Monday, May 4th
Four months down…eight to go. Thanks to the positive feedback I have received I am inspired to continue to write “The Agent Diaries”. I had no idea writing on a daily basis was work. I have no experience in writing or journaling so this is a new experience for me. It soon became apparent that writing about what happens every day at the agency would become old news with the same stuff I deal with day in and day out. I am glad I can fill space with articles of encouragement and tips for actors. It makes me laugh when someone tells me I am a good writer. This is just stuff in my head that I put on paper to share with all of you.
On another note, it is nice to hear from a casting director that “they learned something new” from me about a contract issue. It has paid off that I had to learn the union contracts for testing to become SAG franchised 26 years ago.
Tuesday, May 5th
I often wonder if actors realize how much time it takes for their agent to submit them on film and television projects, especially when it is a period piece that requires matching actors to historical figures. Agents spend so much time submitting actors on projects hoping they will be requested to audition, as well as sending out auditions and praying that the actor will book the role. It is time consuming to say the least, especially not knowing if the actor will be requested to audition or not. I am not sure how agents know who to submit if they have never met the actor and get to know their bookable essence. And, on top of that, helping to select new headshots and developing talent without receiving a dime in pay. You never know what your agent is doing for you at any given time. Lesson of the day: Appreciate your agent!
It was a busy day for bookings. Congrats to Alkoya Brunson and Hank Stone for booking the feature film “Birth of a Nation”, Nick McNeill will be heading to Atlanta soon to work on the film “Element” part of the Divergent series and Mike Pniewski closed on two bookings today for the Tom Cruise film “Mena” and “The Founder” starring Michael Keaton. #HAPPYHAPPYAGENT!
Wednesday, May 6th
CONGRATULATIONS to Matthew Nardozzi for being accepted to attend Allegheny College and AJ Nickell who will be attending NYU in the fall.
I had a phone call today from an actor in Miami who wanted to submit to me because he heard I was a “wolf”. Hey…Hey…Hey…What happened to the sheep’s clothing? I guess I will take that as a compliment because I know I have been called far worse.
All agents appreciate when you take the time to book out. If you are not booked out you are booked in and available 24/7. When you book out, let your agent know if you will have access to email and voice mail or not.
Thursday, May 7th
One of my actors booked a role. After receiving information from production, the actress was not sure how to read the DOOD and one liner schedule. When an actor is booked, the agent sends casting the actor’s contact info, who then sends the deal memo to production. Production distributes the information to different departments, such as wardrobe and travel. The actor will receive the DOOD (day out of days) schedule which tells them when they are working. The one liner schedule lets the actor know what scenes are being shot on what day and in what order. The DOOD schedule will state the following:
SW = Start Work
SWD = Start Work Drop
SWF = Start Work Finish
W = Work
H = Hold
WD = Work Drop
PW – Pick Up Work
PWF = Pick Up Work Finish
WF = Work Finish
So for those who did not know this consider that you learned something new today. On another note, when you receive a phone call from production for whatever reason, make a note of their name and phone number. Often actors call me and say “wardrobe called me for my sizes but, did not schedule the fitting”. I ask who did you talk to and it drives me crazy when the answer is “I don’t know”. Got it?
Thursday, May 7th
By far, the best part of being an agent is telling every actor what they yearn to hear, “CONGRATULATIONS! YOU BOOKED THE JOB”. The worst part is saying “The role was cut”. Keep in mind this is not a personal decision against you. It just happens…ALL THE TIME! And, sooner or later, this will happen to you. So, don’t cry over spilled milk…pick up the pieces and move on. Take the high road, with a smile on your face, knowing that it was you they wanted until the script changed. The producers, director and casting directors know you booked the job. In the long run that matters. And, if you book a job and find out you end up on the cutting room floor, tell your agent immediately. This means you can be submitted to work on the same show again.
Monday, May 11th
Yesterday was the 9th year anniversary that my brother passed away. Randy was an actor who received his BFA from University of Florida and his masters from University of Southern California. Yes, I grew up with an actor in the house. He had some success in the business but, instead chose to drink himself to death. Lost souls don’t want to be saved. What a waste of a life. I am not sharing this story for your sympathy. To be honest, I did not like my brother. In my opinion just because you are related to someone doesn’t mean you have to let them into your life. I wonder how many people reading this are shaking their head yes. I tell you this because you only have one life, if you do not believe in reincarnation, so make the most of it. If you do believe in reincarnation, then strive to make the most out of this life so you don’t leave the next soul with a pile of crap to deal with. A few years ago I met Michael Crider. Michael’s resume showed that he went to University of Florida and I asked him if he knew my brother. He said “Yes, we were roommates”. Michael told me he has been looking for Randy on Facebook. I told him to stop looking. What a small world!
Tuesday, May 12th
Principal or Principle?
I constantly receive resumes with “principal” spelled incorrectly. I asked actress Terri Ganey (who has her doctorate degree in education) for help in defining this common mistake. Thanks, Terri!
When using princiPAL or princiPLE on your resume, here’s a little trick to help you keep it straight. The noun principal refers to presiding position or rank; the adjective principle refers to basic truth or a rule.
If trying to keep track of nouns and adjectives is just too much, try to keep this in mind:
FRIENDLY ACTORS MAKE GOOD princiPALS.
Wednesday, May 13th
BTG actors are burning up the roads with callbacks in Miami and Atlanta this week. It is good to know that the economy profits when actors have callbacks. Also, BTG actors are being submitting to studio/network for approval on different projects. This means the actor is one step closer to booking. You would be surprised how many “powers that be” must give their stamp of approval for an actor to find out if they booked or not – even for a few lines. The approval process can be different depending on the project. The general rule for television and film is casting requests the actor to audition, actor accepts and sends in the audition for casting to view. Casting narrows down selects and sends auditions to the producers, director, and showrunner. Film is a director’s medium and they have more power to approve the actor with the studio and producers weighing in on the decision. After they have made their final selections, they either book the actor straight from tape, invite the actor to attend a callback or pass. It is a miracle anyone gets booked knowing the process it takes to get to that point!
Sometimes I have an occasional actor who declines an audition and wants to wait for a bigger role. This happened this week for “The Walking Dead”. I don’t understand how any actor who needs credits and footage for a reel passes on the most watched show in the world. WHATEVER! To each his own.
On another subject, you know what is really disappointing? The film “The Infiltrator” that shot in Tampa, hired an Atlanta extras casting company. We have extras casting companies in Florida who work hard to make a living. Why bring someone in? TOTAL BS! Thanks for letting me vent.
Thursday, May 14th
The Orlando Fringe Festival is in full gear. I am going to see a few shows, including one tonight that casting director John Peros produced. I got to and want to support those who support me!
Two more bookings for the feature film “Element”…congrats to Alana Cavanaugh and Michael Christopher Rodney. This is their first booking on a major studio film. This is proof that true talent stands out. Another one of my actors booked the zombie show today…I called him at 2:00 and said, hit the road, you work tomorrow. One of the producers personally requested Lance Tafelski for the role…an offer you can’t refuse. All he said was, “Ok, Chief…I am on my way”. Another example of why you need to have a flexible job that will work with the life of an actor. I will share a little back story with you. Before Lance agreed to be submitted to network for approval he had to decide to cancel a trip to Germany to see ACDC or work on the show. Being a classic rock fan I said “Go to the concert”. However, knowing that opportunities like this do not come around often and Lance cancelled his trip. Kudos to Lance for being a committed actor and putting career over fun!
It is a great week when the networks announce their fall line-up. The ABC show “Quanitico”, NBC show “Game of Silence” and CW show “Cordon” (now called Containment) filmed in Atlanta and “Rosewood” (formerly the Untitled Autopsy Project) that shot in Miami, all received pickups. Let’s pray the shows film in the Southeast.
Friday, May 15th
I am officially naming today “Three Years and Five Months Day”. FINALLY…the actors received payment from the film “Blindpass”. This shows that the union can sign producers to an agreement but, they cannot force anyone to write a check. I was not giving up on this claim. What a farce that the producer waited for the state tax credit to be paid in order to pay the actors. This is a gross injustice of how our film incentive program is meant to work. And, now we have NO MONEY in the program for legit producers to film in Florida.
Taping auditions is for the birds! I miss the days that actors pre-read with casting or went straight to callbacks. I had a talent submit to me who moved to Florida from Los Angeles. She was shocked to find out you have to pay to put yourself on tape. I said, “This is how we roll in the South”. What else can I say? I know actors get discouraged spending so much money taping and not booking. At least it is cheaper than getting in the car and driving 500 miles for the initial audition. If you don’t play the game, you don’t have the chance to book the job.
Monday, May 18th
I highly recommend everyone watch the new ABC show “American Crime” starring Felicity Huffmann and Timothy Hutton. Richard Cabral (who plays Hector) and Caitlin Gerard (who plays Aubry) are unbelievable! I hope their agents realize what a gift it is to represent such amazing actors. The storyline is relevant to what is going on in the world today. The last episode of the season, # 11, is worth Emmy nominations. The show was picked up for a second season. This is a must see for all actors!
Tuesday, May 19th
Have you seen the previews for the film “Tomorrowland” starring my future husband George Clooney? Knowing the film was shot partly in Central Florida should make all of us smile. You know what sucks? The new ABC show “The Astronaut Wives” was shot in Louisiana due to the lack of a competitive film tax credit in Florida. WAKE UP TALLAHASSEE! It is time to get with the program and approve a tax credit program. We will know soon, once the special session ends, if any money will be allocated to the program. I am not holding my breath.
When your agent calls you to give you the great news that you have a callback, don’t bitch and moan that you have to drive out of state, whether it is one line or five pages. That is the last thing I want to hear. I can’t force you to go to the callback so, don’t shoot the messenger. I understand that sometimes you can’t go but, getting in the room with the director and casting director will up your odds of booking. It will also help you establish a better relationship for the project you are being called back or for future projects. All I can do is let you make the decision. Actors must expect every audition to have an in- person callback. It is a bonus if casting books off a taped audition. Consider the option to tape for the first read as a perk.
Wednesday, May 20th
I am so excited. Tonight is the first cold reading workshop for BTG actors. I have put a lot of time and effort preparing for the workshop. I am the first to say that I am not a teacher. I will leave that to the professionals who I have immense respect for. However, I believe I have great knowledge that I want to share that will hopefully inspire actors to continue to improve their craft and business. And, I want to provide the opportunity for “BTG” actors who are pursuing film and television to come together to sharpen their skills. Every group is different which makes every workshop unique in how the actors contribute and mix with each other’s personalities.
Three of my young performers were requested to test for a new Nickelodeon show. I am waiting for the broadcast business affairs department to send the contracts. You have to finalize the contract before the network will test the actor. Testing is never a guarantee that the actor will book the job.
Thursday, May 21st
Some of the things an actor should never say to their agent
I never book through that casting director so I will pass on the audition.
Do I have to have the dialogue memorized?
Do I need to bring a headshot?
Can you ask casting why I did not have a callback?
Can you call casting and what I am doing wrong?
Jayne Alagano, Michael Urbanski & Sheryl Carbonell on the set of the “Kitchenaid” Infomercial
Friday, May 22nd
After doing this job for a quarter of a century I seldom feel proud of my accomplishments but, I am going to toot my horn and say “Go Traci” for booking four actors who are working on The Walking Dead this week. Two as recurring guest stars. Not bad for a small agency in Florida run by one person. Of course this would not be possible without the hard working dedicated actors that I am honored to represent.
Tuesday, May 26th
I am working to catch up on everything I blew off for the holiday weekend. I think a three day weekend should be the norm not the exception. Too bad we do not get a month off for “summer holiday”. We are overworked and underpaid in this country!
When you leave someone a message, make sure you state your first and last name and reason for calling. I received this message: “It’s Mike. Call me back”. MIKE WHO? Since I represent a few Mikes, I have no idea which one called me.
Wednesday, May 27th
To shake hands or not…that is the question of the day. When an actor enters the room, it can become uncomfortable not knowing if they should extend their hand or not. I asked a few actors on callbacks in Atlanta to share their experience:
When I went into the room, I just politely waved and said hello, then waited to see what they would do. I didn’t shake anyone’s hand.
I often shake hands but it did not feel right today. I usually wait to make sure it’s appropriate. Takes a split second. They all had their hands under the table. They made no move but it was still a very friendly encounter.
How odd you should mention that. It went through my mind when I walked into the room whether I should shake their hands. I usually wait until they extend theirs, as I did today.
Since I was a part of the first group, I was able to see the director and producers enter the room. In fact, they all greeted me with a hello. Upon entering the audition room, no one reached out to shake hands. We exchanged greetings and my headshot was handed over.
Casting director John Peros sums it up best: “NO HAND SHAKING, NO HUGGING, NO GROPING, NO KISSING OR TOUCHING. A simple general greeting to the room is all you need. That goes for everyone, whether you are 6 or 86”.
Thursday, May 28th
All three performers turned down the offer for the new Nickelodeon show I wrote about on May 20th. This is a first for three offers for a series regular roles were made in one week and all of the parents passed. I don’t blame them. It is a hard decision to make when signing your child to an exclusive deal for six cycles. I support their decision 100%. I always ask myself what I would do and when the answer is hell no, then I know we are all on the same page. Your agent cannot negotiate on an actor’s behalf if they are desperate for money and worry about “burning a bridge” with casting. First of all, don’t depend on this business to make a living; second, casting doesn’t care one way or another if you accept or pass. It is not personal to them. They are doing a job just like you are. Casting directors turn down projects when the terms are not acceptable. If they can do it so can you.
The agency is ending the month on a positive note with more bookings this week. Mary Rachel Dudley, Elizabeth Fendrick and Tom Nowicki booked the film “Confirmation” starring Kerry Washington, Steve Garland worked on the tv show “Satisfaction, Adam Vernier will be heading to Atlanta next week to work on the same show and Mike Pniewski booked the new PBS show “Mercy Street” shooting in Richmond, Virginia. THANK YOU for keeping me in business!
Friday, May 29th
Dear Lord, please forgive me for my sins. I have lied for actors too many times to count. Remember when I said the actor was not avail for the shoot dates? That was a lie. The truth is he wanted to wait for a bigger role. And, when I told casting the actor was not available since she could not get off work, the truth was the script was not good. Or, when I said the actor was sick and cancelled the audition? Another lie. They were hungover. How about the time I said, “The actor has a flat tire and is running late”. Truth was they slept in late. Why do I tell little white lies? Plain and simple – to cover for the actor. An agent needs to have your back. It is part of their job. I am glad I don’t believe in hell or I know I would end up sitting at the “Fire Bar & Grill” slugging down shots with other agents, singing my favorite Joni Mitchell song. Joni wrote “Free Man In Paris” in David Geffen’s honor. If you don’t know who David is, I suggest you look him up. He has had an amazing career in the music and entertainment industry. I wish I had his chutzpah!
The way I see it he said
You just can’t win it
Everybody’s in it for their own gain
You can’t please ’em all
There’s always somebody calling you down
I do my best
And I do good business
There’s a lot of people asking for my time
They’re trying to get ahead
They’re trying to be a good friend of mine
I was a free man in Paris
I felt unfettered and alive
There was nobody calling me up for favors
And no one’s future to decide
You know I’d go back there tomorrow
But for the work I’ve taken on
Stoking the star maker machinery
Behind the popular song
I deal in dreamers
And telephone screamers
Lately I wonder what I do it for
If l had my way
I’d just walk through those doors
Down the Champs Elysées *
Going cafe to cabaret
Thinking how I’ll feel when I find
That very good friend of mine
I was a free man in Paris
I felt unfettered and alive
Nobody was calling me up for favors
No one’s future to decide
You know I’d go back there tomorrow
But for the work I’ve taken on
Stoking the star maker machinery
Behind the popular song