Urban Talent Management / talent management
I was hesitant on hiring Urban Talent Management. They like to call themselves Urban Talent Agency but cannot legally put it on their marketing materials because their business practices matches more of a vanity publishing house (pay to be represented). Needless to say, I was desperate so I decided to give them a shot. I had a shoot that needed to be shot within 2 weeks and they at least could handle getting the auditions (by sending out an email to their talent).
I left the auditions feeling good about two talents, unfortunately what held me off was the Boise Talent "Director" Jen Levy was trying to tack on additional costs and it was briefly mentioned about how some of the communication would take place. I was like oh, I guess we won't be able to work with you, she said oh it's probably ok to do what we were expecting then and she'll get a hold of me if anything changed.
I contacted the talent directly. I didn't know that wasn't allowed, my mistake, thought it was "probably ok" from her words. I found out that within 10 minutes of leaving Urban Talent Management's office, she already told the two talents they got the part... I was like, oh, ok, unprofessional but I get it and decided to use them. Since this is just an indie short film project and 15% cut of $250 is $37.50 because it was being billed as a full day shoot, I thought maybe they just wanted to go thru the motions quickly. I get it, it's only $37.50 right?
Wrong... Turns out AFTER 13 days from the audition, Jen Levy contacts me later asking if I was going to confirm the talent... I was confused... First, I mentioned that this shoot will be within a week, 2 weeks at the latest and she now was asking for confirmation? I got my two kids with one of the Talent's help (she runs her own talent management system too) and I said I can't pay for the kids because there are no speaking parts and it's quite easy to find kids wanting to do it. She had no problem with that.
After getting a threatening email from Urban Talent 14 days later and them threatening the talent that I hired, I told them I considered the commission when paying the talent (over paid them, $300 total for both). I decided to send the rest of the initial agreed cost for the two talents thru mail.
Later, Urban tried charging me for using one of the kids because supposedly one of them was in Urban as well? I know they can't force people to work only on "Urban's Projects" because my main talent had her own projects and talent management for kids. I never used their offices or services to hire my 2 kids for the shoot. They were also going to try to charge for just communicating with the client and meeting with the client before the shoot. I make an effort to make the talent feel comfortable and relaxed on set because in turn, it helps us get great performances. I took notes of what everyone liked (high end snacks), gave the kids legos for them to keep, and yes, even rented an A Class RV for the talent to stay in between takes and setups.
I am very frustrated on how Urban Talent Management treats their talent. I have recently read countless reviews about Urban not paying their talent for the shoot (glad I paid half directly to the talents), the communication errors everyone has to deal with and the threatening manner they portray on others.
Stay far away from Urban Talent Management. STAY far away from any Talent "Agency" (legally labelled management) companies that force you to pay before you can play. An agency would invest in it's talent, not charge it's talent for them to represent you. A real Agency will make money off of your performance, not off of you paying for headshots (super cheap, 100$ max, not $750 on up), lessons, etc.
FYI: Fun fact, Urban has only been registered in Boise ID since the beginning of 2018. Look up Urban Model and Film Management.