Pulse Management
Complaints / Queries


To Whom It May Concern:

I have been in contact with a modeling management business called Pulse Management located in Carlsbad, California.

I feel comfortable with it, yet at the same time a little hesitant due to the fact the manager asked me to pay $1,700 for my portfolio (includes, photographer, makeup artist/stylist, comp card, film, processing, etc.) I've heard this is very expensive.

What advice could you offer? Do you have any information on Pulse Management? It used to be the Eastman Agency in Utah.

K.B.


K.,

Nothing showed up for the Eastman Agency in Utah through a BBB search, but there is a listing for Pulse Management in Carlsbad, California.

Pulse Management has a satisfactory rating with the BBB, and it is in fact a BBB member (in good standing); although they have only been a member for less than a year (since July 2001).

The BBB has a Modeling and Talent Agency classification (e.g., Ford Model Management), but the Pulse Management classification at the BBB is not Modeling and Talent Agency, it is "Talent Consultants."

The BBB also provided the website address, so I visited their website. In their website's online forum they said: "We are looking for model scouts." The Pulse Management website itself says "We are a scouting agency."

I've never heard of a "scouting agency." I've heard of modeling agencies and talent agencies or modeling and talent agencies, and scouting businesses, but never a scouting "agency."

The use of the word "agency" could be misleading. Are they trying to make themselves look like a talent agency? Does the average potential client typically assume they are a talent agency?

There is another scouting business which says it is not a talent agency, but it registered its company website online in a talent agency directory.

Nowhere on the Pulse Management website did I see them state they are not a talent agency. Did you?

The BBB report said they serve San Diego county.

A talent agency in California must be licensed by the Labor Commissioner of the State of California. The Screen Actors Guild advises: "You should be extremely careful of any talent agency not licensed by the State of California."

It does not look as if there are huge differences between the rules for talent agencies and modeling agencies in California. In a guide called "Modeling, Acting Scams Cost a Pretty Penny," The BBB for California said:

The greatest part of determining whether the agency is legitimate or not has to do with licensing. It's important to know that talent agencies (this includes, generally, anyone who secures employment or engagements for actors and models) are required to be licensed by the State and bonded. They are not allowed to charge a registration fee or any other fee, whatever they may call it, for registering or listing you for entertainment employment or for photographs, video tapes, or similar services. Furthermore, a licensed talent agency must, in all its advertisements, include its licensed name and address, its license number, and the words "talent agency."

Note the part there about photographs. It looks as if Pulse Management requires you to get photographs.

The Modeling Handbook by Eve Matheson says the following (Fourth Edition, page 41):

The modeling profession is a regulated industry in most states, certainly those in which most of the work is to be found (New York, California, Illinois and Florida, for example). In those states, which have laws relating to the business of modeling, agencies are required to be licenced by the state and there are specific laws regarding the relationship and dealings between model and agency. Typically the state labor board or a similar department has jurisdiction over agency disputes.
 
Where such laws do exist, they typically relate to forms of agency contracts, handling money in trustee accounts, and may provide state arbitration over agency disputes.
 
They may also prohibit certain unfair trade practices, such as insisting that a model use a particular photographer, requiring the purchase of a portfolio or pictures as a condition for accepting the model, or demanding that certain classes or training be taken. All such conditions are examples of fraudulent schemes.

Giving general advice for models and actors, writing about "Sharks in the Waters," one person cautioned:

Managers or talent management companies don't have to be licensed, and have no real rules and regulations to follow. Be very, very careful before signing any sort of contract with one of those, as you have very little recourse if something goes wrong. Stick with a licensed talent agency.

There are model and talent agencies in San Diego. They would probably make more sense as your first place to look.

Here are a few examples of talent agencies which tell you their licence number:

Catalyst Agency

Is licensed as a Talent Agency by the State of California, Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, License Number TA-3249.

Victory Talent

Established in 1998 as "Victory Talent," "Victory Talent" is a unique licensed talent agency (State of California License No. TA-3638)

Redacted Info


Related:

The rules for talent agents in B.C.

In British Columbia, talent agents must be licensed by the Ministry of Skills Development and Labour. There are also rules on commissions, fees, photos, and paying wages.

Photos

Photos are a vital tool when promoting an actor, and it is the actor's right to choose his/her own photographer. You will be required to provide from 10 to 100 headshots. Actors do not need portfolios or composites.

Agencies may recommend photographers, but they should not require you to use a specific photographer. Your photos may be included in an agency promotional binder.

Children and background performers (extras) do not need professional photos. Agents who represent children and extras may provide or arrange photos.

The most an agent can charge for photos is $25/yr. The agent's photo fees are only payable once you get paid work through that agent.

Many talent agents now use on-line photo services such as 'The Casting Workbook' or 'The Link.' The cost for this service is around $45/year, payable directly to the service.


To Whom It May Concern:

I am interested in Pulse Management.

However, what concerns me is that BBB says they are talent consultants, and that "This company offers placement of artists with major talent and/or modeling agencies," but Pulse says they are a modeling agency.

Then when I went to their ABOUT section on their website, they say:

We are a scouting agency with over fifteen years experience in managing models for high fashion, catalogue, plus size, fitness, television, film, and extreme sports.

If they are a modeling agency, then why would they say they are scouts?

I thought perhaps maybe they started off as scouts, and then developed into a talent agency, but just never changed their website.

Or it was a mistake on their part.

When I called up and asked, though, they said they are an agency.

I also know that a lot of these businesses out here use a play on words just to get you to think they are something they are not.

(I used to work in the telemarketing business so I know.)

Some of these companies out here fling around terms like calling themselves an agent, but they really are an agent at a scouting agency, and not an agent at a talent agency.

I have looked at California's licensing laws, but they are confusing as well.

It seems Pulse is licensed through the city, but not the state of California.

Does that make a difference?

And also in California licensing it states:

"Talent agency" means a person or corporation who engages in the occupation of procuring, offering, promising, or attempting to procure employment or engagements for an artist or artists, except that the activities of procuring, offering, or promising to procure recording contracts for an artist or artists shall not of itself subject a person or corporation to regulation and licensing under this chapter. Talent agencies may, in addition, counsel or direct artists in the development of their professional careers.

So does that mean that a talent scout can call himself an agency?

I did some more searching on the Internet, and found a website that will be beneficial to residents of California:

DIR DLSE Licensing and Registration Talent Agencies

This is a search engine where one can find out if a talent agency (or a corporation claiming to be talent agency) is licensed through the state.

Just type in their name and off you go.

Pulse Management is NOT licensed to operate as a talent agency in the state of California. (God bless the Internet.)

From the information I obtained EVERY state has these type of searches on their official websites, so it's a resource available to anyone across the country.

You can also download the whole list, but it is in TXT format, so it is kind of messy.

Just to test the engine, I put in Elite and Ford, and they both came up; however, Pulse Management and Eastman came up as having no record —not a good sign.

They claim to only have a city license going by BBB's website.

Q.S.


Q.,

The BBB record for Pulse Management said:

In December 1995 the State of California ruled that only a licensed talent agent can book work for clients and charge a fee for that service.
 
Talent agents typically charge 10-15% of their clients' earnings.
 
Ask the agent for their license number and verify the status with the State Labor Commissioner at (415) 703-4877.

Have you asked Pulse Management for their license number?

Apparently, based on a comment at their website, not too long ago Pulse Management or its owner moved to California from Utah.

Most likely in Utah, which is not a major modeling market, the laws are different. Laws appear to be most strict in the major states for modeling where the most fraud has taken place: New York and California.

Perhaps Pulse Management is in the process of applying for a talent agency licence in the state of California.

Redacted Info


To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Shayna Edwards, Head of Model Development for Pulse Management.

I was informed that your site referenced our company.

After reading the letter from "K.B." and your response, I would like the opportunity to clarify a few items.

The initial letter is not very clear about a few specifics and entirely wrong about others.

Eastman Agency did not become Pulse Management. Pulse is a entirely separate entity. The owner of Eastman Agency closed it in May 2000, and came to work for Pulse in July 2000 as a scout and manager.

Any references to Eastman Agency are a direct reference to Stacey Eastman's past achievements which brings merit to our hiring him.

In your reply, you stated there was no report from the BBB on Eastman Agency. On the contrary, I found this info through the BBB online service which does show a record for Eastman Agency in Salt Lake City, UT in good standing.

Concerning Pulse, it is not required for a business to state what they are not. You mention that we don't say that we are not a model or talent agency.

In reading the "About" section of our site, it states that we find, promote, and manage models and talent.

Indeed, we are not a Talent Agency as defined by the law. We do not book directly with the client.

If a client wants to book one of our models or talent, we reference them to whatever agency we have them placed with.

The term "scouting agency" that you referred to was recommended by the BBB of San Diego.

If this confused you in the online text, it may confuse others (although we have had no other questions about it).

As the BBB has strict guidelines in order to have their logo on our site, I shall have the wording corrected to say "management firm" upon approval from the BBB.

When you quote that "we are looking for model scouts," this is from the "Pulse Message Board" section located on the Links page of our website.

It is in response to a question from someone called "Goddess" who specifically asked about becoming a model scout or working for a modeling agency.

And, indeed, we are always looking for modeling scouts. We do need people out on the streets looking for undiscovered models and talent. Very rarely does the next Cindy Crawford walk in your front door!

Even when a scout does refer an individual to us, they still need to meet with a manager for us to decide if we are interested in representing them.

Finally, I would like to address the issue of photographs. As indicated by your letter from Anthony Caprio, it is necessary to have certain materials such as composite cards to promote (not discover) models and talent. In order to develop a composite card, you have to have quality images from a reputable photographer.

Both the letter and your response state that we require a photoshoot through us in order to be represented. This is incorrect.

If a person comes to us with an existing book with quality images, we are able to begin the steps to promotion. If someone does not have any images, it is necessary to obtain those for promotion as described above.

The $1,700 "K.B." was suggested to pay, would not be paid to Pulse as we are a management firm not a photography studio. We can only suggest to prospective models and talent what it is they need to do and who to do it through. The money would be paid to the photographer. Which, by the way, we only use the same photographers as Wilhelmina and Ford in Los Angeles.

Pulse Management only makes money through commissions received from models and talent booking work with the agencies we have them placed with. Likewise, we do not guarantee work as we are not the booking client. We can only get them in front of the clients.

The items included in the photographer's price are: photography, makeup artist, cost of film, all lab fees for negatives and proof sheets, five 9" x 12" enlargements, twenty page portfolio to hold images, 500 composite cards, and one year of Internet exposure.

If you or anyone can find a cheaper way of getting all of these materials, please, please, please let us know! We are always looking for ways to cut costs to new models!

I hope this answered some of your questions and concerns.

Unfortunately, many people prey on the aspirations of the ill-informed. I believe you are providing a great service to your readers... if the information is correct.

Thanks so much for your time. If you have any additional questions, you may contact me directly any of the ways below.

Shayna Edwards
Model Development

www.pulsemanagement.com

Ph. 760-744-8748
Fax 760-744-8749


Ms. Edwards:

You said: "Both the letter and your response state that we require a photoshoot through us in order to be represented. This is incorrect."

Actually your statement is incorrect. Neither the letter nor my response stated you "require a photoshoot through us in order to be represented."

The model said: "The manager asked me to pay $1,700 for my portfolio." I wrote: "It looks as if Pulse Management requires you to get photographs."

But thank you anyway for stating you do not "require a photoshoot through us in order to be represented."

Thank you also for clarifying the status of your company by stating Pulse Management is not a talent agency: "Indeed, we are not a Talent Agency."

You said:

The term "scouting agency" that you referred to was recommended by the BBB of San Diego. If this confused you in the online text, it may confuse others (although we have had no other questions about it). As the BBB has strict guidelines in order to have their logo on our site, I shall have the wording corrected to say "management firm" upon approval from the BBB.

Why not just state on both your website and at the BBB record what you just wrote in your letter: "We are not a Talent Agency."

A model who just wrote said she was confused about the status of Pulse Management, and she was not sure if you are a modeling agency, and she seemed to suggest she was wondering whether Pulse was trying to make it look as if it is something it is not.

If you call yourself an agency, without saying you are not a talent agency, and you are not a modeling agency, why would most people not assume you are a modeling/talent agency?

There are many more companies calling themselves modeling and talent agencies than scouting agencies. How many aspiring models have even heard of the expression "scouting agency"?

Searching at Google.com for "Pulse Management," your website came first, and it said:

Pulse Management is a booking agency representing high fashion, catalogue, plus size, fitness, television, film, and extreme sport models and talent.

Checking the code at pulsemanagement.com showed:

<META NAME="DESCRIPTION" CONTENT="Pulse Management is a booking agency representing high fashion, catalogue, plus size, fitness, television, film, and extreme sport models and talent.

Modeling and talent agencies book models and talent. It is not difficult to see how models and talent could conclude Pulse Management is a model or talent agency based on what they see in your meta tags and search engine results, especially if your website looks like most modeling and talent agency websites, and if nowhere on your site (i.e., the introduction) do you state you are not a talent agency, nor a modeling agency.

Another scouting firm, for example, specifically says on its website, "We are not a talent agency." Research showed many people believed they were a talent agency.

So, again, why don't you clearly communicate up front on your website, at the BBB record, in your advertising and during your phone calls, etc., Pulse Management is not a talent agency?

You wrote: "Concerning Pulse, it is not required for a business to state what they are not. You mention that we don't say that we are not a model or talent agency."

Why do you have Better Business Bureau membership? To make people think your company is ethical? Why would you want to avoid the confusion of people being misled into believing you are a modeling agency? To make people think your company is ethical?

It seems odd that Pulse would buy BBB membership, yet not want to be up front about its status, volunteering this information.

Anyway, all this raises the $64,000 question: Why are you not a modeling and talent agency? Is it tougher to get a licence?

Redacted Info


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