BOOKED and ACROSS THE BOARD

I shouldn't have underestimated June. I really thought that I would sit back, submit on the few breakdowns that come out and hope for a few call backs. Though it is still May! Maybe productions are trying to finish up before the doomed month. 2 great bookings in 2 days is very exciting for our little agency family.

When the agency first opened, I was pretty open to who I represented and I also was open to repping people only for commercial or only for theatrical. My leniency was and still is often taken advantage of. I will explain.
Its is very easy to get a commercial agent in LA. Commercial agents are not that picky-volume is often what they are going for...if they submit a ton of people there is a high chance that someone will book.. Commercial auditions are very competitive because so many people audition.

Theatrical agents are very very difficult to get in LA. A casting director for film and tv will only see a small amount of actors for each role, therefore it is hard to get an audition. So agents only take people that have credits or show extreme promise.
There is also the fact that there are a lot of commercial agents and only a few theatrical. The reason for this is that getting the breakdowns for theatrical submissions is difficult and pricey. Getting the casting information for commercials for s manager, agent and even for a non SAG agent is free with the proper documentation. SO there are only a few of us theatrical agents out there.

In all honesty I make more money on commercials and if I were a great business woman I would shut down the theatrical division of my agency. BUT I am not only business a woman, I am a person that loves the entertainment industry and wants my actors to work. And most actors don't dream of being a commercial actor-they dream of being in a film or in a sitcom!!

So I have chosen to ONLY REPRESENT PEOPLE ACROSS THE BOARD. "Across the board" means I rep my clients for commercials, tv, film, print and whatever else comes along! We are a one stop shop no need for another agent. I try to make this very clear before I even set up an interview with potential clients. I dont want to waste any one's time. But at least one actor out of ten will try to only have me rep them theatrically, whether out of loyalty to an old agent or the need to have the name of a big agent. Having the big agent is only good if you work and are sent out. There is no honor in having their logo or being able to say " my agent is so and so" unless you have the work to back it up. Then I run into the actor that signs with me across the board, then a few months later gets a commercial agent and says "please keep me on theatrically!" To that I have to say buh bye. Its disrespectful and dishonest.

Why across the board??
Because it is soooo much easier for us. We know our actors and know how to submit them. Its painful to have someone perfect for a commercial role and we cant submit them because someone else reps them. Also, we choose quality people for both commercial and theatrical, it is not a numbers game for L & L Talent. We do believe in our actors.

So we had to "clean house" a bit this past month and our family is a bit smaller. We try to be completely honest with every one, especially regarding their career and the state of the industry. Hopefully after the SAG vote this month things will pick up.

AVAIL

One of the most common questions I get from actors is "What is avail?" Its a funny thing. I will try to explain as best as I can.
When an actor goes on a first audition it is usually just a camera man and the actor in the room. The video is reviewed by casting directors and/or the production team. From there and actor may or may not get a "call back."
A call back is a little different than a first call. The actor will do the same thing, but the room will have the camera man, the director, producer and often the ad agency will be present as well. It can be a bit scary with the panel sitting in front of you!
After the call back your video is reviewed again. If they cannot decided between actors you may be place "on avail" until they decide. This way they know that the actor is available to work those shoot days. This is ONE reason for avail. Another reason for avail is that you (the actor) may be the only choice for the job but they do not know the shoot dates yet and will hold you for a longer amount of time to be sure they have you when they figure the schedule out. Another reason for avail could be if the project is not on for sure, or on the verge of being cancelled. Either reason for avail is an accomplishment.
As far as I am concerned a call back is a sign that you are doing something right! Its hard to even get in the door to be seen much less being asked to come back!
So all my actors out there reading should set goals for themselves to start getting called back and always be "AVAIL."

June Gloom

June is usually pretty slow for the entertainment industry. Pilot season is over, casting directors are on vacation. This year is already so slow, I expect nothing this month. Although commercially we have had a lot of auditions and call backs. I tell my actors that December and June are the slowest months. This is the perfect time for actors to take workshops, do some theater and build their resumes. Basically do an actor's boot camp to get ready for when things pick up again.
My family will be taking a much needed vacation this month! Although I will still have my laptop and blackberry on me, I am hoping to be able to separate from work while we are away.

Super Agent Mommy

The agency and children are my everyday life and sometimes I go day to day and dont realize just how much I got done. I think I should go by "super agent mommy." It wasnt until I did my taxes in April that I started to realize how well the agency went for its first full year of business. No, I am not a millionaire just yet. Not that I want tor need to be. But I wasnt in the negative and for a new business with overhead that is a wonderful thing. I am proud of how well we did last year.
Noticing that this is a good business and I have made good contacts, I decided to start to set goals for the agency.
National commercials are what keeps and agency in business. Commercials are usually not what actors are looking for...most want to be on tv or in films. But the commercials pay the bills-for both the actor and the agency. So Lara and I set a goal for ourselves to have 7 national commercials running at one time. It doesnt sound like much, but with only about 100 clients I think it is a realistic goal. Within 2 weeks of setting this goal we are up to 4! Crazy. Maybe there is something to "the secret" that Oprah recommends!
The next part of my goals for my actors are to have 10 or more guest star/co star roles. So far since I have set the goal we have 4. I also want 2 series regulars, but now that pilot season is over that will have to wait until 2010. I have to actually write the goals out, maybe seeing them everyday will help too---actors should do the same. There is something to be said for visualization. When I was a competitive swimmer our coaches had specialists come in and train us in visualization...seeing every aspect of the race from the dive to the finish. I think it really helps.

Proud Mommy

My favorite thing about being an agent is telling an actor that they booked a job. I am trying to think of a way to make it even more special. My clients work so hard-taking classes, doing stand up, working the theater circuit, auditioning and constantly facing rejection-it's so nice to give them good news and let them know that all the hard work is paying off. For the little kiddies its not such a big deal, they have fun at auditions and if they get to work a job they are excited. But for my adults that have given up so much, a booking is the light and the end of the tunnel for them. Non actors don't understand the turmoil of wanting to do something so badly and not being able to. For most people if you want a certain job and you work hard enough at it, you will achieve your goals. (if you go to medical school you are on your way to being a doctor!) For actors its so different. Its luck and opportunity. Some people that seem undeserving make it big, while a very talented actor is undiscovered.
A client I have had for a year now has really grown with the agency, starting off non union. Now he is union and booked a guest star role on a show and more recently a national commercial. My associate, Lara, texted him WHOO HOO! Then called to tell him he booked. So all my actors out there need to look out for a "WHOO HOO" text! He is filming his commercial this Friday.

The L & L Talent Family is truly a family. Seriously, my real life mommy is on avail for a commercial! I hope to be texting her "WHOO HOO" soon.