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The Agent Diaries – September 2015

Tuesday, September 1st

It’s “Bloodline” week at Brevard Talent Group!

Production starts today on season two.  I can’t wait to see what the show has in store for Florida actors.  It doesn’t get much better than working with Kyle Chandler, Ben Mendelshon and Sissy Spacek. Congratulations to Kyle Chandler for his Emmy nomination for lead actor and Ben Mendelsohn for supporting actor, and, a HUGE THANKS to casting director Lori Wyman and her associates, Erin Fragetta and Therese Verbruggen.

zachbloodline

 

Claire Bronson played the role of Dr. Andrea Weston on two episodes. Claire shared, “Ben was very laid back, quiet, and working his process.  He was kind and very giving as a fellow actor. It was my 1st day and 1st scene on set though and I was a little nervous trying to get to know the director and feeling out what he and the production wanted for this character – which was different than the description in the breakdown for the audition.  Kyle was an absolute dream.  He’s one of my favorite actors, and he was everything I wanted him to be and more: down to earth, funny, warm, welcoming, self-deprecating, talented, easy going… and he genuinely cares about everyone and their experience on the show.  He is the definition of ‘team player’.  All in all, Claire had a great time working with the fabulous “Bloodline” family.

Wednesday, September 2nd

Tyler Cravens worked on three episodes.  Originally the role was called “white haired man”.  Tyler auditioned for the show and a film at the same time.  He booked the film, with a drop and pick up and could not color his hair so the producers changed the role to Ralph Lawler, the hit man.  This goes to show you if the universe wants you to book a job, it will happen!   Tyler’s favorite story is after rehearsing with Ben Mendelshon in the bar scene where Danny and Ralph first meet, they were initially much closer, face to face, Ben acting the scene with his Danny southern accent.  At the scenes conclusion, Tyler decided to stay with him instead of standing and walking out like it ended up….and he didn’t pull away either, but commented in his native Australian accent, “Goddamn, Tyler, that was goddamn terrifying!”.

Thursday, September 3rd

Bill Kelly worked on four episodes as DEA agent Clay Grunwald.  Good news, Bill is returning in the second season.  Bill did not audition for the role he booked.  The role called for a late 20s/early 30s and Bill, like myself, passed that age many years ago.  The producers saw Bill’s auditions for other roles and kept him in mind.  Another example of the universe working its magic!  Bill shared, “The cast is amazing and all are very nice”.  Kyle Chandler came over to Bill while they were shooting the final scene of the season and said, “Thank you for knowing your shit”.  Bill replied, “That’s what I’m supposed to do, right?”  Kyle went on to say that it’s frustrating when an actor comes to set and is unprepared and doesn’t know their lines.  It was a nice gesture that he took time to say thanks.  Kyle and Enrique were great to work with and very good people”.

Bill with Enrique Murciano on the set of “Bloodline” Season Two

BillKellyBloodline

Friday, September 4th

Jeremy Palko had a great experience working on “Bloodline”.  Jeremy said, “I remember my first day on set.  I was nervous, and then I heard Tate Donovan was the director, then I became more nervous.  Once we began rehearsing, I became more relaxed and I was able to just work.  Thinking I was only working for one day, I packed up and headed home.  Feeling very accomplished, deep down I wanted more.  A few days later, I received the call that I would be returning to shoot more scenes.   Having already met the cast and crew, the second time down was a bit more relaxed.  That’s just how it is in the Keys.  Through good fortune and a lot of praying, I found myself driving to and from the Keys for a couple of weeks as scripts came in and my character kept popping up in them.  I remember hearing that they were on the last episode of shooting… I was then asked to return to shoot my “last” scene.  I was sure they were about to kill my character off.  They didn’t, thank goodness.  But when I left, I received a cast/crew wide applause as the director yelled, ‘That’s a wrap on Jeremy’.  A truly humbling experience. I thought to myself at that moment…I am living my dream”.

Tuesday, September 8th

Zach Robbins used the word surreal to define the feeling he had when he found out he booked the role of “Young John Rayburn”.  When his mom, Tina, told him the great news, Zach started to imagine all of the talent he was about to be surrounded with on set.  Zach auditioned for “Bloodline” a total of four times for different roles.  Zach realizes how privileged he is to work on a hit show based in Florida and is looking to forward to returning for season two.

Wednesday, September 9th

Owen Teague is looking forward to returning for season two. Owen played “Young Danny Rayburn” in the flashback scenes in the first season and, a second character that is returning to create more drama for the Rayburns.  Although Owen said he is in awe of every actor in the show, the actor he was particularly interested in and fascinated by was Ben Mendelsohn.  “I’ve really had to study him, playing his flashback self and now his son, Nolan.  He’s extremely fun to study.  While filming Season 1, since we didn’t have scenes together, I didn’t have much to go on except some movies in which he was playing completely different characters.  So I would look for him around the base camp.  One day as lunch was winding down, I saw him come into the catering tent.  He loaded up two plates of food, then started to leave.  At that moment, I was clearing my own plate and heading back, so we ended up walking out together.  As he neared the door of his trailer, holding plates in both hands, I could see he might have a problem opening his door, so I rushed ahead and opened it for him.  He turned to me with this big grin, saying in his huge Australian accent, “Mad skills, bro!”  Those may have been the first words he ever said to me, and probably his last until the wrap party.  Remembering that moment still cracks me up.  Then at the wrap party, he was very encouraging and kind.  What I didn’t expect was how straightforwardly he mentioned, basically in the same breath, the challenge of being a young actor.  He said it can be lonely, you know, as a matter of fact. That could have been a downer, I guess, but it was actually so reassuring to hear that message of ‘Yeah man, I know what you go through, I’ve been there’, from this great artist. Needless to say, I’ll never forget that either”.

Thursday, September 10th

On a personal note, I attended the “Workshop on the Water” service at the Flora-Bama lounge and oyster bar on Sunday.  This should be a reality show!  Thank goodness it was a nonjudgmental service since a huge Bud Light bikini contest banner was hanging above the minister as he delivered his sermon and the offering plate was a tackle box.  You heard me, a tackle box.  The honky tonk hymnal stated on the cover thou shall not steal.  PRICELESS!  The southern rock Christian band was great and I did not catch on fire.  The service centered around the importance of family.  This made me think of the entertainment business and the family we are, regardless of whether you are in front or behind the camera.  While the entertainment industry is huge, the acting community is small.  After the service ended, the bar opened – bloody mary on a Sunday at a dive bar on the beach – my kind of place.  If you are not familiar with the Flora-Bama, check out Kenny Chesney’s video shot last year https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqzM7bP6aRY.

Elena Varela on the set of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” with Andre Braugher and Andy Samburg

ElenaVarela

Friday, September 11th

Catching up for the week.  It is a first…no dumb actor stories or bad excuses to share.  I booked two actors on “The Walking Dead”.  I love calling actors and giving them the great news that they booked the number one show in the world!  Or, any project for that matter.  One role is recurring the other is not since the character meets an early demise.  A bunch of actors shot an industrial for the “Veterans Administration”.  Steve Garland had an early flight today to Tennessee to work on the new TV show “Outcast”.  After arriving at the airport and numerous flight delays Steve did the next best thing.  Got in his car and starting driving north.  Steve did not complain (THANK YOU) which made me very happy since the BTG complaint department is closed on Fridays.

Jim Braswell on the set of the “Veterans Administration” Industrial

JimBraswell

On a more somber note, it is hard to believe it has been fourteen years since the 9/11 disaster.  I remember the day like it was yesterday.  My friend, Pati Robinson, called to tell me about the first plane crashing into the first twin tower.  I grew up with planes being hijacked to Cuba, but those days were long gone.  I thought how did they get a plane to hijack and that is when Pati told me it was full of passengers. I was in shock as was the rest of the nation.  I heard about the second plane on my way to work.  I had a meeting with Pete Penuel or I would have stayed home.  The phones were dead, work came to a screeching halt.  This day will be in our memory forever.  Every day I count my blessings to have the privilege to live in America.  I hope you do, too.

Monday, September 14th

I spoke to soon.  Text from Saturday:  Can you get feedback from my audition?  REALLY?  On a Saturday?  When my football team is playing!  That is not an emergency.  Actors let your agent have a break.  We need it…desperately!!!

I had a call on my cell phone from a grandmother wanting information on how to get her granddaughter in the business.  I politely told her that the cell phone is for emergencies only and to call the office number.  She asked “What number is that?”  I told her you called the number because that is the only way she could have gotten my cell number!  DUH!

I hope I do not sound too bitchy, slightly bitchy is ok, just not too much.  But, HELLO PEOPLE take a lesson in common sense!  I know one thing for sure – if I could bottle and sell common sense, I would be rich!

Tuesday, September 15th

I recently sent an audition to an actor for a character that was older than he thought he was able to play. There was a joke in the script about him being “much” older than his co-star in the scene.  After he questioned me about whether he was right for it, I told him to not worry about the age and go ahead and tape.  When you have been requested to tape, always go for it.  Instead of thinking negatively about the reasons you should not tape, think positive and make the character your own.  You never know if casting or producers will see you as perfect for another role or a future project.  In this case, the actor booked the role and they removed the reference to the characters age.  If you find yourself constantly questioning your agent and roles you are requested to audition for then get another agent; if not trust them to do their job.

Wednesday, September 16th

All agents know that actors want to work and it is their “fix”, much like an addict needs drugs.  Maybe not the right analogy but, you get the point.  I can’t speak for all agents but, it is a job for me, not my fix.  I ask all actors to walk in their agents shoes and deal with the numerous issues we face every day.  Being an agent is not for the faint of heart.  It is tough, mentally demanding and never ends.  Actors who are productive in their career, study their craft and meet audition deadlines are a pleasure to work with; the others, not so much.  If you have an issue you want to discuss with your agent, make sure you talk to them and not other actors.  Word gets around if an actor is complaining behind their agents back.  Agents can’t read emotions via email or text.  Be professional and pick up the phone.  It is better to solve the problem than continue to harbor bad feelings.  This goes for all relationships, personal or business.  I think I made my point on this subject.

Thursday, September 17th

A big thanks to casting director Lisa Mae Fincannon for her contribution to “The Agent Diaries”

Written by Lisa Fincannon

Frequently I am asked why actors are asked to audition multiple, (if not hundreds of times) for the same show.  There are many answers to this question, none of which I am afraid rock in the favor of that actor.  I wanted to take a minute and address why, with Fincannon & Associates projects, this happens.

Up front, I think it important to point out that if you are continuing to be asked to tape you are doing everything right.  That is the job of a working actor.  We all, in this biz, are professional job seekers.  I am, you are, the DP, the Director, etc.  I think actors should be concerned if they are NOT being asked multiple times to tape, even if for the same CD or project.

Multiple tapings for the same show, ie, The Walking Dead, serve many purposes.

The most obvious of these is that episodics of any kind, while driven by the show-runner, have many different directors over one season.  Each of these directors are usually not privy to the actors who have read in episodes he or she are not directing. To them, you, the actor, are shiny and new!  For the show-runner, who has seen you many times over one season, it is a continued vetting process.  Because casting in the Southeast is done primarily through the net, and rarely in person, the CDs and show- runners want to know that your performances are strong in many auditions…not just the one in front of them.  This multiple taping scenario, in effect, becomes your reel. It proves strength of your craft in different characters and situations.  As a CD, it gives me peace that I am sending the strongest, best choices.  Also due to the lack of face time in callbacks, it allows me to get to know you better…your choices, strengths and weaknesses, you as an artist.

The not so obvious reason is one that at first blush seems a little ironic, but it exists.

Directors today are not always directors…by that I mean that many come from backgrounds of being writers or DPs, celebrities, producers who want to dabble in the arts, etc.  While many are fine directors in the sense of the technical aspects of directing, there are many who are not well versed in the direction of talent.  These directors tend to need to hire those folks that can hit their mark and deliver their lines with little to no interaction/direction.  To that end, again, their comfort level is greatly heightened when you, the actor, has delivered several auditions that are strong and they see your strength being consistent.

All in all, I think that the multiple tapings far beats how you were needed in the good old days…yes, way back in the 90’s, (telling my age now), when all SE actors got in a car and drove hours to Atlanta or Wilmington to spend 5 minutes in a room, not get cast, and be called back the very next week…

Try and hang on to that the next time you have to step into your living room or drive across town to tape for another character of another episode on yet one more TV show!

Friday, September 18th

Catching up for the week:  Demi Castro and Ricky Wayne had a great time working on “Bloodline”.  Steve Garland has driven over 3,000 miles the last two weeks attending a callback and working. Chelsea Talmadge is pinned for the new Netflix TV show “Stranger Things”.  Justin Kucuslain and Jeremy Palko loved working with the zombies.  Thanks to all of the hard working actors who are passionate about the business and work hard to reach their goals.

Demi Castro & Kyle Chandler on the set of “Bloodline”

KyleChandler_Demi

Monday, September 21st

Pilot season will be here before you know it.  Need new headshots?  Get them done since it takes a while to make final selects.  Is your resume updated?  Do you need to update your reel?  Are your on-line profiles updated?  Does your agent have your current sizes and resume on file?  Do you have extra funds set aside for a rainy day in case you need to book an airline ticket or put gas in your car?  What are you waiting for?  Time is tick ticking away so get busy!

Tuesday, September 22nd

There are so many things about your career that is out of your control, so when there is something you can control, you should.  Your profile on IMDb.com is a prime example.  While I am not a big fan of the system, I will admit it has become the encyclopedia for the business.  I wish I had thought of IMDB or at the very least SAG would have come up with IMDB instead of iactor.  Like your actors access account, your IMDB account should be kept up to date.  The best way to get your headshot on there is to sign up for the free trial of IMDbPro, upload your headshot and then cancel before the trial is over if you choose not to continue on.  However, if you can afford it, you may find the $12.50 per month fee a fair, tax-deductible investment in your career. IMDbPro members can upload demo reels and photos to their profile, and have priority approval when adding credits.  Speaking of which, don’t wait for production to add your credits to IMDb.  As soon as you wrap, you can add the new credit, which can take a few days to a few weeks to show up on your profile after the approval process.  Don’t call your agent and ask them how you can get your credits on your page.  This is the actor’s responsibility.

Wednesday, September 23rd

I have been waiting for this day for a long time!  The arrival of fall and the season premiere for the TV show “Empire”.  Jussie Smollett plays the role of Jamal Lyon.  Instyle magazine interviewed Jussie for the September issue.  Jussie was at the international upfronts for FOX and was about to sing one of the songs from the show and he said, “Two years ago, y’all had this party, and I was one of the catering waiters”.  Jussie’s life completely changed in that time.  So can yours.   Every actor has job stories from their past.  What did you learn from your past jobs that have helped you develop characters for your acting career?

Thursday, September 24th

A Throwback Thursday Story

In 2002, Hank Stone was requested to attend a callback for the feature film “Cold Mountain” starring Jude Law and Nicole Kidman.  The film was directed by the late Anthony Minghella.  The callback was in Nashville at the same time the CMA Musical Festival and Fan Fair was going on.  Hank drove all night and could not find a hotel room so he slept in his car.  He pulled it together and went to the callback.  Hank called me after his meeting and told me that he did not have a chance because Mr. Minghella did not have him read the sides.  He just wanted to talk to him.  You can imagine my excitement when I called Hank and told him the great news that he booked the job.  Sometimes a director or producer wants to get to know the person, not the “actor”.  Especially, if they are going to be working with the actor for a long time.  Nobody has the ability to know what is going through another person’s mind so, don’t jump to conclusions after a callback and second doubt yourself.  The exception to that rule is if you bombed the audition and could not get the dialogue to come out of your mouth.  For those who have had that happen, you know what I am talking about.

Friday, September 25th

Weekly catch up: Dan Bright was in Louisiana working on the feature film “LBJ Project” directed by Rob Reiner and starring Woody Harrelson.  Owen Harn worked on “Nashville” with Aubrey Peeples (I love when BTG actors get to work together).  Darla Delgado booked a recurring role on the new NBC show “Game of Silence”.  “Bloodline” booked Demi Castro, Tom Nowicki and Ricky Wayne.  Bill Kelly, Zach Robbins and Owen Teague are back for season two.  “BTG” actors are driving and flying all over the pursuing their dreams.  If you are going to dream…DREAM BIG!  The sky is the limit with the opportunities in the Southeast.  The Georgia film commission wants to double the work in their state by 2017.  Time will tell if Florida will be granted funds next year for filming.  On behalf of all of the agents, I cannot express how thankful I am to the actors who do what it takes to get the job done and keep their agent in business.  Now go out and book work…we have bills to pay!

Monday, September 28th

I started Sunday frying bacon and sending out auditions.  Thanks to the actors who put their weekend plans on hold to get their NDA and audition in as soon as possible.  I received this text from Michael Christopher Rodney, I can’t thank you enough for the auditions you’ve sent me in the past 4 to 5 weeks.  Thanks for being patient with me.  We’re gonna come out on top!  Michael is one of the most talented actors I represent.  I have no doubt that he will have a long career ahead of him and his positive thinking will only contribute to his success!

On another note, I LOVE THE POPE! I wish I was his agent!

Tuesday, September 29th

textI am going to lay it out and tell it like it is.  For those who know me, I speak the truth and feel like blowing smoke up an actor’s ass is a waste of time.  Do you want your agent to be honest with you or tell you what you want to hear?  If I have said it once I have said it a thousand times, the truth will eventually come out, so it is best to be honest from the start.  Plain and simple, AN ACTOR’S JOB IS TO AUDITION.  The booking is the icing on the cake.  You can’t book a job if you don’t audition.   There are thousands of actors with current credits and competitive reels who have moved to the Southeast, specifically in the Atlanta area, thanks to the amazing Georgia film incentive.  An actress recently asked me what the procedure is after receiving notification for an audition.  I want to receive a reply letting me know if the actor accepts or declines the audition and I want them to meet the deadline, without any excuses or complaining.  When an actor responds to the email regarding an audition and says “got it” that does not let your agent know if you are going to accept the audition.  This text is a perfect example of how you can sabotage your relationship with your agent.  It should not be up to your agent to chase down your auditions.  Actors complain about the cost of being put on tape.  It is the way the business is and it is not going to change so you need to accept that it is a tax deductible business expense that you must pay if you want to play.  I hope the article casting director Lisa Fincannon wrote on September 17th will encourage actors to keep moving forward to reach their goals and continue to tape.

 

Wednesday, September 30th

Sept30

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

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The Agent Diaries – July 2015

Wednesday, July 1st

Happy Birthday, America!  I am looking forward to a much needed break.  I am following the lead of Los Angeles agents who are closing early today for the remainder of the week.  I will pass on going to see “Magic Mike”.  I walked out of the first film, no need for history to repeat itself.  I plan to grill and chill and read Jackie Collin’s new book “The Santangelos”.  Calgon take me away!

Monday, July 6th

I am tempted to go on holiday for the entire month of July, like Bill Maher who is on hiatus for the month. But, it is time to return back to reality. Hate when that happens.  I started the day off dealing with lots of emails from the weekend.  Only one actor did not follow directions for an audition.  My bitching is paying off.  I call that progress!

Tuesday, July 7th

Men…whatever the circumstance is, never, ever let your wife write a letter to a producer complaining you were not treated well.  Burning a bridge is never a good thing, much less when your wife is doing the dirty work and speaking on your behalf.

I love the selfie I received from Dan Bright, Mary Rachel Dudley and Tom Nowicki having a great time on the set of the HBO film “Confirmation” filming in Atlanta.

confirmation

 

Wednesday, July 8th

How would you rate your look?  I came up with this “look assessment test” for actors to know their type. I believe that it is hard for people to look in the mirror and be honest.  Look in the mirror and honestly access yourself.  Ask a few friends to do the same and give you their opinion without your feelings being hurt.  Remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  This is to help you have a better feel of what roles you are right for. Actors fall into leading or character roles.  Actors who can look in the mirror and see their true self and are comfortable in their own body are doing themselves a favor in the long run.

Plain/Unattractive (Ordinary look and below average)

Average (They might have more flaws than positive features. Not attractive, but not ugly. May see themselves as better looking than others might)

Cute (Pleasant to the eye. The majority of people are in this category)

Attractive (Not many flaws)

Pretty/Handsome (This type sticks out in a crowd.  Always looks good no matter how much makeup or what they are wearing. Above average)

Gorgeous (Beautiful, stunning, hot are words to describe this look.  Victoria Secret’s models are a great example)

Perfect. (There are not many 10’s in the world. Always subjective and determined by an individual. There is no objective standard for a Perfect 10. “Flawless“, “Perfection.”)

Thursday, July 9th

Today I am addressing parents of young performers.  It is mind boggling that this business encourages children who attend acting classes to get headshots, pursue an agent and enter the professional world of auditioning.  Every boy who plays little league baseball will not make it to the majors.  Every girl who takes ballet classes become a professional dancer.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe that anyone who takes acting classes will benefit greatly from them but, does that mean they will be successful in the business?  No, it doesn’t.  I always want the young performer to “drive the train”.  If a parent wants this more than the child does then you are headed for frustration and failure – not to mention wasting agent’s and casting director’s time.  It takes a special child to excel in this business, become a booker and handle the may demands of the business – the good and the bad.  I recently received a phone call from a dad about getting his daughter in the business.  He told me she has been acting since she came out of the womb. REALLY? THE WOMB? How is that possible?  Just when I thought I have heard it all, I am shocked once again. Over 20 years ago my daughter went to an audition for a SAG national commercial for “Days Inn”.  I did exactly what I tell parents what they shouldn’t do.  I went “stage mom crazy”, biting my nails and waiting for the phone to ring when she was put on first refusal waiting to find out if she booked the job. Jordan told me she did not want to wear the bathing suit I put on her and she did not want to do this again.  I said ok and that was the end of it. In high school she told me she was considering being an actress.  I said, “Over my dead body”.  And, that was the end of that. So, don’t push your child.  If they want it bad enough they will let you know. If not, find out what your child excels in and support them in pursuing their dreams, not yours. I have dealt with a lot of parents through the years.  A few rules I have for parents is:  #1 Parents are not allowed to coach or tell their children how to act; #2 Parents cannot interrogate their child the minute they leave the audition and  #3 Look after the best interest of your child and not what other children in the business are doing.  I never want to see one of my young performers on national television because they could not handle the demands of show business and went crazy.  It can happen and it is only a matter of time before it does.  You can make sure that is not your child by keeping the business in perspective.

Friday, July 10th

EXCUSE OF THE WEEK: “I couldn’t tape the audition because I did not have a reader”.  This is from an actress who was working on a film the same day. There was not another actor who could help? I find that hard to believe.  Actors must exhaust all avenues before you turn down any opportunity.

I am starting a new club.  It is called the BTG “CC” Club.  Members are accepted when they are “consistent closers”. The 10% who consistently book in the business.  This should be the goal of every actor to strive for.  CCs keep agents in business.  CCs receive health insurance from the union.  CCs build up pension from the union. CC’s are consistent in their work, requested by casting and can close the deal.

Monday, July 13th

I can tell it is picking when I am working on a Friday night and Saturday uploading auditions.  This is a great sign for the business, not so much for my personal life.

HBO has renewed “Ballers”, starring Dwayne Johnson, for a second season.  This is great news for Florida!  A big thanks goes out to HBO, the producers and Mr. Johnson for filming in Miami.

Tuesday, July 14th

Am I the only one who is fed up in this town with the low pay perpetuity buyout for theme parks?  When did $400.00 for all usage FOREVER become a “Chance of a Lifetime”? I call that highway robbery!  Now they are bringing out of town casting directors in to cast the commercials.  It is a shame this is affecting our hard working casting directors Florida.

Also, am I the only, agent who is tired of receiving a release on nonunion commercials where the terms are different than what the breakdown stated?  Then I become the “problem agent” when asking that the release reflect what the talent agreed to when they auditioned!  Most actors just sign the release without reading it and don’t ask for a copy.  If you want to be treated as a professional, then act like a professional.  If are not given a copy of the release ask for one before you leave set. If production cannot give you one, take a picture on your cell phone and ask your agent to obtain the release for you, since it is a legal binding agreement and once signed cannot be changed.  Actors need to know what the terms and conditions for employment are before they arrive on the job. Make sure the terms are stated on the release before you sign it. If not call your agent.

Wednesday, July 15th

It is time to drop some young performers from the agency. You never know when you meet a child how well they will do in the business and if mom or dad will be good to work with.  If over a period of time the actor does not have consistent callbacks or has too many agents, it is time to end the relationship, wish them well and move on.  As Doris Day sang “Que, sera, sera…Whatever Will Be, Will Be.

Thursday, July 16th

Zach Sale had a great time in Atlanta working with Jennifer Garner on the feature film “Miracles From Heaven” in Atlanta.

The last conversation an agent wants to have with a casting director is when they call to let you know a producer is complaining about your actor not being prepared. The saying “No news is good news” is true! This happened today and I hope you are as shocked as I am.  Note to actors:  You don’t learn your dialogue in your trailer when you arrive on set, that is, unless you want to have a bad reputation and not work again. And, as big as this business is, when you screw up word spreads like wildfire.

Friday, July 17th

I feel like a kid in a candy store when I call an actor to congratulate them on booking a job.  Especially when it is an actor who really wants the role, like Peggy Sheffield. Peggy will be heading to Atlanta next week to work on the new TBS show “The Detour”.  Go Peggy!

It is not uncommon for actors  to want feedback on their auditions.  Simply put, it is not possible when you send in a tape.  Casting does not have the time or man power to give feedback on each audition.  However, if you get in the room with the director your agent should be able to get feedback for you.  I am proud of Mark Lainer and Tarik Lewis who had callbacks today in Charleston, South Carolina for HBO’s “Vice Principals”.  I followed up with casting and both did a great job and are under consideration.  The director had them work the scene numerous times and gave them the opportunity to improvise the scene.  Regardless if they book or not, they went and they did their best without complaining about getting in the  driving to the callback and asking to skype instead.

Monday, July 20th

Recently I sent out two audition notices for personal clients.  Both of them had a deadline of one week for auditions to be sent in.  Both of the clients ended up deciding on talent before the deadline.  Another example of why actors should not wait until the last minute.  If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times “The Early Bird Gets The Worm”.

Tuesday, July 21st

Today is dedicated to an amazing group of beautiful, young and talented young women who got started in the business in Florida. Long after Delta Burke, Cheryl Hines and Mimi Rogers left the sunshine state, this group have proven that the south is a great place to start your career. I hope a few girls I am developing will be added to this list and can follow in their footsteps.  

Torrey Devitto

Originally from New York, Torrey moved to Winter Park with her parents Mary and Liberty and sister Maryelle, where she spent her teen years. Torrey has appeared on “One Tree Hill” and “Pretty Little Liars”.  She is also a fantastic violin player and as beautiful inside as she is on the outside.

JoAnna Garcia was born and raised in Tampa.  JoAnna has appeared on “Reba”, “Royal Pains”, “Once Upon A Time” and can currently be seen as Betty Grissom in the ABC hit show “The Astronaut Wives Club”.

Arielle Kebbel is from Winter Park and has appeared in “Gilmore Girls”, “True Blood” & “Vampire Diaries”.  Recently I saw Arielle on the HBO show “Ballers”. You might remember her mom Sherri who was a manager and opened the door for many young actors from Florida.

Mandy Moore is another talented singer, songwriter and actress from Orlando.  Mandy has appeared in “The Princess Diaries”, “A Walk To Remember” and most recently “Red Band Society”. Mandy was represented by my good friend Zoe Boyer who worked at the Susanne Haley Agency.

Aubrey Peeples hails from Lake Mary and is my daughter from another mother.  I met Aubrey when she was a pre-teen. She is a multi-talented singer, songwriter and actress.  Aubrey built up a good resume working on “Burn Notice”, “Charlies’ Angels”, “Drop Dead Diva” and a recurring role on “Necessary Roughness”.  She decided to defer going to Harvard and move to Los Angeles after graduating high school in 2012.   Aubrey booked the cult film “Sharknado” her first year in Los Angeles. Her parents, Ashley & Wendy were helping Aubrey pack to go to Harvard, when she got the call that she booked the role of Layla Grant on “Nashville”.  Aubrey’s next big project is starring as Jem in the upcoming film “Jem and the Holograms” opening October 23rd. She also has a recurring guest star role on ABC family channel’s, “Recovery Road” coming out in 2016.

Stefanie Scott is from Indialantic   I met Stefanie thru her manager Sherri Kebbel and booked her on “Beethoven’s Big Break” in 2008 that shot at Universal Studios. She has also appeared on the Disney Channel’s A.N.T. Farm and will be starring in the upcoming film “Jen and the Jem Stones” with Aubrey Peeples.  What a small world!

Brittany Snow grew up in Tampa and began her career on “The Guiding Light”.  You might also know Brittany from “American Dreams”, “Harry’s Law” and the recent films “Pitch Perfect 1 & 2”.  Believe it or not, I met with Brittany and passed on representing her when she was a young child.  It was not because she wasn’t talented, but she already had a good agent who represented her.  Brittany’s mom, Cinda, is a manager who works with many actors from Florida, including one of my favorites, Michael Campion.

Wednesday, July 22nd

I sent an actor to Editplus to purchase footage for their reel and instead, he taped it on a camera while it played on tv.  That ain’t gonna work! When your agent gives advice, it isn’t to hear themselves talk – listen to them.  When they refer you to a photographer for headshots, this doesn’t mean using Uncle Tony who has a camera. When your agent sends you detailed taping instructions from the casting director, read them thoroughly and follow them to the letter.  Actors that do not listen and follow instructions move very quickly down the ladder of an agency, many of them out straight the door.

Thursday, July 23rd

In the July issue of Vanity Fair, I read an article about Nic Pizzolatto, writer and show runner for the hit HBO show “True Detectives”. If you worked on “Magic City” you might have met Mr. Pizzolatto, since he was one of the writers. This is a great article to read if you want to know how a writer thinks, how storylines and how characters are developed. If you get inside the writer’s head, you will be able to develop your character and bring their vision to life.  After all, that is an actor’s job!  Good writers and directors love collaborating with actors on character development.

Friday, July 24th

The feature film “Paper Towns” opens nationwide today.  Look for Tom Hillmann as Mr. Spiegelman, who plays Cara Delevingne’s dad.   Nothing makes me happier than seeing my actors credited on IMDB. Congratulations to Austin Abrams, who plays the role of Ben and his LA team, Tyler Grashman (Agency Performing Arts) and Michael Hepburn (Industry Entertainment). Although I did not book Austin on the film, I have represented him for many years. Also, a big shout out to Austin’s parents Lori and Brad for their support.  The film is based on the book written by John Green and is set in Orlando.  Production came to Orlando to shoot exteriors, but filmed in North Carolina due to benefits from film incentives.  Another opportunity lost to the actors and the crews living in Florida.

Tom Hillmann on the set of “Paper Towns” pictured with producer, Isaac Klausner, Susan Miller, Tom Hillmann and the director, Jake Schreier

TomHillmann-PaperTowns

 

Monday, July 27th

The morning started off with a bang uploading auditions and catching up on emails.  I received a phone call from a casting director for a new show filming in the southeast.  They are still looking for a few roles and wanted my input on who would be good.  The one thing required was for the actor to have a reel for producers to view.  As I was going through my list on who would be right for the roles, quite a few actors were not considered due to the fact that having a reel is not a priority for their career.

A shout out to Vivian Fleming-Alvarez, Andrea Canny, Brandy Grant, Alexis Jackson, Leyla Lawrence, Dahlia Legault, Victoria White, Fredena Williams and Nicole Paris Williams for taping on a Sunday for a last minute audition.  Within less than six hours, all of these actresses accepted the audition and did their job on a Sunday!

Tuesday, July 28th

I was pitching an actor to a manager in Los Angeles today and wanted to send some recent auditions for consideration.  I asked the actor to help me pick a few of the best auditions.  Guess what?  He did not keep them.  Actors should keep every audition they tape.  I am sure most agents do not have the hard drive space to keep auditions on file forever. I know I don’t, but you should.

If you want to watch a fun new show, check out FX’s show “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll”/  it is filled with great one-liners and airson  Thursday nights at 10:00 pm.  The show stars Denis Leary, John Corbett (hot eye candy for the ladies) and Elizabeth Gilles.  Elizabeth plays the role of Gigi and is fantastic!

sexdrugsr&r

Wednesday, July 28th

This is part two from “The Agent Diaires” posting from June 4th.
Thanks to Tom Hillmann  for his contribution and for always being professional to work with.

“I Don’t Do Small Roles”

By Tom Hillmann

I don’t do small roles. Because, there are no small roles. Only small actors. Every role I go for is huge– it is my character’s world, and in his world, his role in his life is enormous.

A role may only have a few lines, or even just one, but I try not to pass up the opportunity to discover something wonderful when given the chance to help a writer tell their story. 

A few years ago, many of my colleagues turned down the opportunity to audition for a role in a film because the character only had one line. I went because it was a big film, and my intuition said “go.” I was called back and met with the director. For one line. I created a real, emotional life with an “objective” and lots of inner dialogue before I spoke and kept it going after. I was the star of my universe, but didn’t project that, any more than I do when I am completely absorbed with shopping for a good organic red wine. 

The role was cut and I was cast in a role I didn’t even audition for, in a scene opposite Denzel Washington and the gorgeous, Sanaa Lathan.

Now when an audition comes through, truth be told, I do have to battle a few inner voices. My narcissistic self will always tell me the part isn’t big enough based on my perception of the “size” of the role. I try to pay more attention to my adventurous self. My adventurous self always sees a universe of opportunities, new people to meet, new places to visit, and new stories to help tell.  All the pieces of a puzzle have value, and you can’t see the big picture if the smaller pieces are lacking. There are times when I have to pass on something, but the reasoning shouldn’t be just about the “size.”

“Paper Towns” opened last Friday. I play Cara Delevingne’s father but didn’t have any scenes with her. I did meet some great people and visited a beautiful city where they filmed it. I met a great director and several producers and lots of teenagers I’ve talked to think it is pretty cool that I am in a John Green movie, even if it is just one scene. When you actually HAVE teenagers, that’s money in the bank, baby.

I call it a “cameo.”

Thursday, July 30th

Yesterday started and ended with two actors being “pinned” for the new show “Outcast” filming in Rockhill, South Carolina.  Being pinned is different than first refusal. When a casting director requests that an actor be put on “first refusal”, it means that a final casting decision has not been made.  Most of the time a few actors are on first refusal and are being presented to the client, producers and/or director.  The casting director is requesting that the agent, on behalf of the performer, contact casting before accepting a booking for another job on the same day(s).  First refusal is not a booking and the performer does not have a contractual obligation, nor does the producer owe a cancellation fee since the actor has not been formally booked. An actor should never book another job if you are on first refusal and the dates conflict with each other. First refusal is a courtesy term used in the business to make sure the actor is available in case they are booked.  In the modeling world, the term first and second option are similar to first refusal.  Being “pinned” means the actor has been approved, but the shoot dates have not been finalized. Actors cannot be officially booked until casting has work date(s).

“Vacation” opened last night and I can’t wait to see it. The film shot in Georgia last year.  Look for Alkoya Brunson & Elizabeth Fendrick…two of Brevard Talent Group’s big bookers!

Alkoya on set with his “Vacation” Family

alkoya 2

Friday, July 31st

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