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Meet Mike Valentino of TCD Studios in Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mike Valentino.

Mike, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I had the idea for the company in early 2007. The reasons will take too long to write out. Long story short, I got some really bad advice from an employer and it set me back a few years (and about $100,000.00). When I finally took a step back and planned my career, I saw the need to help actors create content. I didn’t actually have a fully flushed out plan either. I didn’t go to college and knew nothing about starting a business. I just knew I wanted to create a space for actors to openly create without being judged. There was nothing like it. Seemed like a no-brainer for a business.

The company started out pretty slow but within a few years, we tripled membership and moved into our first shooting space. Actors started writing their own content and we filmed it for them. If they couldn’t write it, we did it for them. It was awesome. Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to produce for some great actors and even some Oscar and Emmy noms. I prefer the low-budget stuff though. I like the freedom to do what I want and I like working with new actors.

Within 6 years, we were in a 7,000 square foot studio space in Hollywood. We offered acting classes taught by Emmy winners and working directors.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It’s been a non-stop struggle but I’m loving every second of it. I’m used to things being difficult and if they did come easy, I don’t think we’d be open today.

I remember being embarrassed about the 1st office and how it didn’t have a nice waiting area or the frills of high-end office space. It took me a few years to get passed this nonsense way of thinking and to embrace the journey.

I lived out of my truck for the first several years and I would struggle daily to keep it a secret. I had to shower in a slop sink in the janitors closet and lived off the dollar menu from Burger King. Thinking back now, what I was trying to keep secret was the coolest part of my business. I’m just starting to tell that story as a way of rebranding the company on my YouTube channel. I’m half way through 100 videos in 100 days vlog. I’m having the time of my life.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the TCD Studios story. Tell us more about the business.
We’re the first company of its kind and still to this day, the only actor service company that empowers our clients to self-produce content. This business model is what we are known for. We go against the norm and encourage artists to express themselves how they want without doing what every wanna-be industry professional advises them to do. We don’t believe in what some call, “actor-branding”. We strive to showcase our clients for the amazing individuals they are.

It’s all about being unique and being yourself. In my view, I think it’s important to know when to take advice but even more important to know when to go with your gut and ignore the norm. If everyone else is doing one thing, I say do different and stand out. What makes our customers different is what makes them special.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I’ve had no luck whatsoever. The only luck was meeting my beautiful wife. A week before we met, I was sleeping in my truck. A week later we were dating. 6 months later we were talking about marriage. She’s the best.

With the exception of meeting Christina, every step of the way has been an uphill battle. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love the struggle and it’s made me a much stronger entrepreneur.

We consider each of our clients (actors) a small business. The business side of the entertainment industry is equally important, but every business is different and every business has different objectives. We take pride in assisting and supporting our clients opposed to telling them how we think they should manage their career.

Most actor services tell actors what to do. I don’t believe there is only one way to be successful. Collaboration leads to great things and by forcing actors to follow one model will destroy a lot of careers. Clients tell us what they want and we make it happen. We work for them. We’re there for support and advice.

Pricing:

  • $60 per month for all services.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Kyle Espeleta Photography

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