Upon arriving in Los Angeles during the summer of 2000, a young Kristi Russell stepped off of the plane and onto Venice Beach. It only took a few minutes: with sand between her toes, sunshine on her face, and her ideological switch flipped, Kristi put flowers in her hair, bought some SPF 30, and made a small investment at a wholesale wax factory. That weekend, she was selling her handmade candles on a blanket on the boardwalk. Romantic and bohemian at first, Ramen grew predictable and her credit card balances grew steeply (candle making? not so lucrative). So she moved on to quite the illustrious gig: slinging drinks behind a bar. But within months, she was fired for choosing a day of snowboarding over the mandatory monthly meeting.
During those sun-splashed days and beer-soaked nights, while worried about scraping together enough sticky pennies to pay rent every month, Kristi was surrounded by colorful characters, and was unknowingly accruing a critical eye for talent – an informal education that was about to suit her very, very well.
Really really broke and feeling like an embarrassment to 30-somethings everywhere, she reluctantly agreed to interview for a ‘real job’ at Rocket Science Laboratories. She was hired on immediately as a Production Assistant. (Note: 30-something PA. Awesome.) But self-loathing turned to career-lust: she liked it here. She was soon promoted to Casting Producer, where she bit the marrow out of this obvious opportunity. Working ambitiously, resolutely, Kristi became indispensible. She set up new systems, managed teams, and notably slashed budgets. She was a driving force within the company and her mettle did not go unnoticed: alongside Tyler Ramsey, she built an in-house casting department and oversaw the casting of some of reality television’s most memorable characters. Kristi explored story and production, and served as Senior Director of Talent Development, creating content and developing talent-driven content. Within one year, four shows that she pitched were on the air with other production companies.
Strengthened by that experience, Russell felt confident enough to plant the seeds of Metal Flowers Media in early 2008 when the doors of RSL closed. In almost no time, this budding company blossomed into the casting and talent resource for unscripted projects. With hundreds of credits and a slate of development projects currently being set up, Kristi Russell and her team at Metal Flowers Media have pioneered cutting-edge casting and talent strategies. Recently, with her network and prod co clients, Metal Flowers Media has rewritten the old “pay for play” casting services deal memo, allowing clients to receive casting services prior to greenlights. MFM continues to break new ground in the world of unscripted, talent-driven programming with fully staffed offices in Los Angeles CA and Boulder CO.
Kristi has come a long way from Venice Beach, and is happy to report that her debt is paid off and you will find nary a package of Ramen in her cupboard.
You will, however, still find flowers in her hair and sunshine in her smile.
Steven hails from New York, where he founded Superfine Films, a production company specializing in high-quality social issue documentary and reality television. Over the years, Steven created compelling, genre-redefining content that excites and engages viewers. Yes - Steven knows good talent, and good tv, and clearly, good casting companies to work with. When he decided to trade in blustery winters for sunny skies, we scooped him up and brought him in and we’ll never let him go!