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Monthly Archives: September 2015

The Agent Diaries – August 2015

Monday, August 3rd

An actor never knows who they are going to meet on a set, thus the reason it is important to be nice and treat everyone with respect, from the bottom to the top of the totem pole.  Ryann Fraser was a production assistant on “Dolphin Tale 2” and worked with Tom Nowicki.  Ryann has written and is directing her first independent film “Far Out” shooting in New York, which Tom is honored to have a role offered to him, which he gratefully accepted.  Best of luck to Ryann on her journey!

Tuesday, August 4th

Erin Beute, Steve Garland and Tom Hillmann booked the new Cinemax show “Outcast”.  Production is flying Erin to Los Angeles for a fitting.  Alana Cavanaugh is heading to Atlanta next week to finish working on “Element”.  Andrea Canny is going to Miami next week to work on the new Nickelodeon show “WITS Academy”.  WOW – Andrea broke the record with friends congratulating her on the BTG Facebook page.  Last time I checked, Andrea had 88 comments and the post reached 12.8 thousand people.  The July edition of “The Agent Diaries” had 6 comments and reached 1.1 thousand people.  I need a new publicist…time to fire myself!  All joking aside, I love seeing actors support each other!  After all we are all in this crazy screwed up business together.

Wednesday, August 5th

Actors should always thank a casting director for booking them on a job.  Either through a written thank you note and/or a small gift to express your gratitude.  I received this from Dan Bright regarding his thank you note to Tracy Kilpatrick and her casting associate Blair Foster.  Dan shared with me, “It’s goodness for everyone all the way around.  We all work hard in a business that can feel slippery, fleeting, manic and unsettled–on a good day! How fortunate to have experiences and opportunities like the one with “Confirmation” to give a sense of continuity–personally, creatively and financially”.  Well said, Dan!

Thursday, August 6th

This has been a busy week for actors at the agency.  Over 60 auditions for film/TV went out.  None are filming in the State of Florida.  Over and over again, I see the same actors requested by casting to audition.  Why is that?  Because they are talented and professional.  It is not a coincidence that casting directors request actors whom they have booked on previous projects, since they know they can close the deal.  It proves that God given talent, drive, determination and dedication pays off.

Friday, August 7th

It is time for excuse of the week and a lesson in what not to do.  Calling your agent 24 hours later to acknowledge an audition, saying you did not have time to respond sooner is inexcusable.  As kindly as possible, which is not the easiest thing for me to do when I am once again shocked with this type of behavior, I told the actor this is not acceptable…PERIOD.  If this happens, I hope you are “called out” by your agent so that you learn a lesson and change your work ethic.  I then advised said actor to read the Agent Diaries to learn the valuable lesson of “The Early Bird Gets the Worm”.

Monday, August 10th

I was recently accused by a producer of being “demanding”.  I thought I was doing my job and negotiating on the actor’s behalf.  After all, isn’t that part of an agent’s job?  When a film starts out union and then goes nonunion you better have an agent who is demanding so you, the actor, doesn’t get screwed over. Asking for overtime to be paid is not demanding; calling the director and asking that he not contact my actors asking for them to go FiCore is not demanding.  I won’t have to worry about this in the future because I have retired from working on nonunion films   I don’t need to hear over and over again that the script is fantastic because it came to the producer in “a dream”. Who cares where the idea came from!  I care that the actors be treated with the respect they deserve.  There is not enough money to be made on low-budget projects for the actor and agent. This is my opinion, so take it for what is worth.

Tuesday, August 11th

I asked a few of the taping services that I recommend to send suggestions in order to give the actor the best advantage possible to stand out in the sea of competition.  Unless you are proficient in home taping use a taping service.  I cannot tell you how many times I have refused to upload auditions for casting to view due to bad lighting, sound, too large of a file and a bad reader.  While the reader is not the focus of the audition, make sure they are a great actor since they can make or break your audition.  If you decide to set up a home taping space, you must have the same great lighting, sound and reader.  The audition must be broadcast quality.  Do not give the casting director any reason not to submit you to the director and producers.  Casting directors work by process of elimination.  They will watch your audition until you do something that distracts them or no longer holds their interest.  A lot of the advice below is common sense but, it is good to know what is expected of the actor before taping.

PART ONE

Vivian Fleming-Alvarez

  • Be on time.
  • Bring a copy of the sides for the reader and for yourself.
    Don’t come to the taping service to practice. Treat this time as you would a callback or live audition.
  • Do your audition, make sure you take your belongings and leave for the next actor to audition.
  • Don’t bring sheets to change the background.
  • When you schedule an appointment, send the instructions you received from your agent.
  • Bring at least two clothing options in case you don’t like the look.
  • Strive to get your audition on the first take.

Jordan Woods-Robinson

www.bookfromtape.com

  • As a taping service, the simplest audition I have is when an actor shows up and says “I have this option and this option.” We record both options, review them, and I send one, or both, off.  This is what a taping should be: you have already put your work in as an actor and you simply need to hire someone’s services as a reader, a camera person, and an editor.
  • The hardest audition is when a person shows up clearly undecided in their choices as an actor and then expects me to craft their audition for them.  I’m fully happy to do that but that is a coaching session which carries a different mindset (and price point) than a taping.
  • Even worse is when an actor shows up un-memorized. There is nothing I can do to help you save the audition.  Don’t get me wrong, I love not being 100% memorized as an actor because I feel that helps the scene come to life.  But if you can’t even paraphrase the BEATS of the scene, you need to go back to the drawing board.

Wednesday, August 12th

PART TWO

From Anonymous

  • We LOVE it when you come with your taping instructions and sides printed out and highlighted for us.  This includes highlighting our dialogue, slate info, file naming specifics, and email address(es) to send finalized file.
  • We LOVE it when you show up on time.
  • We LOVE it when you have your payment ready to go!
  • We LOVE it when you’re prepared.  Show up camera ready and good to go!

Avis-Marie Barnes

  • I like when actors make the appointment to give a time that is good for them. Be specific and give a first  and second option that is good for you.
  • Always, once you made the appointment, forward the email you received about the audition to the videographer.
  • Everyone knows deadlines are getting faster and faster and sometimes you cannot in the time allowed learn and memorize the material given, especially if it is page after page of script.   I love helping you realize some things missed in the script when you come to the audition but, do your homework. Make some decisions about your character before you come.  If there are more than two or three characters in the room with you, know where they are in the room and how you feel about them.  Do your homework, practice your cold read techniques and know your character.
  • Once an appointment is made please arrive on time.  Call or text if you are going to be late.  Do not assume it is acceptable to arrive early without checking first.  Some clients do not like to have auditions attended by anyone other than myself and ringing the doorbell can interrupt another actors audition.

Andi Matheny

  • First of all – you must be memorized.  I did a session with an actress who was perfect for the part but because she wasn’t memorized we spent the entire coaching session trying to salvage the audition with her many slip-ups – so we were never able to get into the zone of being able to coach her into an even better performance.
  • Having said that – don’t stress out about being letter perfect either!  A little paraphrasing is okay – the casting directors aren’t sitting there with the script checking you word for word – they are looking for your connection and essence.  There’s nothing worse than doing a good three-page audition and right before the end of page 3 stopping (and blowing) your read because you said “if” instead of “but.”  So – always know the context of what you’re talking about and always save your audition with a paraphrase, especially towards the end.
  • ALWAYS have a moment after.  One of my pet peeves is an actor giving a great audition and freezing – or posing – in a frozen position at the end.  They are doing the “cut” themselves!  No, no, NO!  You keep the action going – logically – either with a look, an afterthought, a phrase, a breath – something.  But never NEVER freeze!

Thursday, August 13th

It is a miracle!  I left the confines of my comfy chair and desk and went out for lunch not once, but twice this week.  Yesterday, with Logan Allen and the president of his fan club, his mom Mindy.  Logan is looking forward to returning to work on the Nickelodeon show “Talia’s Kitchen” shooting in Miami.  And, today, with Owen Fader and his parents Terry & Tammy.  Logan and Owen are two great young performers with manners to match. Watch out, the girls are going to start crawling out of the woodwork!

loganandowen

Friday, August 14th

Who needs “Throwback Thursday” when you have “Venting Friday”!  Why does an actor list Brevard Talent Group as their agent on Actors Access when I have never heard of them?  Why do people call my office to see if I received their submission and turn around and call my cell when it clearly states for emergency only?  Why are actors sent clear instructions on taping and they constantly fail to read and follow directions?  Why does an actor text me asking to call them and two minutes later call me? Why do actors text before and after work hours for non-emergencies?  And, most importantly, why did my boyfriend leave my leftover burrito in the car when I wanted it for lunch today?

Today ended with the great news that Alana Cavanaugh booked a guest star role for the FOX show “Sleepy Hollow”.  The role was cast out of New York.  Go Alana for beating out girls from the Big Apple!  Thank goodness Alana’s mom, Helene, has the patience of a saint.  Each day this week we would hear a bit of news…such as, does Alana have a reel?  The answer was yes (one of few actors 8 year old young performes to have one, thanks to two seasons on “Halt & Catch Fire) and, so on and so forth, until the offer was made.  This is proof that there are great opportunities in the southeast for young performers.

Monday, August 17th

What follows “Venting Friday”?  “Positive Monday”!  I must admit there are some days this job gets to you.  Friday was one of those days.  I should start a consulting company on how to get people in the business since I constantly receive calls to inquire on how to “be an actor”.  They (as in clueless people) seem to think agents have all the time in the world to “start their career” and give them free advice.

I am starting out the week by counting my blessings  I am grateful to actors who follow directions and do not need to have their hand held.  Like, case in point, Michael Hartson, who has been awarded (I love making up awards for actors) “Do What You Have To Do To Get the Job Done Award”.  Even though Michael was on a family vacation in upstate New York, he still managed to accept the audition and figured out a way to go on tape, graveyard and all.  Actors need to follow Michael’s example and exhaust all avenues before they decline an audition.

Tuesday, August 18th

One of my biggest pet peeves is “needy” actors.  It makes my skin crawl. They constantly need to have attention paid to them, want their hand held and self-esteem stroked.  I know other agents can relate to this.  I wish actors would put their negative needy energy into positive energy and work on becoming a better actor.  If you find yourself in “needy energy” mode, tell yourself to snap out of it!  You will be doing both of us a favor.  Be productive-not destructive.

Another pet peeve is when an actor says, “Is it me or is it just slow?”.  Then agents have to go into “drama therapy” mode to make the actor feel better or justify why they have not happy with the amount of auditions.  Wouldn’t you rather have your agent spent their time pursuing work for you instead?  Most of the time agents do not know why it is slow for certain actors.   Like I have said in the past, there is no rhyme or reason why some actors have more auditions than others.  It is, however, a well-known fact that men have more auditions than women.  Agents are at the mercy of the writer and have no control on the type, age and ethnicity of the character.  So, instead of actors thinking “it’s all about me”, actors need to realize that while they are vital to a project, it seldom is about them as a person and more about the production as a whole.  I know one thing for sure, if you want more auditions, plan a vacation and book an airline ticket.  This is a guarantee that your wish will be granted.

Wednesday, August 19th

It happened again.  I heard that one of my actors moved which was news to me.  I sent an email asking if this was true, it was, and, drum roll please (this happens every time) said actor still wants to be represented.  REALLY?  Since common sense and respect went out the window, the answer will always be NO!  Note to actors:  Don’t piss off an agent while you are on the way up in your career, you might need them on your way down.

Thursday, August 20th 

This is “A Day In The Life Of An Agent”

  • As I was putting war paint on my face and getting ready to leave for the office, I received a phone call from casting director Lisa Fincannon.  Lisa needed two actors on tape ASAP since the role works tomorrow in Atlanta.  I dropped the makeup brush and went into action.  This has been the week of last minute requests, which is becoming usual for actors.
  • Drove to work, ate a bowl of cantaloupe in the car and called the actors to see if they could tape; one could, one could not.
  • Got to the office, booted up the computer and started to download auditions from actors and upload them for casting to view.
  • Called Amy Dionne to book her on the new NBC show “Game of Silence”.  They want to use her real son to play her son on the show.  I am so excited for Amy. Working with a one year old is going to be interesting.
  • Called Lily Donoghue, who booked her first lead role in the short film “Black Mountain” shooting in Georgia.  I explained to her how to read the call sheet, day out of days and the one liner schedule.
  • Called a mother of one of my young performers to discuss his acne.
  • Sent an audition out for the Nickelodeon show “WITS Academy”.  Three actors could not accept since they have conflicts with a play.
  • Received callbacks from casting director Tracy Kilpatrick for the feature film “LBJ” shooting in Louisiana.
  • Sent Reggie Peters paperwork for the McDonald’s commercial he shot yesterday.  I wonder why production did not take care of this on set. I guess worse things can happen.
  • Selected headshots for a few actors.
  • Tracking down outstanding invoices. UGH! I am not cut out to be a bill collector. 
  • Called production on the film ‘Til Death” to finalize David Mackey’s contract so he can get paid and I can close this project out.
  • Went to a lunch meeting with Fredena Williams.  The food was horrible, Fredena was great. Dealt with numerous phone calls and texts during lunch.
  • Got back from lunch and received the breakdown for the first episode of “Bloodline” for the second season.  Sent the audition to actors who fit the roles being cast.
    Called casting for the “LBJ” film to see how long the roles work and if it is worth it for the actors to justify buying an airline ticket.  I hope they will be able to attend. 
  • Happy hour with John Peros is cancelled.  Sad face!
  • Actors are asking what role they should read for on “Bloodline”.  It is pretty simple to figure that out. 
  • Texting actors who have not replied to audition requests to see if they are going to tape. REALLY? Every time an audition is sent out, actors needs to respond accept or decline. It is as simple as that.
  • Phone & internet died. Time to refresh my crystal light beverage and go to the bathroom.
  • Phone and internet has come back to life!
  • Contacted Amy Dionne to hold off on booking a flight.  Schedule is changing.
  • John Wayne Shafer told me he received a gift bag from Georgia State Tourism when he worked on “Devious Maids”.  They know how to roll out the red carpet in the Peachtree State.  Unlike the Sunshine State which isn’t that sunny anymore…we all know the reason why. 
  • Contacted actors for “LBJ” callback with tentative shoot dates so they can decide if the cost of flying is worth it.  You can’t develop a relationship with casting unless you get to know them in person and they know you are willing to do what it takes to be seen by the director, in this case Rob Reiner. 
  • Received an audition with a LARGE file size.  Called the actor and advised him if he is going to self-tape, then learn to compress the file. One of my biggest complaints with actors that drives me crazy!
  • My 4:00 appointment arrived.  Looks nothing like her headshot. 
  • Appointment left.  She could not understand why I did not want to listen to the monologues she prepared.  I gave that up years ago! Get out a knife and stab me if I ever have to listen to another monologue again!
  • Mail arrived.  Time for my favorite time of the week, when I  write actors checks.
  • Casting director Mark Fincannon called to cancel Amy Dionne. I know this happens…but, why do agents have to be the one to deliver the bad news? UGH…AGAIN! 
  • This is just a few highlights of my day. It is time to shut down the computer and head home for dinner. I still have work to do when I get home; however, it doesn’t end when I leave the office. There are always fires to put out and issues that need to be solved. Tomorrow starts the same routine.

This is a typical day in my life, as well as other agents.  Some days are more exciting than others. Agents are problem solvers, project managers, life coaches, drama therapists, your biggest cheerleaders, the president of your fan club and human beings just doing a job.

Friday, August 21st

I never anticipated that the day would come that I would need to advise actors if they want to pursue work in film and television they must have an address in the Atlanta area.  That day has arrived!  We can thank “bat boy” – I mean Governor Scott – for this.

Monday, August 24th

Back to reality today…busy catching up on emails and sending auditions to casting directors.  I sent an actress the following text, Are you sending an audition for The Detour? Her response, No, sorry – thanks for the audition. Please send me whatever else you have.  I’m sorry I thought it said Tuesday on it and just got back into town late. I guess this actress needs to learn how to read an audition breakdown and THE DEADLINE.

It doesn’t happen often that I make an executive decision (I can do that since I am the boss), to not send an audition to casting.  It is not going to do any actor any favor to send an audition that does not do the talent justice.

AGAIN? What is going on?  Michael Carr booked a commercial for Florida lottery on Friday.  He drove to Miami today for a fitting and production realized they booked the wrong Michael.  I certainly did not want to deliver this bit of bad news, but I had no choice.  A, big thank you to Michael for not losing his cool and for his maturity in realizing mistakes are made.  In fact, Michael said he was willing to work as an extra, which he ended up doing.  I call that a class act!

Tuesday, August 25th

Balancing work and life is becoming harder and harder to do in the business.  I recently had a mini-melt-down when Derek Roberts booked out for a vacation to celebrate his birthday.  Derek is a big booker and knowing he was going out of the country, I went in to panic mode wondering if he would be able to check emails and tape auditions, while he was traveling through Europe.  Then I realized how selfish I was.  Derek deserves a break.  We all deserve a break away from reality and to get away in order to restore ones sanity.  I vote more vacations and less work!   When I asked Derek permission to use his name for this post, his response was, “No worries!”. Derek further explained, “I paid for insurance, located places where I can tape, and changed my Sprint plan to receive messages/texts/emails.  I also have additional funds set aside in case I need to come back early”.  A pro-active actor who plans ahead…I LOVE IT!

Wednesday, August 26th

Remember the show “Kids Say the Darndest Things” hosted by Art Linkletter?  This is “BTG” version of the show. Liam Tomasiello, age 7, booked his first job and worked last week in Atlanta on the new TBS show “The Detour” starring Jason Jones.  Enjoy Liam’s interview.

How did you feel when you found out you booked your first acting role on a television show?  I was at my mommy’s work, she just told me, and I went “YAY!” and jumped around but she said be quiet so I stopped because there were people there working and I was being kinda loud.

 Were you worried about saying a bad word?  Not really.  I was kinda happy because this would be the first time I’m allowed to say a bad word.   I would be able to say it, but only for a little bit.  At least I get to say it! {laughs}

Did you meet any famous actors on set?  Not ON set, but near set.  Yeah.  Yeah, it was off the set.  It was on base camp. I was star struck.

What was your favorite thing about the job?  I liked, I truly liked, when the other actors would come in and we would start to do our lines together.  That was actually my favorite part.   I liked all of it!  And, I liked when I was about to start filming because I was REALLY, REALLY, REALLY excited!

 Would you recommend this business to other kids your age who want to act? I would! {thinking} Yeah.  I mean, I would first need to see them act, but, that would be good for them!

 What are you going to do with the money you made?  Spend half of it on acting classes, and half of it (thinking) on a tuba.  I really want a tuba!

Thursday, August 27th

A “Throwback Thursday” story for you.  In 1996, the feature film “Contact” filmed on the space coast, my old stomping ground.  Ellen Jacoby was casting and one day production needed over 1,000 extras to watch a launch scene.  Thanks to Ellen, I had the opportunity to “wrangle” talent at Kennedy Space Center.  The call time was early, before sunrise.  A team signed the extras in, processed the paperwork and sent everyone to mingle before they were called to action.  After a while it became apparent that many of the extras went back to their car and fell asleep.  I can’t say I blame them!  The thought crossed my mind, too, but, since I was on the “clock” I decided I was on a mission to make sure the extras were ready to work when the director yelled “action”.  I started going around, knocking on windows and saying, “Get up! You are not being paid to sleep”.  Talk about someone taking their job too seriously!  I came across two people snoozing in the back of a hatchback, the nerve of them!  I woke them up,  gave them the spiel and realized it was Ellen Jacoby.  The look on Ellen’s face was priceless!  Foot in mouth disease at my finest!

Friday, August 28th

Catching up from the week….91 film/tv auditions went out this week; 69 were for men and 22 for women. Steve Garland is working in Atlanta today shooting a SAG commercial for the Georgia lottery.  I will brag that Steve beat out all southeast actors for the role.  Go Steve!  Dan Bright booked a role in the film “LBJ” directed by Rob Reiner.  It paid off that Dan flew to the callback.  Whenever the opportunity arises, always try to go to the callback in person!  Go Dan!  Roger Floyd sent me his footage from “Under the Dome”.  After watching it, I realized he worked with Makenzie Lintz.  I knew Mackenzie when she was a baby.  Her mom, Kelly, was with the agency when she lived in Orlando many years ago.  Kelly reminded me of the first audition I sent Makenzie on when she was four. What a small world!

I received an audition for Elena Varela from the casting director for “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”.  I have no idea how the casting director found Elena through me, but I was not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.  I contacted Elena who told me she was in Los Angeles for another audition and could go to the “BNN” audition that afternoon.  Right before I contacted Elena, she told herself she really did not want to go back to Florida and deal with the possible hurricane.  The universe gave her the opportunity to extend her stay in Los Angeles, attend the audition and book the job.  Ask and you shall receive. Go Elena!  What great way to end the week!

Monday, August 31st

august31