The Closest Thing to Hollywood in SW Florida

by Jeff Lytle

This is one versatile guy.

He can stroll into a City Mattress showroom to shop with his wife and show how easy it is to fold out a sofa sleeper.

He can chat at a Little League ball game with a technology services guy whose hard hat protects him from his son’s batted foul ball.

He can line up putts at country clubs.

He can sample Italian foods at a Bonita Springs shopping complex.

Wallace with Rick Scott when he was governor.

As a firefighter/medic he can dispense advice about effective personal injury lawyers.

Keith Wallace of Naples has enjoyed a varied career as a TV commercial actor, and then some. He has modeled clothes and appeared in promotional videos for high-powered automatic weapons gear. He even scored a bit part in one of the biggest box office feature films of all time, “Avengers: Endgame,” in 2019.

He played a security guard, which came naturally. He has done personal guard duty for local, national and international celebrities and dignitaries such as U.S. Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, ex-U.S. Representative Francis Rooney and former presidential candidate Ben Carson. He has guarded jewelry at Saks Fifth Avenue and the priceless Key Marco Cat artifact. Wallace’s day job now is chief of security at the Collier County Courthouse. He prepared for that with criminal justice classes at Hodges University, for which he was featured in yet another TVcommercial.

But it was the “Avengers” experience, on location in Miami, that fulfilled his dream of being on the big screen (“I got just what I wanted”) and nudged him toward his latest venture. He has launched Wallace Entertainment, with the slogan “The closest thing to Hollywood in Southwest Florida” and the goal of helping produce feature films of his own.

Keith Wallace relaxes after City Mattress commercial shoot.

Wallace, who had roles in the TV series “Graceland” on USA Network and “Loki” on Disney Plus, aims to offer any service any client could need, from camera and voice work to singers and DJs for clubs, models for advertisers, and actors and locations for films.

Meanwhile, he has launched a Facebook group offering exposure at no charge for aspiring local actors, photographers and musicians. So far 700 people fitting those descriptions have signed on to what he calls “a resource for everybody – all things entertainment.” That includes improvisational acting classes.

“I want to help people get into the business,” says Wallace. “Nobody’s left behind.”

To get the word out – and raise money — he is making the rounds of Florida film festivals. He was a guest speaker and judge at the recent film fest in Cape Coral, which was the venue’s first ever. The object is to connect with filmmakers now using backdrops and talent in the hotbeds of Miami and Fort Lauderdale. “I want to bring awareness to this area,” he says.

Going the next step, producing a short film for the festival circuit, he says, would be great. ”That can provide all the recognition you need,” he explains. “Audiences would think ‘If he could tell that story in 10 minutes, just think what he could do with a full feature.’”

In keeping with his admission that he does not know everything he needs to be successful, Wallace is partnering with Hollywood production professionals on three potential feature projects. One of them has Kevin Sorbo, star of the “Hercules” and “Andromeda” TV series lined up to act and direct, Wallace says.

Maggie McCarty, who advises Collier County government on promoting local film-making, assesses Wallace’s challenge. “Like all businesses, the film/TV industry has been hit hard by the pandemic,” she says. “Start-ups especially must be working twice as hard to become established and cultivate clients and projects.“

Through Facebook I became aware of Keith and admire his enthusiasm to bring talent and business together. Networking with individuals, whether they are producers or make-up artists, is important because this business relies heavily on referrals and recommendations. Crews like to work with people they know and as we’re learning to work socially distanced as well, this can be really helpful.

“Our area is filled with incredibly talented and passionate individuals who are looking for that vehicle to allow them to ‘breakthrough.’ I hope Keith and his efforts can make that possible.”

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