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Monthly Archives: April 2015

The Agent Diaries – April 2015

Wednesday, April 1st

It has been a slow week, most likely due to the Easter break. There was big action at the agency today.  A fire truck pulled up outside my office to break up a fight between two middle school kids.  Back in my day, kid’s beat the crap out of each other, no fire truck needed.  Times have changed.

Thursday, April 2nd

I received this email today.  There was no name or contact info. “What do you guys do? Like what is your company about?”  I hit the delete button.  No time for that!  Does anyone teach manners anymore?

Four of my actors were in Atlanta today for a callback for a feature film.  All four were sent to the studio for the “powers to be” to view.  I am so proud of the actors for doing a great job!  Time will tell if anyone books…but, this is great news and confirms the actors are on the right track.

I am looking forward to the Easter weekend and going to visit friends in Englewood on the west coast of Florida.  I am picking up Molly & Mike’s portraits.  I vow to not become a crazy cat woman, but with a face like Mike’s, that might not be possible!

Mike’s Portrait 

(Artist: Marsha Banas marbanas14@me.com)

mike

Friday, April 3rd

It is Good Friday!  Office is closed…HURRAY!

Monday, April 6th

Last week, I judged a showcase for “Beth Marshall’s Production: Top Teen Showcase”.  Beth did an excellent job working with the high school students and encouraging them to follow their dreams. I often find myself talking people out of pursuing this business and to do something else that will make a difference in the world. Too many actors…not enough opportunities…too hard to make a decent living.  I am sure many of you can relate to this. But, who am I to discourage someone to follow their dreams? You are never too old to become an actor.  The older you are, the harder it will be to pursue film and television since you will be competing with actors who have been in the business for years who have a resume and reel. Kathryn Joosten was a former actress I represented.  Many of you might remember her when she worked at Disney. Kathryn started in the business working in community theater when she was 42. I remember when casting director Herb Mandell would request that Kathryn wear her teeth for auditions. 100% true…I can’t make this stuff up! Herb passed away in 1999.  He was one of a kind!  Herb would call and ask me to meet a new actor.  I knew she would be blonde with big boobs.  I was never wrong. Kathryn moved to Los Angeles in 1995 and was very successful working on numerous shows including playing the role of Mrs. Landingham, personal secretary to the President in “The West Wing” and as Karen McCluskey in “Desperate Housewives”.  She passed away in 2012 from cancer.  Two great people in the business gone too early.  God bless their souls! Where was I going with this topic? I guess I am trying to say you are the boss and CEO of your life. It is never too late to start a new chapter and pursue your dreams.  Do what makes you happy!

Tuesday, April 7th

After attending a seminar at The Gasparilla Film Festival, taught by Jason Teresi from Breakdown Service/Actors Access, I want to make a few suggestions regarding your reel. While nobody is born with a reel, hopefully, with hard work and dedication, you will have enough footage to put a reel together.  Models have portfolios…Actors have demo reels. A demo reel is a showcase of your work and is THE best marketing tool professional actors can have.  It is a must for career actors who are serious about their craft.

Technology has changed the way demo reels are distributed.  We live in an instantaneous viral society which has made VHS tapes, CDs and DVDs a thing of the past. Thank goodness the days of shipping VHS reels via Fedex are over! Reels have gone viral allowing a digital file to be viewed at the click of a button, saving hundreds of dollars in DVD duplication costs and postage, not to mention the positive impact it has on the environment by not having your DVD’s end up in a landfill.

It is also a good idea to have your individual clips from legit projects on your Actors Access page as well as your reel.  I would define legit projects as any role you booked that required studio or network approval.  Not independent projects or student films. They are fine to use on your reel but, I would not use these clips since most of the casting directors, producers and directors are not familiar with these projects. You should label your clips on your actor’s access page: Name of Project (Role). Example:  The Walking Dead (Police Officer).  If you booked guest star list like this: The Walking Dead (Guest Star: Police Officer). Reels need to be named Reel or Film Reel or TV Reel or Film/TV Reel or Drama Reel or Comedy Reel (whatever fits what you have).  Do not use the word video, clip or demo. Delete any old reels on your actors access page.  If you have more than one listed your agent does not know which one to use.

Make sure your actors access profile is updated and your agent has a current resume on file at all times.

You can purchase your television footage from www.editplus.tv It is best to contact them before the episode airs.

A Few Tips for Putting Together a Demo Reel

  • Start by compiling copies of your on-screen work.  Select footage in which you are prominently featured and which showcases your best work.  This may include copies of television, films, commercials and industrials.
  • When compiling your footage be sure the selected clips feature you, not other actors.  You might need to have your scenes edited so your reel is all about you.   Scenes with well-known actors are important to feature first because even though they may be short, it lets your next potential employer know you were cleared to work opposite bankable talent.  Be sure your footage is of good quality.  Do not select scenes with poor lighting and sound.  Try to pick contrasting scenes for your demo reel to show as much versatility as you can.
  • Avoid putting old work on your reel.  Your reel needs to be a current reflection of you, not of how you looked 20 pounds or 20 years ago.
  • Do not hesitate to get a variety of opinions as to which scenes to use and in what order they should appear before making the final decision on your reel.
  • If you are not qualified to edit your reel, hire a professional to do it for you. Keep in mind you get what you pay for.  A poorly edited reel will not do you any favors.  There are companies who specialize in demo reels for actors.  The one I recommend with the “BTG” stamp of approval is Tom Hillmann, www.60SecondDemoReels.com
  • Choose scenes that showcase you at your best and start with your strongest material. This will grab the attention of whoever is watching your reel. It will also raise the odds that they will watch your entire reel.  Don’t use stage performances or monologues.
  • Industry professionals are busy people.  Show casting directors and producers respect by having a concise, professional reel that will makes them want to watch it all the way through.
  • In addition to a long reel, one-minute/short reels are very popular as they are more likely to be watched due to time constraints. Always leave them wanting more.
  • Start the reel with your name.  You can also open with your headshot.  End your reel with your contact information, which should include your name, agency name, phone number and website (if applicable). 

A good demo reel will open doors for you to agents, managers, casting directors, producers, directors, and anyone else looking to hire actors in the entertainment industry.  A high quality demo reel is guaranteed to give you the competitive edge over actors who do not have one. Amateur footage on your reel will hurt more than it will help you.  If you do not have professional footage don’t waste your time putting a demo reel together.  Start by compiling your footage until you have enough for a demo reel.  And, then be prepared to update your reel the same as your resume.

Wednesday, April 8th

Do you know what really frustrates me?  When actors do not return phone calls about an audition, and then after giving them a few hours, I call back and their mailbox is full.  Don’t let that happen.  EVER!

A lesson in the first pass system for actors.  First pass = first actor to call or request to audition.  Second pass = second round.  Third pass = third round.  For commercials agents always call first pass before moving on to second or third choice.  Slots are limited for commercials and since most talent in the area are multi-listed, slots can’t be held. When first pass actors do not respond in a timely fashion they move down the ladder to make room for an actor who is on the ball.  When the casting department receives submissions for film/tv they request who they feel will best suit the role. It is not unusual for casting to receive 500 submissions per role. They narrow the submissions down to approximately ten percent and send out requests for the actor to audition.  If the producers or director want more choices they move on to the second pass and so forth.  How do actors become a member of the first pass team?  By being consistent in their auditions and callbacks. You move up the ladder by booking a job and making money so your agent can stay in business; by returning phone calls or emails promptly; by being a professional and always being prepared. The early bird gets the worm! When opportunities happen make the most of it…they don’t come around often. I called an actor last week to ask why he did not respond to two auditions. I emailed another actor asking if he still wanted to be represented by the agency since he does not return phone calls or audition notices.  Trust me, they won’t let that happen again.  I will continue to call actors out in hopes they will understand the demands the business requires and if they can’t comply, then it is time to say “Hasta la vista”. Help your agent help you be a member of the first pass team.

Thursday, April 9th

I started the day downloading auditions only to find out the actors and/or the taping person did not follow directions. And, then the blame game began. There are days I feel like I am hitting my head against the wall dealing with this on a daily basis until I remind myself to be grateful for the actors who read and follow directions.

Shout out to Chay Santini and Victoria White on auditions I received today. I seldom have time to watch entire auditions, but when I do I love watching a great performance and these two delivered.

I love the enthusiasm I receive when actors receive an audition notice.  I feel like Santa Claus on Christmas!

I finalized two deals for actors to return on a high profile tv show that I can’t announce the name of or I will be eaten by zombies.  I am happy their characters will be returning for another season. The actors are thrilled they will have the opportunity to work again on the # 1 show in the world! Who wouldn’t? Great opportunities are available in the Southeast for actors.

Love this note from Owen Harn who is working this week on the “Untitled Autopsy Project” pilot shooting in Miami. “I just want to take the time to tell you how grateful I am to have you fighting at my side in the battle to work and how much I truly appreciate you. I know life gets in the way and I find it overwhelming at times but overall I am very lucky to live the life I live at a career that only makes sense to tackle. Thank you for all you do and put up with”.  Thanks Owen!

Friday, April 10th

“Don’t Give Up” by Andrew Lock

Often life doesn’t go in the direction we want it to. Does that mean our lives are doomed and we can’t achieve the success we dream of? Let’s be realistic: Everybody fails, bit consider the following.

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Disney went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland. In fact, the proposed park was rejected by the City of Anaheim, California on the grounds that it would only attract “riffraff.”

Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He was fired from his first two jobs for being “nonproductive.” As an inventor, Edison made more than 1,000 unsuccessful attempts to invent the light bulb. When a reporter asked him how it felt to fail 1,000 times, Edison said that he didn’t fail all those times, but that the light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.

Albert Einstein did not speak until he was 4 years old and did not read until he was 7. His parents thought he was “subnormal,” and one of his teachers described him as “mentally slow, unsociable and adrift forever in foolish dreams.” He was expelled from school.

Every comic strip cartoon that Peanuts creator Charles Schultz submitted to the yearbook staff at his high school was rejected.

After Fred Astaire’s first screen test, the 1933 MGM memo from the testing director read, “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.” Astaire kept that memo over the fireplace in his Beverly Hills home.

Decca Records turned down a recording contract with The Beatles with this fascinating evaluation: “We don’t like their sound. Guitar groups are on their way out.”

A friend of mine in the music industry personally auditioned a singer by the name of Reg Dwight in the 1960s. He unceremoniously shoved the singer out of his office for wasting his time. That singer is better known as Elton John.

Imagine if these individuals had given up, believing they were doomed to failure and wound never achieve success. Do you think they ever felt down and depressed? Sure. But they didn’t allow a gloomy state to overtake them, to overpower their wildest dreams.

Bad experiences can be viewed as positive in hindsight. They can be stepping stones rather than stumbling blocks. It’s your choice. But be determined to NEVER GIVE UP.

Monday, April 13th

It is a typical Monday at the agency.  Catching up from emails over the weekend, sending out and uploading auditions.  I received an audition request for a role of a teen male for the new show “Vice Principals” from the producers of the raunchy HBO show “Eastbound and Down”. I read the sides and sent a note to the parents letting them know it is fine with me if they want to decline due to the content.  Agents seldom if ever receive sides or scripts prior to submitting.  We can’t be the “script police”.  One actor is fine with the dialogue, another might not be.  It is a decision an actor, or parent of the young performer has to make on whether to accept or decline.  Please do not get offended if you receive an audition that you are not comfortable accepting.  Just say no thank you, you are going to decline and let your agent know the reason why.  That way your agent can let the casting director know in case anything changes.

I appreciate when actors follow up after a booking. I am sure most agents do. Frank worked two days ago on “Nashville”.  Not only did I receive a set pic but, Frank also sent me an updated resume and updated his Actors Access account.  I call that the business side of “show business”…Go Frank!

Frank Licari with Charles Esten on the set of “Nashville”

Frank Licari Nashville

Tuesday, April 14th

I am starting to prepare for the cold reading workshop.  Invitations will go out the beginning of May for “BTG” actors. Since agents seldom see talent face to face, it is a great time for me to see the talent I represent and the progress they have made.

Thank you to the person who sent goodies from “Cheryl’s”. A note was not included so I do not know who to thank.  They were delicious…my diet was shot for the day, but it was worth it!

Mom of the week goes to Alkoya Brunson’s Mom Nikki.  I called her yesterday to let her know Alkoya had a callback in Richmond, Virginia for the new PBS TV show “Mercy Street”.  I know this is a lot to ask of anyone so I wanted her to think about it overnight.  When I called her this morning they were two hours away from Virginia.  I am not sure if this is dedication or insanity but, it works for me!  Some roles book off tape…other require a callback. Actors must expect every audition to have a callback. It is a bonus if casting books off tape.  It is a part of what actors have to do to live and work in the Southeast.

Wednesday, April 15th

FINALLY an audition for a SAG national commercial for “Cheerios”.  I have missed SAG nationals…more please! Casting sent out a note to agents asking them to read the breakdown and relay all of the information so that actors can be prepared for the audition. WHAT?  Isn’t that a given and common sense?  It is one thing for actors to not read the information, but, add agents in that group and this market is a hot mess!

Gotta love this phone call I received.  Caller: “Hey are you an agent?”. Me: “Is that anyway to start a conversation?”. Caller:  “It is a free country” and then hangs up.  I doubt whoever this was will go far in life communicating like that.  And, when did “living in a free country” mean you have the right to be rude?

It is a first in 25 years!  Nobody called to find out who much money they made so they can file taxes.

Thursday, April 16th

We lost another actor yesterday.  Kent Lindsey passed after battling cancer the last few years. Kent was always positive and had the best outlook on life.  I will miss our talks and the good times we had together.  It was an honor to represent Kent. My thoughts and prayers go out to his beautiful wife Pepper and daughter Samantha.  RIP Kent!

I have been busy this week with appointments.  Remember out with the old in with the new? It is not a good thing when I find my mind thinking about something else during the meeting.  This must be how directors feel when an actor is auditioning who doesn’t hold their interest.  You have one shot to make a great impression.  One of the actors I met had an “Empathy Workshop” listed on their resume.  WHAT IS THAT?  I thought you were born with empathy? My daughter needs this workshop.  Maybe I should teach a workshop called “Common Sense for Actors”.

Friday, April 17th

I could not sleep last night. Between the boyfriend snoring, the cats purring and the frogs croaking outside I said to heck with sleep and did the next best thing.  I got up and watched the latest episode of “Nashville”.  Aubrey Peeples plays the role of Layla Grant. I am so proud of Aubrey!  I had the privilege of developing Aubrey many years ago and have watched her turn into a force to be reckoned with. I have no doubt Aubrey will have a long career in acting, song writing and singing. You might remember Aubrey from the cult film “Sharknado”. Aubrey will be starring as Jem in the feature film “Jem and the Holograms” opening this fall.

I held meetings this week with new potential talent.  I was interested in representing one out of six. How do agents represent actors without meeting them?  How do they know if they can talk, listen, look like their headshots and act?  I have to know the talent I want to represent and what their essence is. Trust me, it takes a lot more than a headshot and a heartbeat to make it in this business. The relationship between an actor and agent is one of if not the most important business relationship an actor will ever have.

Monday, April 20th

It is confession time…I HATE LOW BUDGET FILMS!!!!  Especially ultralow budget films. Too much work and not enough money to be made.  Don’t get me wrong, I am happy when actors have the opportunity to work. All producers and writers feel that their project is the best in the world and they love their “baby”.  Nobody will love their baby as much as they do. Not me…not you.  It is a fact of life.  So, please do not get offended if I do not get excited about working on low budget projects. I would rather scrub toilets! If you want to pursue low budget films, and I suggest you do if you need the footage for your reel, then submit away.  It is a great way to be productive with your career.  Let your agent concentrate on bigger projects. Or, do what Tunde Laleye did, “I am happy to announce that I self-submitted for a role on actors access and I booked it. This is very special to me because it is my first official booking role even though I know I am on first right for a bigger project.  This is a short film that will shoot for 4 days in Huntsville, AL. I am just excited to start my journey of making my resume extensive”.

Tuesday, April 21st

29 film/tv auditions were sent out before noon today.  A couple with very quick deadlines.  I understand that some actors can’t tape before the deadline.  Others want an extension which is seldom possible.  Traci says, “Worry about what you can control, not what you can’t control”. Episodic television is fast paced.  I wonder how it feels when an actor can’t meet the deadline?  I guess not great because you can’t get to fourth base without going to first.  But, I am really proud of the actors I represent who bust their ass to get their auditions in before the deadline.

Nothing makes me happier than letting an actor know they have a callback, are under consideration for a role or booked the job. That is a lie…a trip to the spa at the Ritz would be just as good!

Wednesday, April 22nd

Our commercial season is over!  It came in like a lion and went out like a lamb. There will be a few auditions but, the bulk is done.  Time to drink my sorrows away.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the film incentive.  We are not the only state fighting for incentives. Louisiana is having problems and the state is looking into phasing out their incentive program.  Keep writing and calling your representatives and senators asking for their support of the “tax credit” bills. The buzz in the halls of the capital is to refer to the bills as credits not tax incentives.  Time to retrain my brain to say credits.

Thursday, April 23rd

Thank goodness for SAG residuals and for entertainment lawyers!

Friday, April 24th

Fridays are the happiest day of my week! I cherish my weekends, even if I sometimes have to work and upload auditions.  I am going to Lake Meadows Farm tomorrow to buy some fresh eggs and a big fat juicy grain fed boneless rib eye. I am grateful for vegans and vegetarians…more meat for me!

Monday, April 27th

I spent the weekend watching my new favorite tv show “Bloodline”.  It takes a few episodes to get into the show but, it is compelling to watch.  It is required viewing for all actors! The lead actor Ben Mendelson is amazing, as well as the rest of the cast.  Ben plays the role of Danny.  He has the uncanny ability to own the scene even when he is not talking. This show is a great example for actors to see how important it is to create a beginning and an end of the scene without saying a word. I loved watching all of our “BTG” actors especially the ones who had recurring roles, Dan Bright, Claire Bronson, Tyler Cravens, Bill Kelly, Jeremy Palko, Zach Robbins and Owen Teague. None of these actors knew their character would return. Some of these roles were under five lines and look what happened. Everyone did a great job representing Florida talent.  Get ready…season two will start shooting at the end of summer.

Tuesday, April 28th

I went to UCF this morning to watch monologues and talk to the future stars of tomorrow!  I wish I had a crystal ball to see where the future will take the students I met.  A big thank you to Be Boyd for inviting me to meet her students.

I received this from a personal client today. This is how it is done! “Thank you for the excellent talent!  All three actors showed up on time and did a great job. Their memorization was good, their wardrobe selections were plentiful and spot on for the part and their delivery was exactly what I needed. I would definitely use them again”.

Wednesday, April 29th

IT IS A GREAT WEEK AT BREVARD TALENT GROUP! I am one proud Mama Agent today! I closed three actors on “The Walking Dead”, Richard Regan Paul wrapped work in Atlanta on the feature film “Keep Up With The Jones”, Owen Teague is in Richmond, Virginia working on “Mercy Street”, Erin Beute booked a guest star role on “Finding Carter” and booked the lead in the independent film “Mind The Gap” shooting in Orlando, Tyler Cravens booked “Graceland” and Roger Floyd’s character will return to work on “Graceland” next week, Greg Pitts will be in Miami working on “Alvin & The Chipmunks IV”, Alkoya Brunson booked the film “Birth of a Nation” shooting in Savannah, Michael Crider is heading to Atlanta to work on the last episode of the season “Halt and Catch Fire” and last but not least Logan Allen will be heading to Miami for four months working on the new Nickelodeon show “Talia’s Kitchen”.  The life of the agent is similar to an actor’s…when the going is good it’s great…when it is slow not so good. And, remember the only way you are destined to fail is if you quit. Robert Pattinson had already decided he was done with the business before accepting his last audition. That audition was for “Twilight”.  Need I say more? You never know what your future holds. This should be inspiration to everyone to keep working hard…sooner or later it will pay off!

Thursday, April 30th

I will dedicate today to all of the loyal actors in the business!

photo

The Agent Diaries – March 2015

Monday, March 2nd

It is a great way to start the week by booking Nick McNeil on the CBS show “Under the Dome!”

All day I dealt with film and television auditions that were not taped correctly, edited or labeled per casting instructions.  It is frustrating!  One thing I don’t like is doing double the work especially when detailed instructions were sent to the actors.  It is the actor’s responsibility to read, read and read the instructions again and relay this information to the person who is taping the audition.  Another issue is when file sizes are HUGE.  It takes a long time to download and upload.  You can go to www.mpegstremclip.com to download software that will enable the file size to be reduced without losing quality. Agents do not always have the time to make sure actors follow instructions. It makes everyone look unprofessional when instructions were not followed. To make your auditions stand out make sure you have an excellent reader, take the time to work on the character and have your dialogue memorized. You need to deliver a performance as if you were already on set since you only have one shot to make a great impression.  Lighting and sound must be great for studio approval. Use a good quality camera, not on a cell phone. You might try to save money by self-taping, but unless your home setup is top notch then go to a taping service. Your agent will thank you; the casting directors will thank you.  I cannot tell you how many auditions were missed and not submitted to casting due to actors not paying attention to detail and self-taping.

Tuesday, March 3rd

Nothing exciting to write about today.  I sat at the computer all day working… a typical day. What else is new?

Wednesday, March 4th

I had a chemical peel last night.  My face is the color of a pumpkin and I am hiding in my office.

I sent callbacks out for a Florida Hospital commercial and submitted on more film and television projects that are filming outside of Florida. One casting director is looking for a real blind man, another needs a real veteran type in a wheelchair.  These are tough roles to fill.  Glad I am not a casting director.  Agents can always say “I don’t have what you are looking for.”  Casting directors can’t.  God Bless the casting directors and their assistants.

I wish that actors would book out when they are not available.  I go through the work of submitting or pitching them to casting only to find out they are not available. I also wish all actors had passports. You never know when an opportunity will come in for a job that films out of the country.

I sent an e-mail to actors who auditioned for a pilot shooting in Miami letting them know first refusals have gone out.  I love this response I received from Isaac Rossi “I have no doubt that I can only go up from here, and I will book one of these one day soon! Just gotta move on to the next one”. Isaac is always positive, never complains, is grateful for auditions and doesn’t sweat the small stuff. I need more Isaacs in my life!

Thursday, March 5th

Below is a list of film and television roles that came out this week.  They are all from different projects filming in the Southeast.  I hope this will encourage actors to have a variety of headshots that their agent can use for submissions.  Some actors have one or two headshots.  That is not enough. Actors should know their bookable essence and what roles they are right for.  Would you have the right headshots for the roles below? An actor can never have enough headshots with different looks. It could mean the difference in being requested to audition or not.

  • LOUIE CONNORS Caucasian. Male. Late 30s-40s, a tennis pro in Beverly Hills.  Athletic-looking and very handsome.  A womanizer.  Smooth talking guy who has many affairs with the women at his club.
  • VIKING LEADER (Male, Caucasian, mid 40s)–A tough, brutish, and commanding man who conquers a village and does not hesitate to take captive anyone who he deems useful to his cause. Physically imposing.  English or generic OLD WORLD accent.
  • GWEN / REDHEAD A redheaded bartender at The Boobie Trap, Gwen is a voluptuous woman who is prettier than her employers (and the customers) deserve.
  • SEAN HENNESSEY 50s, seen in flashback, this rugged, hard-working man is Eli’s father, a blacksmith by trade who seems to have some sad knowledge about an impending tragedy.
  • GUARD This prison guard informs Radha that she has a visitor
  • DR. BOBBY WALKER  (Male, All Ethnicities, 28-35) A charming, sexy, ER doctor at Emory Midtown University Hospital. He’s a one-man welcome wagon to Katie and her students during their visit. Normally, he’s not afraid to mix work and play, but when situations turn serious, his demeanor will quickly follow suit.
  • RAE DUFFY Mid to late 30s, Attractive, brash, savvy, and flirtatious, with a great sense of humor, she was the high school girlfriend of Gordon’s (Scoot McNairy) older brother. Once a delinquent youth growing up in California’s Central Valley, she is now a single mom who owns a local bar. She and Gordon re-connect when he returns home for a visit… GUEST STAR

Friday, March 6th

One of my actors is in Atlanta.  He had a callback last night for a film and two callbacks today for pilots.  I love killing three birds with one stone! Although when he arrived to one of the auditions, he found out the director and producers fell in love with an actor they met the day before so he read for a different role.  Hate when that happens…but, I believe everything happens for a reason.

My exciting plan for tonight is to stay home and watch my face peel like a lizard. Now that is a reality show!

Shout out of the week goes to Kelly Malik super mom to Aiden. Kelly and Aiden’s grandmother Shirley  made countless trips to Wilmington, NC where the TV show “Secrets and Lies” was filmed.  Aiden plays the role of Tom Murphy, the young boy who was murdered whom the show is centered around. I hope everyone is watching this show and all shows that are filmed in the Southeast.  The show was cast by Feldstein Paris Casting. Ryan Phillippe can be my daddy any day of the week!

Aiden hanging with Ryan Phillippe

Aiden hanging with Ryan Phillippe

Monday, March 9th

Randall Miller, producer and director for the feature film “Midnight Rider,” pled guilty today and was sentenced to two years in prison for involuntary manslaughter in the death of camera operator Sarah Jones. First AD Hillary Schwartz received ten years probation. Roger Floyd and Bill Kelly booked the film last year, but was unable to work on the film.  This is a horrible situation for all parties.  We seldom give safety a second thought on sets. Please keep safety in mind when working and if your instinct is telling you something doesn’t feel right speak up!

Still no money from producer Steve Tatone for the film “Blind Pass”. It has been 3 years and 3 months since the actors worked on his film. SAG said he has been sick. I manage to pay my bills when I am sick…don’t you? I will not quit fighting for the actors until they are paid.

Every actor I know wants to be on the hit AMC show “The Walking Dead”.  Good news the show will resume production in May.  For those who have been watching the show Jordan Woods-Robinson plays the role of Eric, one of the first homosexual characters to be introduced on the show. Jordan shot 4 episodes and will have great footage for his reel. Go Jordan!

Jordan on the set for “The Walking Dead”

Jordan

Tuesday, March 10th

It is a typical work day.  I am sitting in front of the computer answering e-mails and phone calls. The following are samples of a few conversations I had today with different actors:

Me:     Can you please upload your new headshots on your actors access profile?

(Does your agent really need to ask you to do this?) 

Me:     I tried to submit you but, you don’t have the agency listed on your actors access page.

Next: 

Actor:   What should I wear to the audition?

Me:      Figure it out.  

Next: 

Actor:  When does this shoot?

Me:      Read the email.

Next: 

Actor : Did callbacks go out?”

Me:     If they did, you would be the first to know”.

Next: 

Actor:  Do you think I will get an audition with my new headshots?

Me:      If I was psychic, I would pick the winning lottery numbers”.

Next: 

Actor:  Do I need to memorize the dialogue?”

Me:      Not at all.  It doesn’t matter to me if you are prepared so you can do your best.

           (I wanted to say “REALLY?  ARE YOU  @*%#*^* KIDDING ME?.”  But, I kept my

           mouth shut…miracles can happen!) 

The life of an agent isn’t that exciting.  It sounds glamorous but, it isn’t. The only carpet I walk on is the one in my house and office…not the red carpet. Maybe that is why I keep thinking of stories to share with you instead of boring you with the stuff I deal with on a daily basis that I am sure most agents go through.

Wednesday, March 11th

I am so excited!  The Go Fund Me campaign for Film Florida met the goal of $7,500.00.  Due to the donations, the goal has been increased to $10,000.00.  I am on a mission to meet the new goal.  Too bad I am not that dedicated to haul myself to the gym. The “Rally In Tally” is today. A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who donated money, wrote to their Senator and Representative and is attending the rally.  We will know the beginning of May if our hard work will pay off for the tax incentive to be funded. Tamara Austin sent this to me:  “I want to work in my home state!” Hopefully they get the message. Thanks again for being a great agent and a strong fighter for you and your people. Your ambition and strength is not only admirable but contagious. Makes me proud every day to call you the agent who represents me.”  Thanks Tamara!

Casting director John Peros & Mary Rachel Dudley and Annette Victoria, Chip delVecchio & Mary Rachel at “The Rally In Tally”

RITImage

Thursday, March 12th

I received this email from Isabella Ianuzzi, one of my young performers.  It gives me hope for the future that children are taught to be thankful. I send thank you notes to producers and clients.  I hope you take the time to send thank you notes to people who have helped in your journey. Sending a written thank you note is better than one sent by email.

“Hi Miss Traci!

Thank you for your support and for sending my audition along. Knowing that you thought I did a good job means a lot to me. I always try to do my best so that you and Miss Peggy are proud of me!!

If the producer thinks I’m right for the part then that would be awesome!!!!! My braces are off and right now I am eating popcorn and taffy!!!!

Love,

Bella

I turned down a low paying non-union commercial casting to work on raising money for Film Florida.  Everyone has priorities.  Today this was my priority.

Friday, March 13th

I do not know what is up this week with actors needing drama therapy.  I don’t know if it is because today is Friday the 13th or the sun, moon and stars alignment but, actors are depressed about not booking. I have never met an actor who wants to book less roles. Of course actors want to book and without actors booking jobs agents would go out of business. This is a tough business and it has become hard for anyone to book a job.  It is the reality of the business and you must bring your A game or sit out on the bench.  Time to pick yourself up from your boot straps, pick up the pieces and move forward.  The best advice I can give any actor is when the audition is over FORGET ABOUT IT. When you second doubt yourself your mind starts playing crazy games.  Your angel and devil personality is talking over your shoulders and messing with your head.  Slap them silly and send them packing on a long vacation to your sub-conscious.

I am going to Tampa tomorrow to watch a master class at Performer Studios Workshop with Lori Wyman.  I am looking forward to seeing actors I represent as well as new actors looking for representation.  Not to mention I am going to the International Mall on my way home!

Monday, March 16th

The master class was great. It is refreshing to see actors working hard on their craft.  Commercials are a look, personality and technique. Acting for film and television is a whole different ball game.  Brevard Talent Group represents actors for commercials and/or film/television.  There is more work in the Southeast than ever before. I gave up representing models years ago.

WE DID IT…we met the goal of $10,000.00 for the Film Florida “Go Fund Me” campaign.  Thanks to everyone who made a donation.  We could not have done it without your support.  I am so happy!

Mom and dad of the week goes to Helene and Jim Cavanaugh for their dedication to drive their daughter Alana to Atlanta to work on the AMC television show “Halt & Catch Fire”.  On the show Alana plays the daughter of Scoot McNairy who portrays Gordon Clark.  Alana films her 13th episode today.  Not bad for a child actor in the Southeast.  Not only is it important to support your child in the business but, it is more important to keep the business in perspective and not let it run your life. One day your child is working, the next day they are at school and/or doing chores.

Alana in Atlanta waiting for enough snow to build a snowman…every kid’s dream who lives in the Sunshine state!

Alana

Tuesday, March 17th

It isn’t a great way to start the day with actors who DO NOT READ INSTRUCTIONS! I am sick of it! Do not respond to an audition until you read ALL of the information. I send everything that I can to actors so they can be fully prepared.  The least the actors could do is READ THE ENTIRE audition notice before accepting the audition.

I wrote letters to House Representatives to support House Bill 451. If I can find the time, so can you. Make sure you check www.filmflorida.org daily for legislative updates or call to action where you can help make a difference by sending emails to support the film incentive.

I was contacted by casting for two actors who worked last year on “The Walking Dead” with interest for the actors to return next season.  I guess they were not eaten by zombies.  Dahlia Legault’s episode aired on Sunday.

Dahlia with Michael Cudlitz who plays Abraham on “The Walking Dead”

TWD3

Wednesday, March 18th

I will call this day “Who Knew Mandy Moore Would Become Mandy Moore?”  Mandy was a pre-teen when she shot an industrial for “Disney Quest.”  Who knew Mandy would become a pop singer and actress at the same time that Disney had the right to use her image forever.  Not me and not her agent at the time. Not too long after that I saw a picture of my client Dean Napolitano on a bus advertising “Wet & Wild.” Dean shot a commercial and the client pulled the image without my knowledge and without paying any additional money. I had enough of producers having the right to use a talents image in perpetuity in commercials. Although I was not Mandy’s agent, this situation upset me so I started an agent association. The agents got together and agreed to set booking policies and limit terms on usage.  Guess what?  It worked for many years. Agents stuck to the agreement to work together to make the market better and stand up for the actors’ rights.  Then new agents entered the business and took whatever auditions came in without limiting usage and caring about actor’s careers.  In 2007, I organized another meeting with agents and casting directors to address this situation again.  I told everyone at the meeting if this continued we are “cutting off our nose despite our face” and it will become difficult for actors to make a living in this market. Without actors, agents and casting directors would be out of business.  Steve Benz walked out of the meeting in a huff. And, then something special happened that I will never forget.  Kirsten Dalrymple, founder and owner of Azuree Talent Agency, stood up and let everyone know that in the long run there are more important things to deal with in life than this business.  The following year Kirsten passed away from cancer. Her words have stuck with me through the years.  She was right.  I find myself working in a market where rates are lower and the way a client can use the talent’s image has increased due to changes in advertising. This week a breakdown went out for a Disney commercial that pays $400.00 a day. The standard Disney release gives them the right to use your image forever in all media. I don’t understand why anyone would think this is acceptable since Central Florida is the theme park capital of the world.  I refer back to the diary entry on February 9th.  What are you worth? How much have you put into training, headshots, marketing materials, gas, time and therapy? I wish I had the energy to organize another meeting with agents and casting directors but, I don’t.  Are you in the business for fun and to make a few bucks or are you in it for a career?  Actors are paid for their talent and image. If I hear one more time “I needed the money so I accepted the job” I am going to lose my mind! My advice is GET A JOB…or two or three! Desperation is a disease.  Very few actors make a living in the entertainment business without supplementing their income through other means. You never know where your career will take you so think twice before you accept an audition where you have to sign away the right for your image to be used forever.  This is my opinion so take it for what it is worth.

Thursday, March 19th

It is spring cleaning at the agency this week.  Out with the old in with the new. Time to release talent from representation due to a variety of reasons. If you have not received a “Dump Notice” you are safe. One of the actors was released because I have waited over three years for new headshots.  A few were released because they do not respond to auditions. I know this is shocking but, true. Others because they have too many agents. Some suffer from the disease I call “Desperate & Needy.”  I do not know any agents who want to work with desperate needy actors.  If you are a high maintenance actor you better be a big booker!   The most common reason that most actors are released from the agency is that I seldom hear from them…no updates on what and how they are doing…if they are alive or dead. It is not up to your agent to make sure you are breathing! There is no point representing actors I don’t call who are not proactive with their career. It is the reality of the business…agents dump actors and actors dump agents. I am a 54 year old semi-crazy woman inching closer to menopause every day.  I can’t deal with incompetent people who don’t take this business serious. From the beginning, I wanted to be a small boutique agency that specializes in film, television and commercials. That will never change. I do not understand how agencies represent thousands of models and actors and brag about it. The highest compliment I receive is when a casting director refers actors to me.  It means I am on the right track which is always a good thing.

Friday, March 20th

WE DID IT!  Brevard Talent Group raised over half of the $10,000.00 goal for the Film Florida “Go Fund Me” campaign. THANK YOU to everyone who donated! I was a woman on a mission and with the support of everyone who donated, that made me one very happy agent.

This week I had two things that have never happened before.  Number 1: an appointment confessed she was not wearing panties. TMI.  Number 2: some nut job started a twitter account for one of my actors and pretended he was said actor tweeting away like he was the actor.  Now that is freaky!

It is “Bloodline” week at Brevard Talent Group! The new TV show “Bloodline” is available today.  Lori Wyman cast the series that shot in Key Largo. It is the first time actors can watch the entire series in one day that was filmed in Florida. This will be my first time to “binge watch” on Netflix…I can’t wait! I am looking forward to seeing my clients Dan Bright, Claire Bronson, Larry Bukovey, Tyler Cravens, Andrea Crouch, Josue Gutierrez, Bill Kelly, Fernando Martinez, Jeremy Palko, Zach Robbins and Owen Teague.

Monday, March 23rd

I received the following from casting director Tracy Kilpatrick. “FROM THIS POINT ON IN OUR DEALINGS, I AM REQUESTING THAT YOU AND YOUR TALENT REFRAIN FROM USING THE TITLES OF PROJECTS WE ARE WORKING ON IN ANY TYPE OF SOCIAL MEDIA (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc).  It is important to our producers to preserve the integrity of our projects.  Please let your talent know this immediately and ask them to remove any references to current projects.”

This brings up a good subject about social media.

Yes or no to social media? That is the question all actors need to think about.  It is a given that every audition an actor receives should be considered confidential. The breakdown and sides you receive should remain private and should not be shared with anyone no matter what your intention is.  Do not post any information about the project and storyline.  Never post your auditions on YouTube for the general public to view. A few years ago, lawyers from the television show “Army Wives” contacted agents to have auditions removed from YouTube because members of the “fan club” were finding out about future story lines and blasting it all over the internet.  When in doubt do not post anything on social media.

Once you have booked a job the game has changed. It is important to be relevant in the business and a great way to do that is with social media.

 

I asked social media guru and actor Tom Hillmann to share some social media dos and don’ts.

 

Social Media 101 for Actors

by Tom Hillmann

@tomhillmann

Social media is now being fully embraced by studios and networks to create buzz and publicize their projects. Verifiable reporting shows “live tweeting” ratings for shows which tells advertisers that viewers are watching live, thus seeing commercials (which help pay the bills for free content). http://www.engadget.com/2013/10/07/nielsen-twitter-tv-ratings/

Here Are a Few Social Media Pointers

Auditions – It’s really best not to talk about auditions too much. Remember you are competing. It’s possible your competition wasn’t sent on the audition. Play this game to win. If you do talk about an audition or a call back, NEVER mention the name of the project. EVER. If you have put anything up on social media and used the name of the project without permission, delete it now.

Working – When you are on set, ALWAYS ask a producer what their social media strategy and guidelines are. (If you ask a PA, they will often not know, and tell you “no.”) Some projects encourage Tweets and pics from set, as long as no special makeup, wardrobe, set pieces or story line are given away, and often only if any photos taken on set are held and not released until press begins. If you play it dumb and think it’s “easier to ask forgiveness than permission” in this case, you could be fired and sent home. Millions of dollars are at stake.

Press – When the premiere, or launch of the product you worked on is close, monitor what the studio or company who produced the project is doing, and follow their lead. It’s usually at this time that any pics you took on set are allowed to be released. Mary Rachel Dudley worked on the CBS show “Reckless” and that show actually had a Social Media Specialist email Mary Rachel with guidelines and stills of her to use leading up to the air date of her episode. She “live tweeted” during the broadcast, and got some great compliments from the show’s writer/creator/Executive Producer. Which brings us to the next point:

“It’s About Being Social”

When I was working on the CW show, “Star-Crossed,” William Shatner, a fan of science fiction shows, began “live tweeting” during broadcasts, and he and I have kept in touch over Twitter ever since. An invaluable lesson is that you never know who you will run into when you are being social. Mr. Shatner is known for explaining the concept of Social Media in a very simple way: “It’s About Being Social.” You can watch a show together with the stars, writers, creators, and luminaries like Mr. Shatner, and snark, laugh, and gasp while engaged online. Studios love this of course because people are drawn back to watching shows like a “live event.” Remember to use discretion, courtesy, and decorum. Everything you say is in public and is forever on the internet. Think of it as if you are at an entertainment industry party and stars, writers, producers, directors, studio executives are all there with you. Be polite and on your best behavior. Some social media advisors suggest you keep certain divisive topics off the table like politics, etc.

As a professional actor you can use social media to build relationships which has the added side-effect of promoting your work.

 

 

I suggest you contact Tom at www.TomHillmannMediaDesign.com for websites, demo reels or promo post cards.

Tuesday, March 24th

It is a typical day at the agency.  Actors are not reading information for their auditions and then letting excuses role off their tongue.  I had one actor who I asked to correct the file he sent and then he sent the same exact e-mail without READING the info that was sent the first time.  When am I going to stop preaching about this?  I had another actor who turned down an audition for a Tom Cruise film. Really?

Wednesday, March 25th

I had two appointments today.  Both boys, ages 10 and 15.  I really love this part of my job. You never know what will happen and who I will meet and that includes the parents.  I also made a pact with myself when I turned 50 to be honest with encouraging people to pursue acting or other another career that they would be better suited for. And, I always encourage college for teenagers. The truth hurts…but, doesn’t everyone want to hear the truth and not have smoke blown up their a double ss?

I am sure all agents love to receive set pictures from actors.  It is also a great idea (if I don’t say so myself) that you print a picture or two and send a written thank you note to the casting director who booked you on the project.

Dan Bright with his new wheels on the set of the CW pilot “Cordon” shooting in Atlanta

Dan Bright Cordone

Thursday, March 26th

I am leaving the office early today to attend and speak at “The Gasparilla Film Festival.”  I am looking forward to seeing a lot of films including “In Lieu of Honor” starring Rus Blackwell written by Mary Rachel Dudley. I am so proud of Mary Rachel for making her dreams come true!

Friday, March 27th

Three things I know for sure:

# 1  Actors are their own worst enemy.

# 2  I never want to hear another monologue as long as I live.

# 3  I hold a lot of keys to Pandora’s box.

Monday, March 30th

I had a great time at the “Gasparilla International Film Festival”.  I will confess I have not attended many film festivals.  I was proud of the “BTG” actors who appeared in numerous films that were being screened at GIFF. What struck me the most was the positive energy in the crowd.  The filmmakers were so proud of their films and were networking with other film makers. It was an honor to be invited to speak at the festival.

“Break A Leg” Panel: Julie Schubert (Casting Director), Cinda Snow (Snow Entertainment), Sabyn Mayfield (Panel moderator, director & producer), Kelly Paige (Level Talent Group) and Traci Danielle (Brevard Talent Group)

Gasparilla Panel

Tuesday, March 31st

I will close the month by saying “Be grateful for what you have. Make the most of it what you don’t.” Being 5’ tall did not stop Danny DeVito from moving to New York to become an actor. Being a little person did not stop Peter Dinklage, or Tom Cruise who has dyslexia, or Marlee Matlin who is hearing impaired, or Michael J. Fox who suffers from Parkinson’s disease. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. What is stopping you?