For people interested in modeling and acting there are often obstacles that seem too large to navigate. How do successful models and actors safely begin their journey into the industry? How do they make the necessary connections? Once hired, how do they continue to find work?
Kelli and Erica Turner are the mother and daughter team of Turner Talent, whose “Casting, Coaching, and Connections” program and VIP membership has a unique niche in a busy, somewhat hard-to-navigate industry. (Erica and Kelli left)
The talent industry can be glamorous, and it is fun getting paid to stand alongside celebrities or sit in the makeup chair, but Kelli stresses that it is a real, working industry, which she has been a part of for over forty-four years.
“You just never know what opportunity arises,” Kelli says. “While I was a student at USF—dating myself back to the ‘80s here—I got to be a stand-in for Tuesday Weld in the DeNiro film Once Upon a Time in America and had been booked as a stunt double for Heather Locklear on Miami Vice.” Kelli sat on set for four days for Navy Seals with Charlie Sheen, Michael Bien, Rick Rossovich and Joann Whalley. “It was for the scene where they lit the bar on fire!” she says. (Kelli with children modeling right)
More recently, Kelli has enjoyed booking talent for The Romanoffs series with director Matthew Weiner (*Mad Men) that paid extras $1000 and a 7-day cruise to work on the ship.
As a child, Erica had her own fun with work in fashion catalogs, Adventure Island, Ron Jon billboards, and shooting in Jamaica for Starfish Superclub with her family.
The Turners hear frequent misconceptions:
I need photos or experience before I try this out.
Clarification “Talk to us first since we can help you with what type of shots, what to wear, and if you need an industry photographer recommendation.” People may be surprised that we quite often place BRAND NEW talent on set for a commercial or print gig! While experience of course always helps, a great attitude and being easy to work with are the first things we look for since we know that will ensure a positive experience on set.
Do I have the look? I’m too old, too large, not tall enough.
“Just look at advertising these days. It’s simply not true. However, we are happy to give you an idea of where you’ll fit in the market!” We encourage you to go for it and we’ll help ease all uncertainty with our coaching.
I must live near a large city to work in the industry.
Clarification: “Not true at all. Castings have changed so you are submitting to most by photos or cellphone video.”
Turner Talent is based in an exciting industry, but one that unfortunately, is sometimes the target for scams. Kelli has even gone undercover in one of the big showcases known for coming through town with heavy advertising and unrealistic promises. She found it to be full of fanfare, with celebrity speakers and assurances of stardom. She witnessed the disappointments—the high, unexpected fees and clients left with no support. “It made us angry that they were giving our industry a poor name and taking advantage of innocent people, so we initiated a special committee under Film Florida to Educate Against Glam Scams. We point out what to look for when you want to get involved but don’t know where to start, “ she says. (Email [email protected] for access to this committee and materials they can provide.) (Erica LEFT)
Brandy DeMarzo of Brandy DeMarzo Photography says, “I enjoy working with Turner Talent because I see that they care about the path their clients (“VIPs”) take and they work on a safe talent development plan with them. We love providing photographs for their talent and watching them pursue their dreams!”
Producers, photographers, and talent agents have grown to respect the work Kelli and Erica do. Robin Faber, Agent with CMG Talent Agency, loves working with Turner Talent. “Kelli & Erica guide new faces so I can focus on booking talent,” Faber says. “I don’t have to worry about new faces because they oversee them to make sure they represent professionally.”
For those in film making, and producing, take note that Turner Talent offers castings services with no fees! Carol Matlock of Matlock Productions of Clearwater says “Production should have TT on speed dial! TT can work with all types of budgets and is a great source to find any kind of talent, just like they say “babies to 80’s! You know when a Turner Talent’s client shows up because they are prepared and stand out as a professional. It’s a joy to work with Kelli & Erica!”
Turner Talent’s offers a “Screening/Consult”, a training and set-up, along with a VIP CCC Membership, and all are intentionally affordable. The best part, though, is their personalized guidance is part of the membership fee.
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