Crimes of Persuasion

Schemes, scams, frauds.

Direct Talent Source Model Management (Texas)


SAN ANTONIO, TX 78229-4741

Date: February 7, 2004


This is in response to your inquiry about the status of


This corporation is not in good standing as it has not satisfied all state tax requirements.
If you need any additional information or assistance, please contact the Texas State Comptroller's field office in your area or call 1-800-252-1381, toll free, nationwide. The Austin number is 512-463-4600. If you are calling from a Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD), the toll-free number is 1-800-248-4099, or in Austin, 512/463-4621.
Taxpayer number: 32006662137
File number: 0800095496

Form 05-342 (Rev. 1-03/12)

Officers and Directors
Title: Name and Address: Expiration/Resignation Date:
1131 BABCOCK ROAD, #150

This page contains a consumer story about Direct Talent Source Model Management and expert advice from industry leaders.

Direct Talent Source Model Management Photo Shoot Deposit Receipt


"Our prior modeling cases were all about photos; you thought you were being selected as a model, but all they were trying to sell you was photos, these expensive comp cards." -- Robin Spector, Attorney, Federal Trade Commission

"The number one problem we see is big money wasted on useless photos that were sold to an 'unsuspecting' model thinking he/she was getting great photos." -- GO International Modeling Agency

"A legitimate agency does not charge money to be a model. You may pay for some test pictures, but it won't be more than $300 for the entire shoot and everything." -- Joel Wilkenfeld, President, Next Model Management, New York

"If you are signed by a model agent, they will recommend 'test' photographers for your portfolio. Test photographers charge a lower rate since they are looking to build their own fashion portfolio." -- Nina Blanchard, The Nina Blanchard Agency

"Consumers may submit snapshots to agencies for review; however, agencies themselves do not produce portfolios 'in house.' Additionally, consumers should always pay the photographer and the printing company directly for any work done." -- BBB

"The agent should not recommend one photographer, and you do not pay the agency, you deal directly with the photographer." -- Nina Blanchard, The Nina Blanchard Agency

"Beware of photo pushers. They are seemingly legitimate talent agencies who make money by receiving kickbacks from photographers. The agent's advice may sound helpful, but the photo 'deal' will cost an exorbitant amount of money." -- Erik Joseph, Author, The Glam Scam

"If a so-called talent agent sends you to a particular photographer for pictures, hold your wallet tight and run for the nearest exit! Chances are the 'agent' is a phony who makes money splitting the photographer's fee." -- Los Angeles Office of the Consumer Protection Agency of the Federal Trade Commission

"Steer clear of modeling companies that require you to use a specific photographer. Compare fees and the work quality of several photographers." -- Federal Trade Commission


On [a] Saturday, I took my daughter to an open call for Direct Talent Source (DTS). They asked us to come back for a brief meeting that evening.

During the meeting, they explained that they are an agency. They said the only way they make money is by taking a 20% commission on the jobs they book.

At the meeting, they handed out a sample "Personal Management Agreement" for them to be our non-exclusive agent. It seemed very straightforward and on the level.

The speaker stressed the importance of comp cards. He said the only way they can get us work is if we have the best possible comp cards.

We were told that we could find our own photographer, but that we must use a "high fashion" photographer.

He then started listing a lot of places we could not use: local portrait photographers, photo studios, etc. After all this he said they will have a photographer coming in town that we can use. He said there were 75 people in the room right now, only 25 will be picked to be represented, then he also said they will only have time slots for 20 of us to use his photographer.

The cost of the photographer was $179 deposit; $235 at the workshop to be held 3 to 4 weeks later; and $235 at time of photo session for a total of $649.

He then had us go home and call back the next day to find out if we made it.

On Sunday, I called back and was told my daughter had been selected. We were told to come sign the Personal Management Agreement.

When we got there, we signed the Agreement and were given another "Photography Shoot Agreement" which we had not seen before. This agreement says there will be another charge for printing the comp cards. This cost was $250 + $15 set-up fee for 100 cards.

It also says a $50.00 rescheduling fee will be added if model does not show for photo shoot. It also states there will be no refunds on deposits and/or payments of a canceled photoshoot agreement.

Direct Talent Source Model Management Photoshoot Contract

Long story short... we paid the deposit so that we could be assured of using their photographer.

This company makes a very good front of being legitimate. They give you handouts on what to take with you to an assignment, even copies of the payment vouchers you use. There are a lot of details on how to get paid, how to dress, how to act on an assignment, etc.

Yet they have a list of companies they say they represent, but the pictures they have are just cut-outs of the products from magazines and they don't even feature any models!

These are things that are really easy to overlook when you are getting caught up in the moment and told that if you don't book their photographer now, there will not be any availibility later.

Is there any possible way to get my $179 deposit back? If not, is there anything I should do to cancel the agreement, other than not paying them any more money?


[Name Withheld]


Mike Curley (?sp), a leader of DTS, is a former employee of On Track Modeling (OTM), an event staffing company widely criticised for violating industry standards by collecting fees, charging models, and making a profit from professional photography and comp cards.

The business model, flyers, contracts, sales pitch, prices, and practices of DTS are identical to those of OTM. Curley was criticised by a consumer who had a bad experience with On Track Modeling related to, guess what? Expensive photos!

Curlee is now doing with DTS exactly what he learned at OTM. The total fraud is saying a fashion photographer is needed for event staffing jobs. This is so far from the truth. The entire fraud is based on the one lie.

If DTS has landed models they represent fashion modeling jobs, they will have tear sheets to prove it. If they have not landed the models fashion modeling jobs, it is fraudulent to imply the models will get fashion modeling jobs (and therefore they need a fashion photographer).

The whole purpose of saying you need a fashion photographer is to trick you into using their photographer so you will pay them so they will take your money and who cares if you get jobs or not?

If DTS was honest and if it only gets people non-fashion photography jobs, they would tell you the truth which is you don't need a fashion photographer, you can use portrait photographers, photo studios, etc., and even good amateur snapshots.

By saying you need a fashion photographer and knowing there are likely none in your area of Anytown, USA, the vast majority of people present at the DTS photo sales meetings are going to choose their photographer (who, incidentally, may not even be a fashion photographer!).

Related: Complaint v. Mike Curlee on Ripoff

Related: On Track Modeling


The prices recommended by Direct Talent Source Model Management and the amount of money they collect is far in excess of fair pricing. You can get photography for half the amount they are taking (or less); and comp card printing for less than half the amount they want.


25 new photo customers x $914 ($649 photography + $250 comp cards + $15 setup fee) = $22,850


Upon information and belief, Direct Talent Source Model Management is an event staffing agency, not a fashion modeling agency, nor a print modeling agency.

EventPro Strategies, a national event staffing agency, which has over 5,000 signed up to do promotional work, does not require a fashion photographer, comp cards, nor professional photography, only non-professional snapshots.

Event Staffing

Texas talent agency law prohibits fee splitting. If this company does not transfer the payment by consumers to the photographer and printer IN FULL, it is fee splitting. To determine if they are fee splitting, contact the photographer and the printer directly, and ask them for a copy of the receipt they received from DTS.

If you pay DTS $649 for photography, and they do not fee split, the photographer must be able to send you a copy of a receipt from DTS for the amount of $649. If you pay DTS $350 for prints, and they do not fee split, the printer must be able to send you a copy of a receipt from DTS for the amount of $350.


Sec. 2105.201. Advance Fees; Splitting Fees. *

(b)   A talent agency may not:

   charge, as a condition of registering an applicant or representing
an artist, a registration or advance fee; or

   split or share fees with a person who is not registered under this

Please note this company paid a $10,000 bond to get a Texas talent agency license. If you paid DTS, and you want your money back, you can make a claim on the bond. You simply state your case to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. The money is not extracted from or by DTS. You don't have to make your case to DTS, only to the TDLR.

Consumer Complaint

> I am requesting what I need to do to get my daughters money back from Direct
> Talent Search which is based out of San Antonio, Texas. The following is
> the address which you may already have
> 1603 Babcock Road Suite 258
> San Antonio, Texas 78229

> I had checked this company out through the local BBB and they had no
> complaints on them and many of the other parents did also. We started this
> back in Sept. 2003, and paid for the portfolio, pictures, etc. They really
> come across as if they know what they are doing. We believed them, because I
> did not even bring my daughter to the Holiday Inn in Beaumont Texas where
> they were signing people up at.

> She was just walking through the lobby for
> my brothers wedding. I thought it was a little strange, because they stopped
> her and asked her if she wanted to sign up with them. But after talking to
> some people it really was not all that strange, because my daughter is tall, slim, and beautiful.

> They told her she would have all kinds of
> work and that I might even want to consider letting her be home schooled
> because they thought that they could use her overseas. I am really angry
> about this situation, but most of all my young daughter is hurt
> emotionally.

> If you could please tell me what we should do, I would greatly
> appreciate it. Your help would be greatly
> appreciated.

> These people should be shut down and in [...] for this...

> Thank you for your time!!!!!!

To get your money back, you only need to file a claim against the bond which DTS paid (money they already paid in case they scammed anybody). To do that, call the Texas Department of Licensing Regulation (TDLR):

(512) 463-6599 or (800) 803-9202 (in Texas)

Tell them DTS collected your money for photography and comp cards, and split the fee with the photographer and printer, which is illegal under Texas state laws, and they never got your daughter work, so you want all your money back.

Ask them to confirm DTS paid the $10,000 bond, and say you want your $1,000 from that bond. The purpose of the bond, and the reason why agencies have to pay the bond, is insurance for consumers in the event a talent agency commits fraud or engages in any illegal activity. It is illegal for a Texas talent agency to split fees with a photographer or printer.

Please write back with a full update regarding your conversation with the TDLR so useful information can be given to others in the same predicament.

Thank you.

P.S. To file a complaint with the State, go to this web page and send an email to the address given:

Consumer Complaint

We went through some horrible times with Direct Talent Source in San Antonio. Our daughter had been a model for four years and we left one reputable agency to go to DTS. Big mistake!

BBB showed no records that led us to believe they were anything but legit. We were told our daughter was chosen after a lecture and interview. We had just had a few pics taken for her portfolio before going there and it happened to be the same photog they had just recruited. His prices went from cheap to high end.

Anyway, they went ahead and let us order the comp cards for $250 plus $15 set up fee. That was in 2003. We never heard back, got any calls for work, and noone would return my calls.

The acting agent was Bryan Shockey, whose boss was Shontelle Shockey, and hers, Mike Curlee. Neither would return my calls. No one would ever talk.

I emailed Mike Curlee under a different email addy and he responded and said they were sitting at the printers in Florida.

Finally, in October 2003, we contacted the local BBB. They got involved and Jeff said he would refund our money ASAP. He never did so we filed a small claims suit.

He settled out of court with a cashiers check a day before he was served. After we cashed it he called and asked us to try again and he would be opening another agency here in San Antonio with another agent running it.

Fortunately our daughter is back with a reputable agency, even though we were leary at first.

How does one stop this guy, as he is still there just in a different suite?

What a shame so many models have to go through this.

Parent in San Antonio, Texas