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Monthly Archives: July 2015

The Agent Diaries – June 2015

Monday, June 1st

It is hard to believe that Universal Studios opened 25 years ago. I remember going to the grand opening with Ashley Dane-Michael, President of Extras Only; the premiere extras casting company in Orlando. Extras had to supply a polaroid picture to have on file to be considered for work. That tells you how much time has changed. Ashley and I had a great time at Universal. We were on the hunt to find Sylvester Stallone. I have no idea why but, since we heard he was there we set out looking for Rocky. We finally gave up and called it a night to remember. The first show to film at Universal was “The New Leave It To Beaver” cast by Mel Johnson. That was when the press called Florida “Hollywood East”, when Florida was third in the nation for film production. Those days are GONE!

Tuesday, June 2nd

I heard about “Mega Bus” and wanted to share the information with you. It is another choice when deciding if you should drive or fly to Atlanta. You get to sit back, work on your lines and let someone else do the driving.  Thanks to Anna Talakkottur for sending the links to me. MegaBus Official Website MegaBus Facebook Page

Alkoya Brunson on set today working on the feature film
“Birth of a Nation” shooting in Savannah, Georgia

Alkoya-Brunson

Wednesday, June 3rd

A big shout out to Steve DuMouchel and John Wayne Shafer for the very fast turnaround time today to tape an audition. It is not always possible to meet a fast deadline but, when actors go above and beyond the call of duty I really appreciate it. I know all agents do!

Thursday, June 4th

Occasionally an actor asks if a role they were requested to audition for is guest star or recurring. This happened today. Unless it is specified on the breakdown I have no way to find out. Don’t get me wrong, there are great actors in the Southeast who warrant guest star roles but, most of the roles in television are co-star.  If you need to build your resume and reel I would not turn down any opportunity that comes your way.  You can’t build relationships with producers and crew if you are not on set. Roles that are booked as recurring can change to one episode. Ask Will Haze who recently went through this situation on “Finding Carter”.  And, roles that were supposed to be one episode turn into multiple episodes.  Ask Dan Bright, Claire Bronson, Tyler Cravens, Bill Kelly, Fernando Martinez, Jeremy Palko, Zach Robbins and Owen Teague who worked on “Bloodline”. And, Roger Floyd who worked on four episodes of “Graceland” this season. Everyone thought they would work on one episode and ended up on multiple episodes. I would bet money they are glad they did not let their ego get in the way and wait for a larger and/or recurring role. I know their agent is! Episodic television is a fast paced world of its own.  Writers are tweaking scripts until the last minute.  It is part of the process.  There are times actors have booked a role with lots of dialogue and due to one reason or another have their lines cut or they receive script revisions and have more dialogue.  There is no rhyme or reason when this happens so don’t take it personal. It is out of your control and part of an actor’s life.

waitingfortheperfectrole

Friday, June 5th

The Hollywood standard for script distribution can be confusing. When an actor is cast production should send a script to them. Sometimes only the character scenes are sent and not the entire script due to confidentially.  In the old days scripts were sent in the mail or Fed X.  Technology has made it possible for actors to have scripts and revisions sent to them via email. Writers are constantly tweaking the script and it is normal to receive numerous revisions up to the last minute. The top of each page will state the draft and color.  Below is a list of revisions and the order they are sent in so you can keep track of updates in case it affects your character.

White (Initial Script)
Blue
Pink
Yellow
Green
Goldenrod
Salmon
Cherry
Buff
Tan

Monday, June 8th

John Wayne Shafer at his wardrobe fitting for “Devious Maids”. John pictured with Ashley Dorough (assistant costume designer and Emmie Holmes (costume designer).
THANK YOU to everyone who works in the wardrobe department.
Without you, actors would not look their best on camera.

JohnShaferDeviousMaids

Tuesday, June 9th

My new favorite show of the summer is “Aquarius” starring David Duchovny. Gethin Anthony plays the role of Charles Manson. Another amazing actor from London working in America. The acting, writing and the music is great…it is a must see for all actors. I remember growing up when there were three networks ABC, CBS and NBC. Shows started in September and ran until May when re-runs aired in the summer. If you missed a show you knew you could watch it in the summer. “Aquarius” is the first network show to air first in primetime and immediately afterwards you could binge watch on the NBC app. The show will also continue to air all episodes on Thursday nights. I guess this is a sign of the future. I can’t imagine television within the next decade. I have a feeling movie theaters will be a thing of the past.

Wednesday, June 10th

Some days are super busy at the agency and some days are slow. I never know what will happen in the next five minutes. We are in the summer slow period for commercials. Summer is a great time to regroup and set up appointments to meet new actors. It is also a great time for actors to update their marketing materials and study their craft, including improv, which is good for all actors regardless of age and level. HINT…HINT…HINT.

Thursday, June 11th

It is time for “Throwback Thursday”.  This was my first “celebrity encounter” with Tony Dow at Silver Springs, Florida in 1965.  My brother and I were in awe that we met Wally from “Leave it to Beaver”. Television sure has changed since the showed started airing in 1957. No nudity or foul language, back when life was simple and your parents did not have to “monitor” what you watched. Back in the good ol’ days!

TonyDowJune11

Friday, June 12th

Forget work today, I am taking off early to see the “Rolling Stones”. WHOO HOO! Check this off my bucket list! What an amazing career the Stones have had…they are still going strong after 50 years of performing across the world. I am going to be a honky tonk woman tonight!

Monday, June 15th

I went to the “Skyway Film Festival” over the weekend. Congratulations to Susan Gallagher for producing her first short “Hidden Heart”. Well done Susan! It was a great time to network and watch short films as well as the feature film “The Turtle Tale” produced and directed by Luc Campeau. It is interesting to see how creative producers are. I loved “The Turtle Tale” starring Lily Cardone, Mary Rachel Dudley, Noah Schnacky and Ricky Wayne. I can’t wait to see the film once it is finished. Pre and post production take a long time. The making of the movie is the fun part!

A-Turtle-Tale-Official-Poster-3600x5400(2)

Tuesday, June 16th

As Porky Pig says “Th-th-th-That’s all Folks! Once again, for the third year in a row ZERO dollars out of a 78.7 BILLION dollar budget was allocated for the film/tv tax credit program. The well has run dry! I am, as I know many of you are very disappointed. Thanks to “Americans for Prosperity”, aka The Koch Brothers, who contributed to derailing our efforts to be a viable place to film, as well as our elected officials who did not support the program. After three years of trying it is apparent that filming in Florida is not a priority. Even though Governor Scott ran on the platform to “create jobs” he and the rest of our elected officials have decimated our industry and need to be run out of office as soon as possible. If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times, “They don’t get it”. On the bright side, Governor Scott cannot run for office again. When did “We the People” become “We the special interest who control our state and country”? We need more Senator Nancy Deterts and Representative Jeff Millers who sponsored the bills, less of the special interests who are paid large sums of money to sway a vote for their own personal gain. However, I am really proud of the hard work from Film Florida and from everyone in the entertainment industry who fought for this cause, from sending emails, making phone calls, donating money and attending the “Rally in Tally”. It was well worth the effort. Not many people are left in the business when Florida was known as “Hollywood East”. The new slogan should be “Florida Who?…head north to the film friendly State of Georgia where we welcome you with open arms”.

Wednesday, June 17th

When an actor calls and tells me that “A friend saw their commercial on TV” and wants me to check on payment, I need to know what time the commercial aired, date and station. The majority of the time the answer is “I don’t know” or “I can’t remember”. The information is needed in order to file a claim with the union or contact the ad agency regarding status for payment. When you have a union commercial running keep a log of the information in case a claim needs to be filed. I have to follow up on payment often and can’t do my job without the actor doing the same.

Thursday, June 18th

I am heading to Tampa today to teach my cold reading workshop at Performer’s Studio Workshop. This will be the fifth one I have taught so far. The last one at the agency was last night. Everyone seemed to have a good time and it was a much needed push from me to get actors motivated to train and update their marketing materials.

Friday, June 19th

BTG actors have been busy this week working in Florida, Atlanta and the Carolinas. Yep…we pretty much cover the Southeast. Michael Christopher Rodney is returning from working on “Element”; Tamara Austin worked with Kerry Washington on “Confirmation” last week; Mary Rachel Dudley and Tom Nowicki are working next week on “Confirmation”; Frank Licari and Mike Pniewski worked with Tom Cruise on the feature film “Mena”; Blayze Hippensteel is heading to Charleston next week to work on the new HBO show “Vice Principals”; Mark Lainer booked a role on “Graceland”. Roger Floyd will be heading to Wilmington, NC to work on “Under the Dome”. I am truly blessed for all of my hard working actors who keep me in business!

Monday, June 22nd

The trickle-down effect has started due to ZERO film/tv tax credit money in the State of Florida. I took a long look at the adults represented by the agency and made cuts across the board, releasing actors who do not have current headshots and/or reels in order to compete in the Southeast. Everyone who is pursuing film/tv, your game plan has changed in order to get a piece of the pie. Actors who are dedicated, driven and determined will do well…those that aren’t not so much. Perception is reality! Without the state having a tax credit program we are no longer in the running for projects unless they have to film in Florida which is rare. It is time for anyone who is on the fence about pursuing this business to put on the brakes and decide to do something else with your life. Trust me…you will be glad you did.

Mark Lainer on the set “Graceland”
pictured with Aaron Tviet and Serinda Swan

MarkLainerGraceland

Tuesday, June 23rd

Today is the tenth year anniversary of my mom Lucy’s passing. I was in the middle of moving to Orlando to open up my office in downtown (Thanks to my dear friend and guardian angel Ron Legler) when my mom was dying from cancer. It was not an easy time in my life. A new chapter opened and one closed. I am not sure where my strength came from but, since I come from a long line of strong women, I guess I can thank my ancestors. I would not be where I am today if it was not for my mother opening the door to me to work in the business. Thanks Mom…I love and miss you!

momjune23
Wednesday, June 24th

A few notes to actors on how they can move up the ladder in an agency.

You must confirm receipt of all auditions. Agents need an immediate response. When an actor fails to respond this lets me know “acting” is not a priority. If you accept an audition you must show up. If you are sick you must let your agent know ASAP so they can find a replacement. Lost slots for agents = lost income = not happy agent = actor moves down the ladder.

You must be on time for all auditions and meet deadlines for taped auditions. You would think this is common sense. Always give yourself extra time for weather or travel delays. Showing up late can throw you off when you walk in the room for your audition or callback. Believe it or not this happens all the time.

Show up to each audition prepared and leave when you are done. Don’t bring family or friends with you. It is a job interview, not social hour.

Read your emails from the beginning to the end. Do not scan emails while you are at a traffic light on your cell phone. Read all attachments before accepting the audition. Before you ask a question make sure the information is not on the audition notice.

Keep your headshots updated. If you do not look like your headshot or need new looks, it is time to fork over money and invest in your career.

Do not call the office, hang up and then call your agents cell phone. That is very frustrating. Cell phones are for emergency only. Also, after hours and on weekends, do not call or text unless it is an emergency. Give your agent well deserved down time, so they can recharge for the next work day.

Once you leave the audition or submit your audition tape forget about it. While it benefits all involved to move on, the person it most benefits is YOU. Calling or emailing your agent to find out if the project has been booked takes up time we do not have and then agents have to go into “drama therapy” on why the actor did not book or what they are doing wrong. Trust me, if casting wants to book you, your agent will find you come hell or high water.

Communicate with your agent. Out of site = out of mind. Actors who take the time to keep their agent updated on what they are doing shows you are pro-active in your career.

Don’t procrastinate. Take care of what you need to take care of as soon as possible. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

Follow up with your agent after your job. Agents seldom have the time or opportunity to go to sets. We want to know how your experience went and share in your journey. Don’t forget to wrap up each job by sending thank you notes, update your actors access page and email your updated resume to your agent.

Be patient with your agent. We are multi-tasking machines and the office is run like an emergency room. Casting notices get immediate attention. Wanting to talk about your career and what is “going on” is not an emergency. A good agent should always make time for their talent to discuss their career or address any concerns. Put yourself in our shoes and make our job easier, not harder.

Thursday, June 25th

A few new shows are starting to cast. “The Detour” airing on TBS starts shooting July 7th in Atlanta and “Outcast” airing on Cinemax, will film in Rock Hill, South Carolina will start production in August. “The Vampire Diaries” will begin their seventh season July 10th; “The Originals” starts filming the third season on July 15th; “Nashville” will start filming their fourth season the end of July; “The Walking Dead” is in production until late fall; “The Inspectors” and “Vice Principals” are filming in Charleston; “Devious Maids” and “Satisfaction” in Atlanta, “Under The Dome” in Wilmington, NC and “Graceland” will be wrapping soon, which may be the last season for the show to film in Florida. “Bloodline” is will start production end of the summer in Key Largo. I heard they are only filming half the season in Florida. I hope that is a rumor and not true…time will tell.

Friday, June 26th

Thanks to casting director Lori Wyman for sending this to me. I am glad to know I am not the only one who believes actors who are serious need to continue to train.

“One of my biggest concerns for actors in Florida is that they don’t keep up with their training. Oh sure, they take a class one weekend and think that should keep them going for the whole year. OR WORSE, several years. I conduct castings on a pretty consistent basis and one of the things I notice is that oftentimes actors use their auditions as their weekly training. NO!!! Training with an acting coach or being in a class with regularity is imperative to keep up your craft. I equate it to exercise. You can spend a year losing weight, working out, getting yourself in shape, but what happens when you stop training, stop going to the gym, get off your healthy eating? You get soft and out of shape again. You cannot ride on last year’s exercise regimen. And then what happens if you haven’t done squats or sit-ups for 6 months. Well, you’re gonna hurt for many days afterwards. This same analogy can be applied to your acting training. An actor must keep up the training. I have heard, “Well, there’s nothing going on, so I’ll wait until I have an audition before I take a class.” So the same can be applied to your gym training. It’s not beach weather now, so I can get soft and out of shape. Do you wait until 3 days before that big pool party before you try to get your body back in swimsuit shape? You better not!!!! An actor must always keep his craft sharp so that when that golden opportunity arises and they have that all-important audition, they are ready with everything they’ve got.

Monday, June 29th

The Hollywood Reporter’s headline in the June 12th edition was titled “Agency Wars”. The article could have been an episode of “Scandal”. Lawsuits, secret meetings and revenge, UTA’s ‘midnight raid’ on CAA was just the tip of a new Hollywood power struggle as private equity and pressure to grow by (almost) any means redefine the cutthroat talent business. WOW! To think I was once called a “poacher” by an agent in Central Florida! I am glad the majority of agents in Florida get along with each other and are in this business for the right reason, because we believe in the actors we represent.

You never know what the universe has in store for an actor when they book a job. Jordan Woods-Robinson, so far, has worked on seven episodes of “The Walking Dead” and was invited to participate in the “Walker Stalker” convention in Orlando over the weekend. Another great example of an actor living and working in the Southeast!

Tuesday, June 30th

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