, an agent does not evaluate a child or potential client based on what one casting agent is looking for. Once that agent takes you on as a client, they will submit your headshots to a large number of casting agents who will no doubt be looking for different people/looks at different times. That is precisely why industry-standard headshots are so important in this industry.

St
  16th of Nov, 2008
Agree Disagree -2 Votes

I would also like to comment on this misunderstanding. First of all, Marisa is the owner of Empire Talent and Models. Kelly is Marisa's assistant. Secondly, if/when you sign with Empire, you are not obligated to use a photographer recommended by them. It is in fact $800 to do so, but not mandatory. If you use your own photographer that is the client's right, but you better make sure they are industry standard photos that a casting director would be pleased with. We chose to use the photographer recommended by Empire and were very pleased with the results. If you're going to get into this business, you might as well do it right. Upon coming on board with Empire, my daughter immediately got a job after her first audition that Marisa sent her to. I was one of those skeptical moms at first, but trust me, Marisa is running an honest and legitimate business, unlike a lot of people out there. Also, we have never paid a fee for anything. The only out-of-pocket money we have spent are for the photos we had taken. Empire takes a 20% cut for monies earned from booked work, that's it!

Ch
  9th of Dec, 2008
Agree Disagree +1 Votes

I’ve been in the agenting business for 30 years. No reputable agency should be pushing their own photographers on clients or potential clients (smells of kick back). Or perhaps that’s a Phoenix "small town" kind of thing.

Ia
  19th of Dec, 2008
Agree Disagree +1 Votes

I too visitied Marisa and Kelly...first of all a legit agency would not push their own photogs. And I do think that is how they make money. And being licensed doesn't mean squat when all you have is a business license (which is what i think is going on here). I checked SAG and AFTRA's sites and this company is not listed. If you want to know who the real agencies are in phoenix (there are only a handful) check sag and aftra to see who actually has a membership in this two horse town. Empire Talent and Noodles doesn't have one so I never NEVER called them back. A pure waste of time.

Sc
  20th of Jan, 2009
Agree Disagree +2 Votes

I visited Marisa and she asked for $800 from me for my child. She says she will not submit photos that do not look professional and that is why you need to use hers. So it is made to sound as if she does not like the head shots you have, you need to spend $800 on one of her photographers. But you make the check to her, she puts it into her photographer account in which she pays them. She wasn't sure who was available yet. She does it this way because the photographers have made a special deal with her on the cost. So she says we are actually saving money by going through her.
This is all a con.
I think all the positive comments are from Marisa or one of her family members. All the positive things that are said read like they are written by the same person.
You are right regarding all her affiliations. She has none on them. She even admitted to me that she did not have the affiliations, that it limited her to only the union jobs if she did.
Please stay away from this con artist.

Ph
  22nd of Jan, 2009
Agree Disagree +1 Votes

Marisa Sclafani at Empire Talent is a con artist and does push you to use her photographers only, this is how she makes her money. Marisa needs to be stopped now before anyone else is taken advantage of from her deceitful web of lies. Marisa doesn't know anything about booking work with directors, she has no contacts and is a bad seed. This kind of agency at Empire Talent gives a bad reputation to the other reputable agencies out there. I would recommend filing a complaint to the BBB and file a law suite with Empire Talent Modeling Agency (what a joke)... I know there are a lot of people upset with Marisa Sclafani's business ethics and her scamming ways. These individuals are all filing a report against her and getting the police involved.

Ch
  30th of Jan, 2009
Agree Disagree +2 Votes

I completly agree that she is a cam artist. although what she is doing is legal because she actually provides photos for the $800 she never returns phone calls after the shots are taken. We used her so called photographer, who did not have a studio, used a park, which is fine, but showed up with a D40 nikon digital SLR which is far from a professionals camera. We got some pictures out of the deal but they were not great, like marisa stated. Once the pictures were all done she did not return either my wifes or my calls or emails. Basically, she made some money off using a crappy photographer and never even tried to find us a job. She told us there was a huggies commercial and we must pushe before the deadline. We were very disappointed with her not even trying to make it work after she point blank told us she thought our daughter was beautiful and she could get her work. She also says here son is some fancy pants, which he shows up no where in the places she says he is. It is too bad she has to lie to people. Anyway, please do NOT use Empire unless you want to loose your money. I feel bad saying that but she put it on herself.

Em
  4th of Feb, 2009
Agree Disagree +2 Votes

Empire Talent and Models is absolutely a scam and Marisa is a sleaze ball who should be run out of town on a rail. I agree with whoever said that all the positive comments about her all sound like they were written by the same person. And this is all over the web, not on this site. I guess the price for her scam has gone up because when she scammed me 2 years ago it was only $600. Still, though, that's a lot of money to flush down the toilet. It's my fault though for being young and naive enough to get scammed, and I admit that, but I'm writing this to hopefully prevent some other young and naive person from getting the butt-humping I got from Marisa. DON'T FALL FOR IT. SHE IS VERY CONNIVING IN PERSON AND WILL MAKE EVERYTHING SOUND VERY APPEALING. FLIP HER OFF AND LEAVE!

As
  25th of Feb, 2009
Agree Disagree +2 Votes

Marisa is a thief and liar! I was with her for over 8 months and didnt get even one job! not booked even once! I paid for her so called pro photos which in the end looked like total BS and very unprofessional. I repeatedly called and e-mailed her regarding bookings and every time she would send little letters to reassure me she was submitting me. For petes sake I went on Craigs list and got a job my self within a week, I got paid 400 for it and all I did was submit a self taken photo. Do not trust this agent, she is a fraud and is always looking for new people but never gets jobs for her existing ones or the new ones. Her office is also very unprofessional, looks like a dump. Just because shes licensed doesn't mean anything, she does not have to find you any jobs, it just means she is recognized as a agency by Arizona, nothing more. SCAM!

Ma
  30th of Mar, 2009
Agree Disagree +2 Votes

I went in to talk to marissa a couple months ago and i was iffy about what she said. She said that the "directors" needed professional pictures, so i end up doing it. The pictures weren't worth $800, and they only give you 5 pics back on a zip doc. If you want additional pics its 15 buck per photo. I haven't heard from mariassa since. Basically I was ripped off!!! I had bad thoughts about it from stuff that i read and then talked to her and she seemed honest & explained herself well, HOWEVER...I fell in, I would hope that you would run the other way. And she will say that she worked with this guy in central phoenix & she didn't want to treat anyone badly and she quit and he told he ruined her name and put comments on the internet. If you ask me, she's making her own business look bad cause shes not a professional in any means. I'm dead broke and put my family thru issues becasue i thought i would make money on the side. LIES. Oh and so much time past by without any call and i seen her still posting stuff on craigslist. She needs to focus on the agents that she already signed.

St
  19th of Apr, 2009
Agree Disagree +1 Votes

I too went to see Marisa with my son that has always wanted to model and act, We were told how goodlooking he was and that he could make $1000 an hour and she would get 20%. All we had to do is pay the 800 for pictures and that he could be working next week. We had to hurry because the photographer was shooting a huggies commerical and would be unavailable for who knows when because she shoots all over.
So we hurried and borrowed the money from everyone we knew {Marisaa knew this) We setup the appointment for the pictures and were stunned to find out they were being taken in a nasty park. When I asked for hardcopy of phoeos they were emailed to me. I can't really use them as they are pixie I was told by several people that she should have given me a disc at very least.

Well Marisa after hounding her to death finally sent my son on a audition. She told me to send my daughter too. (which I never took picture or paid the 800 for) She got the job my son did not. Marisa does not return phone calls or emails and has yet to find any work for my son.

I kick my own ______ every time I think about it.

It
  19th of Jun, 2009
Agree Disagree -2 Votes

Let me state that I am not a client of Empire, however I have been to the office to meet Kelly and Marissa. You are not required to use the agency photographers-that is your choice. If you want to hear that your child is the best thing ever-you are in the wrong place. There are thousands of children who are great looking and talented
but they are not working-Why... because on any given day the producers are looking for that certain child. It may not be yours, it may not be mine. If you are looking to be that 1 in a million- please feel free to go to NY or LA where you will be 1 in 5 million and every model, actor and the like are all loooking for work in every nook and crany. If you think being licensed is nothing- visit some of the other agencies and check out their credentials.
I am sure you will find things about every photographer and agency in Phoenix with an unsatifactory rating. You can't please every single client in ANY Industry no matter how hard you try. I am not in this business, however I have had many clients that no matter how much effort and hard work you put into a project- it just has a bad aura around it. Shame on those who don't do their homework-you will find holes in every agency and every business if you look hard enough.
Marissa did not hold you hostage to sign on so just move on...

Iris T.
Mesa AZ

Em
  19th of Jun, 2009
Agree Disagree -2 Votes

You can tell who is completely new and ignorant to this business by their complaints. First of all Empire never asked me for a fee to be represted. Secondly I had great industry STANDARD pictures so they could submit those to casting. Never once in the three meeting's that I had with both Kelly and Marisa did they mention you HAVE to buy pictures. You people are in a industry that requires marketing of yourself or your children. The casting agents are not going to use your snapshots, when there are us proffesional actors and models that actually care what we are projecting. You people need to do some research or go back to your hick towns and stay unnoticed, leave the buisness to the people that really choose this seriously!!

Ly
  2nd of Mar, 2010
Agree Disagree -1 Votes

OKay... I am tired of all the comments about Marisa being a saint. She isn't she is a scam. Her photographer looked like white trash and had some crappy camera and the pics were crap. Then on top of paying $800 the photographer wanted more money for the pics that were crap. Second, she doesn't say you need her photographer, but she does push you, so don't give me the bs that she doesn't. I would say whatever sounded good for Marisa if I was getting a chunk of the money she was making. Second, what she is doing is not legal. Other agencies have actually been prosecuted for what she is doing. SMALL CLAIMS COURT PEOPLE!!! ALMOST EVERYONE WHO IS A VICTIM OF MODELING AGENCIES WIN!!! REPORT TO BBB, CALL ALL THE NEW STATIONS AND REPORTS WHO WILL LISTEN, AND CALL THE COPS!!!

Ly
  2nd of Mar, 2010
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

Oh yeah, not to mention that YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO GET A PORTFOLIO FOR CHILDREN UNDER 4. Marisa being in the business for such a long time should have known that. But know she talks about it being the best investment she paid for HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. Well I am taking her to court and suing her and making sure she will never scam another person. I am taking it all the way to the top. I am calling the cops and everything. PEOPLE WE NEED TO UNITE TO GET MARISA IN JAIL!!!

Sa
  5th of Mar, 2010
Agree Disagree -1 Votes

I must comment that I am currently using Empire Talent as an agency for my son. First of all she did not insist on using a specific photographer nor has she requested any money from me. She doesn’t get paid unless my son gets a job and gets paid. She has booked jobs for him so I am unsure why there are complaints being made. Any agency will advise you need photos done. Your choice where to have them done is a benefit of using Empire because not all agencies let you choose your own photographer. Also there are many agencies out there that make you pay them to look for jobs where as I have not had to pay any money other then commission when my son gets jobs.

So
  12th of Apr, 2010
Agree Disagree +1 Votes

its funny how every real complaint here is immediately followed by a sorry attempt at trying to make this business sound like a good one. its obvious this person is a con artist and even comes on here trying to clean up her rep every day. you can believe she is doing it so no one is able to use it in court against her. for every bad post there is a fake satisfied customer who for some reason has the same type of wordplay and vocabulary as all the other people defending her. if someone takes her to court you really need to track the i.p. addresses in this blog because i am sure they are somehow connected to these two women...

Th
  26th of Apr, 2010
Agree Disagree -1 Votes

This complant is fake I just recently signed with empire and met marissa she is an extremly nice lady and no you do not have to pay anything. They recomend their photographers because in the business of acting and modeling your picture is your ticket without a good picture you don't get jobs that's how this industry works. You also do not have to use their photographers you are allowed to use whoever you want. I did use their photographer and yes you get 5 pictures that are retouched and blown up but you get to keep the rest of the pics (which was over 300 for me) you just don't get them professionally retouched. Also she does have you do stuff when you come in for an interview. She asked me to read a few comercials. And I just started and already there's a Target add that they want me to audition for. Just because your kid isn't getting jobs doesn't mean the agency is fake there's just not a huge market for very small kids.

Th
  26th of Apr, 2010
Agree Disagree -1 Votes

Man you guys just don't get it without a portfolio you can not get work and like someone else said why in the world would a casting director pick someone with a simple snapshot that makes them look ok? Casting directors look through thousands of pictures and if you do not have something special about your picture it imediatly goes into the trash. This is not a scam just because you can't seem to find work doesn't mean that the agency is to blame. There are millions of people trying to get into this buisness and odds are you wont make it. Don't take it out on the agency just take your time you don't become a rockstar over night and if you think you do then boy you don't know crap about how this industry works.

Pu
  9th of May, 2010
Agree Disagree +1 Votes

I too visited Marisa who told me Tuscon Model Group is a scam and she is one of 6 licensed people in AZ. She is not listed on SAG or AFTA as she stated. She also wanted me to pay $400 on the spot to hold my space since the photographer was going out of town and the remainder when the pictures were taken. She also told me she is a paralegal and her husband is a lawyer and they could help me get back my down payment from Tuscon. She offered to call them and I told her since their price was only $640 I would go ahead and take the pictures with them. She called me and emailed me later telling me she got a job she could send my daughter on that pays $1000 and that I really needed to come take the pictures. I told her we will use the money already paid and we never heard from her again. We were also offered a one year contract and was told we could not work for anyone else. I too agree that the positive comments were written by her and her cronies and they need to be stopped and i also believe she is a con artist.

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