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Empire Talent / Unable to give refunds

Scottsdale, AZ, United States Review updated:
1.65
Contact information:
Phone: 480-778-1919
My wife paid 400 dollars for photo shoots for my 3 kids, Empire Taelnt said they didn't take any money, but they asked for it, and they want a total of 1200 to get my kids a photo career. They say there's going to be a casting director coming in from L.A. And they ask for you to bring a picture, but they also take their own pictures and charge you for them, even if you brought yours in. There hasn't been any casting directors, every time you attempt to find Marisa ( the owner) she's not there or at a meeting, and she'll call back (well, not really). I'm getting the police involved, it's only 400 dollars, but now a days, that amount can be very important.
Thanks.
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Ph
  22nd of Jan, 2009
Agree Disagree -3 Votes
I was also ripped off by Marisa Sclafani at Empire Talent who is now located in Scottsdale, AZ (480-778-1919 or 480-778-1924). Marisa makes her money by charging for photo shoots not booking work with casting directers. I was told on the phone that I was speaking to a Marisa, she told me that there was Absolutely NO COST and to bring in my child in the following day. Once there I was told that I would have to pay $800.00 for photos that had to be taken of my child. Marisa Sclafani needs to be put out of business and refund all the people she scamed. Lets take action and now before others are taken advantage of from Marisa Sclafani at Empire Talent.
Sc
  16th of Feb, 2009
Agree Disagree -3 Votes
Marisa Sclafani is a rip off artist. I wish all the warnings were online when I dealt with her in the summer. But all the scenerios are all the same. She said the the same stories to me and took my $800. There was no jobs and crappy pictures. Stay away from this so called agent. She is not one at all.
I hope the person that started the complaint did contact the police. She needs to be in jail.
Cr
  17th of Feb, 2009
Agree Disagree +7 Votes
My wife and I met Marisa Sclafani today and had a wonderful experience. She is a REAL and legitimate Talent Agent who knows how to deal PROFESSIONALLY. It seems that people are complaining because the have a significant misunderstanding of this business to begin with. That is their fault. First of all, getting professional pictures is absolutely standard. It is like a Carpenter investing in a truck load of tools - he/she needs to buy them in order to do his/her job. That is the investment you make if you feel you or your child has what it takes to be in this business. Secondly, there is no guarantee that someone will be cast and get work. Talent Agents are not wizards. If people would first understand that the Talent Agents and the Talent work FOR each other, they will be much less disappointed and actually improve their opportunities for work. I could go on and on, but it is so silly for people to make these ridiculous remarks and accusations that are chiefly born from their own ignorance.
Br
  18th of Feb, 2009
Agree Disagree -4 Votes
PLEASE DO NOT GIVE THIS WOMAN MONEY!!! I met with her last month...I wrote her a check for $800.00 postdated as I did not have the money for the photos at the time. I called and wrote an e-mail telling her not to cash the check as we would not be able to get that amount of money together...she agreed but cashed the check 2 weeks later...I have incurred $500.00 in overdraft fees and am also out the $800.00 I did not even have any photos taken!!!
Ha
  18th of Feb, 2009
Best Best Advice Agree Disagree +7 Votes
I personally know Marisa and I am confident she would refund any monies for a shoot that was not done. She is NOT a criminal but a very honest, hard working agent, who unfortunately, is dealing with obnoxious STAGE MOTHERS & FATHERS who have no idea how the industry works.
You guys should consider yourselves lucky there is an agent here in AZ willing to even look at your little brats!!
Me
  20th of Feb, 2009
Agree Disagree +6 Votes
I have had 3 different Arizona agents in the past 4 years, Marisa being my current. Not only is Marisa the kindest, most involved agent I have worked with- but also the one who has made me the most money. I thank God there is at least one good agent in AZ! The ONLY good agent I have worked with, and trust me- I've shopped around.
Ha
  27th of Feb, 2009
Agree Disagree +4 Votes
Marisa is currently representing me as a filmmaker and we were not asked for a dime! As a filmmake when casting a film we require headshots before we cast. Learn the industry before you complain!! Headshots are mandatory if you want to even be seen by directors and casting agents. Even then there are no guarentees that we will even cast you. Marisa is a fantastic agent who is working tirelessly for her clients in a fickle business.
Pr
  24th of Apr, 2009
Agree Disagree -1 Votes
I agree totally that this woman is a 100% fraud...the ONLY thing that saved my son from losing his hard earned $800 is the shear luck that the bank teller made out the cashiers check is HIS name NOT hers and we didn't realize it until Marisa called him the next day indicating that this had happened..By then I was suspicious anyways since you can't find a listing for her at all on ANY web search engine..no birth certificate or anything on this woman which means that she is not using her real name..Why not if your legitimate??..when she called him that night and told him what had happened and asked if we had a paypal account, OR if he could meet him somewhere late that night and give him $800 cash and she would give him back the cashiers check, I knew she was a fraud and even though my son is 20, I couldn't allow him to be scammed just to learn a lesson...next morning we went back to the bank and stopped payment on the cashiers check immediately...he was credited $800 right then and there...The most important lesson my son did learn is that scam artists come in ALL different shapes, sizes, ages and gender...BEST lesson in the world!!!...Run do NOT walk away from this woman!!!
Az
  1st of Jul, 2009
Agree Disagree +4 Votes
Marisa has done right by me. I needed professional photographs, as does EVERYONE, and chose to use her guy. The other option was to find my own photographer and, after doing research, found her person to be in the ballpark with others.

People, you have to understand, an agent cannot get you auditions without professional headshots. And, even with professional photos, you’re still competing with tons of other people for a single job. This business isn’t easy, and if rejection is a problem, this probably isn’t the right career path for you.

BTW read CRMonroe's comments (6 posts above mine) because he is spot on about the business and agents.
Ge
  6th of Oct, 2009
Agree Disagree +4 Votes
I signed with Marisa at Empire Talent Agency. She did not ask me for any money. She did say that I would need professional photos which is an industry standard no matter where you go to be represented, but did not say I had to use any photographers that she knew. Only that if I needed one she would refer one to me. Also, she does not ask for any fees or monies whatsoever! What are people talking about? I've read that she cashed a check that someone wrote her?? That it was postdated?? A check is legal tender! If you write one it is not yours anymore to tell someone what to do with it.. You can not postdate one legally! How does your checking account mistakes make Marisa liable?? My god! Is everyone in AZ on something? These people are indiots. Then someone else said they couldn't find her on the internet so she must not be using her real name?? Oh my god! Wow, you can't find my grandmother on the internet either so I must be making her up! And by the way, it's a licensed agency..public knowlege.. Look that up dummy! It's like buying a house with a realtor and then blaming it on them 'cuz you don't really like it anymore. Do it yourself then. Let me see you go out and become a star without an agent's representation! Idiots! Please stop wasting people's time with bull!
Fo
  17th of Oct, 2009
Agree Disagree +3 Votes
I too was skeptical when I read reviews pertaining to Empire Talent and its business practices- HOWEVER, I FIND IT NECESSARY TO TAKE THE TIME TO WRITE AND DEFEND THIS AGENCY. I brought my 15 year old daughter to Empire Talent and met with the owner. I found her to be knowledgeable, competent and straight forward. We were armed with our own photograph's in hand and although "Marisa" was not 100% pleased with the quality, told me that she would utilize what I had to avoid any out of pocket expenses. She immediately sent my daughter Alex out on several auditions and the consensus by the various perspective opportunities was that although my daughter had "the look" her portfolio did her no justice. Having heard that from multiple job potentials, I contacted Marisa and she referred me to a photographer that she felt would work well with my daughter. I am delighted to say that Alex is on her 6th paid job in 8 weeks and Empire Talents representation, job leads and ability to negotiate what seems to be top $$ in and around this valley has left myself and my daughter speechless. KUDOS TO EMPIRE TALENT, as we are forever grateful!!!
De
  17th of Oct, 2009
Agree Disagree +3 Votes
Im so happy I signed up with Marisa Sclafani. I had shopped around to all the agencies here in the Valley and found Marisa at Empire to be professional, honest and the most enlightening agent out here. She is extremely intelligent, sweet, yet very saavy.
The photographer she recommended did a fabulous job on my daughter;s portfolio and Marisa was able to book her work almost immediately from receiving the photos. She never made any promises she couldn't keep, but worked hard to see that my daughter was marketed properly.
It's not her fault if you child doesn't book any work. It's the nature of the industry to be highly competitive and without guarantee. I should know, I've worked in this business as an actress for many years in LA and I'd put Marisa Sclafani up there with the greatest of agents in California or anywhere else in the country.

Happy to be her client!
Sa
  5th of Mar, 2010
Agree Disagree +2 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.
Az
  5th of Jul, 2010
Agree Disagree +1 Votes
Empire Talent and Models comes highly recommended from the professionals in Los Angeles. I worked as a producer and casting coordinator in California for many years. Marisa and Empire always came with positive recommendations and a strong proven track record in the competitve world of production and entertainment.
She always submits the best talent for the job, even if they're not always chosen, casting knows they can count on Empire to have an outstanding selection of talent who are right for the job!
I would highly recommend Empire Talent if you're serious about working in this industry, not only in Arizona but Los Angeles, as well.
Li
  30th of Jul, 2010
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
Empire Talent is a licensed talent agency! Meaning that she is legit and the state knows this too. Call the state and ask for information about her. They will tell you the truth about her and how she is an amazing and certified talent agent. She has been in the business for 30 plus years now and knows what she is doing. She is not a scam artist, She only gets payed if she books something. That is it! Come in and see for yourselves. Just take a meeting with her and find out if she is right for you that is all! You dont even have to sign with her, just come in for a meeting. It cant hurt. Dont judge her by all these nasty untrue comments. Come in and see for yourself!
Jo
  24th of Jan, 2018
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
@lilpwbigb "Empire Talent is a licensed talent agency!"

She has a business license. That's the license in "licensed talent agency."
Aq
  19th of Jan, 2011
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
EVERYONE THAT HAS A COMPLAINT NEEDS TO FILE A COMPLAINT WITH THE ARIZONA ATTORNEY GENERALS OFFICE
An
  31st of Mar, 2011
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
Here's the odd thing about everyone defending Sclafani on this page -- they all have exactly the same writing "voice." Other questions come up, particularly in light of some of the defenses of Sclafani here.

lilpwbigb says: "Marisa and Empire always came with positive recommendations and a strong proven track record in the competitve world of production and entertainment." Really? Recommendations from whom? Now's the time for some name dropping. As it is, neither Sclafani nor anyone defending her here will say WHO recommends her or with WHAT organization she's "licensed" to be a talent/literary agent.

Sadly, I have to agree with the complaints here. Though she has yet to hit me up for money, further research on my part shows that I should not have ignored my instincts. At best, this woman has nothing to offer a creative professional.

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