Just wanted to share some great advice from a fellow LA agent (who happens to be a former manager). Came across her blog while researching some info today (Had to deal with a non-compliance issue. I believe Coby below would refer to the situation as "being a d**che"? More on that later...) and fell in love because we are so on the same wavelength. This agent deals with the same things we do on a daily basis and therefore we share our observations, frustrations and exclamations -- all for your benefit in the form of tips and advice. So here's another agent's point of view. I had posted just the link to her blog earlier but then I received some emails from people who requested that I actually copy, paste and re-post so they wouldn't have to follow two blogs.
As you wish.
The following is from THIS AGENT'S VIEW located at: http://www.thisagentsview.com
This Agent's View
Dear Readers, This blog is intended to give you "this agent's view" on the business. Postings are of my personal and professional opinion and musings on the day to day things I encounter as an agent. They are not meant to represent anyone else's opinion. I'm sharing these bits in an effort to pass along information that my clients say are valuable and need to be shared with other actors. Take from it what you will.
If you have a skill listed on your resume, you had better damn well be able to do it on an audition. Don't put down you speak a language if you are not fluent. Don't put down a musical instrument if you can't play it like a pro. Don't list a sport if you can't play it for the camera for real. This isn't a joke people. Your chances aren't better if you say yes, and then try to figure it out later. You are a waste of everyone's time if you do this. I spend my day getting appointments for people based upon their skills that they claim to possess. If I have to then cancel an appointment because someone was less than honest about their proficiency, this just pisses me off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes I'll say it again, it pisses me off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don't lie. There is no need for it and it just makes you look bad to your agent and makes the agent look bad to casting, which therefore flows down to all the clients being punished if that casting director won't see the agency's people anymore. Don't be selfish. Remember, other BAD clients can make you look bad. Be a GOOD client and hopefully what goes around comes around, like they say.
Posted by Coby B at 3:33 PM 0 comments
Okay, today I just want to SCREAM.
I had an actor who complains about not getting enough auditions, turn down the opportunity to audition for a MAJOR MOTION PICTURE tomorrow with one of the BIGGEST MOVIE STARS in the world! He didn't even give me a good reason, he is just unavailable tomorrow, "could he go a different day". My answer, "NO!!!!!!" Someone else who wants to be an actor is gonna show up at that audition tomorrow and book it. If you are an actor who turns down auditions, please don't whine, just shut up! Sorry, but this one just has me on fire today!!!!!
Posted by Coby B at 6:30 PM 0 comments
Don't be a flake
I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season. Sorry, I haven't blogged in a while. The town has been pretty quiet, so there hasn't been much fuel for the blog. But I do want to take a moment to tell you to look inward. If you are a flake in certain areas of your life, then you might just be a flake in most areas of your life. If that is the case, there isn't an agent or manager on the planet that can help your career, until you fix that yourself. Agents/Managers can get you appointments, but that can't be at your house to drag your butt out of bed and make you get ready and get yourself to the audition. Do you keep a date book with your auditions and details in it? If not, why not? This is how you log your milage for your taxes. You have to keep track of where and when you went on the audition. This will also guarantee you don't have to call your agent to ask "where am I going again?" "what time is my audition?" If you are consistently late for meetings and auditions, you just aren't headed in the right direction. Be sure to point the finger of blame inward. Take a look in the mirror to see your biggest obstacle. Get your act together! I've heard almost every excuse in the book as to why actors don't make it to auditions. It doesn't matter if they are legitimate or not, they are still excuses. Have a great NYE and I will blog again after the 1st of January.
Posted by Coby B at 1:22 PM 0 comments
Be Camera Ready
Its just a good rule of thumb to look "camera ready" when you know you are going to be meeting with either: casting, producers or reps (agents or managers) It always amazes me when an actor shows up for an audition, meeting or showcase not looking like their best selves. I don't think you should be a Glamazon or Mr. GQ, but helmet head and no make up is not your best bet. Unless you are being asked specifically to look bad, you should be ready to be on camera. It has been a case study that better looking people get the job, and lets face it folks, this is an IMAGE business. If I sound superficial, thems the breaks. First impressions are what it is all about. You can wow someone with your talents, after you have their attention. If someone takes a meeting with me or is going to be reading for me, part of the preparation is to look good. If you don't, I wont trust how you are going to look for an audition. So therefore, I would suggest to you, to please keep this in mind when you are in this situation. Have a great weekend!
Posted by Coby B at 6:45 PM 0 comments
A few more DONT'S
Don't Crash Auditions!!!!!! I repeat DON'T CRASH AUDITIONS.
Doing so gives you and your agent a bad name. If you don't yet have an agent you still shouldn't do it. It is rude and disrespectful. The object is for casting to like you on top of being a good actor. You want the casting director to root for you to book the job, not as an aside tell the client how pushy and rude you are. That, or sometimes if you successfully crash an audition, they just don't tape you or they edit you out. Never take someone with you to an audition. If you must do so, leave them in the car. Even children, if you must bring them bring a sitter and leave them in the car. This is a JOB. Do you take friends to your "regular day job"? Of course not, you are there to WORK. Even if people are nice to you and your guest, it makes you look bad to bring people with you to an audition. The exception of course, is if casting is trying to cast real friends and family together and you are asked to bring them. That's all til next time!
Posted by Coby B at 10:26 PM 0 comments
A Couple of DON'TS
Don't wear perfume or cologne to auditions. You may love your designer fragrance, but not everyone will. The object of an audition is to be memorable for being a good actor not to literally "stink up the place". There are people will allergies and you don't want to be the person who makes the casting director physically feel bad or have a reaction to your scent. This is also a good note for meetings with potential new agents. Skip the perfume or cologne.
Another Don''t. Don't touch the casting director. It is just an unwritten rule in this town. Casting Directors meet hundreds of people. They just don't need to touch them all. Please be respectful of this and don't offer your hand for a handshake. If you are approached for one, then by all means please do have the courtesy of responding. It may feel or seem weird, but if you touch the casting director, you are telling that person you are new to the business. Lastly for this blog another don't is: don't ask if you should sit or stand for the audition. You are the actor. Do what feels right with the choices you have prepared. There is usually a chair for you to use. 9 out of 10 times, you shouldn't be using it. At least not to sit for your entire audition. If you come in and sit down for the whole thing, then you probably aren't going to book the job. Please tell me you guys are getting this info from a class too! Until the next one...
Posted by Coby B at 9:25 AM 0 comments
Checks go to your agent
In case you didn't know, when you are filling paperwork out on the set (and at auditions), you are supposed to put your agent's address. Payment goes to ANDY ACTOR, @ your agency's address (not your personal address). If you do this wrong, it can cause you lots of problems. If you cash the check and then pay your agent it is too late to fix mistakes that might have been made. What if the amount was wrong, you have taken your agents power away and they won't be able to help you as well. Trust me, your agent won't really want to help you either. Don't make your agent chase the commission you owe on any job. You will lose your agent and create a horrible reputation for yourself in this town. Don't book a job through your manager and feel this means you don't owe your agent their commission. This mistake will also most likely cause you to lose your agent. I have and will drop a client for this practice. Be honest with the money. Any relationship will disintegrate when there are money problems and dishonesty. This is a business, never forget it. I know that for actors it is also about much more, but money is what makes the whole thing keep going. Basically this blog is asking you not to be a d**che and PAY YOUR COMMISSIONS! Your reps don't get paid until you work, so all the work that agents and managers do until that time in uncompensated. Please don't make the mistake of thinking you don't owe the commission. There is no way to justify it. I hear "I booked it myself" and other variations on this from actors who justify not paying commissions. Problem is, when you were shooting it, you were then unavailable to your agency or manager for other gigs. Time is money. I don't care who booked it. Your agent and managers get paid. They both get paid. Plain and simple.
Posted by Coby B at 9:38 PM 0 comments
Listen, Read and Pay Attention carefully please.
There is a horrible trend going on in our culture! Nobody listens to their voice mail or reads their emails thoroughly before they start asking questions that have already been answered. Why is this? If your agent leaves you a voice mail or emails you, please please please listen or read it completely before you call to ask questions. If after you have listened to the message or read the email all the way through, you still have a question that wasn't answered, then call. It is a big pet peeve to most agents to repeat themselves. If your agent leaves you a detailed voicemail with all of the details of an audition, don't call right away and say "I saw that you called, what is it?" Did you listen to the voicemail first? If you are sent a text or email that says to only respond back via email, that this particular issue need only be addressed in an email, don't call via telephone to discuss it. Show that you are capable of following directions. Get it? Be directable. If you can't, then your agent will think less of your listening skills on a set too. Be a professional. Reacting is the basis of acting. How can you react appropriately if you aren't listening and paying attention? Just asking!
Posted by Coby B at 9:16 PM 0 comments
While you are waiting for an audition…
During the slower times when auditions seem to be few are far between, what are you doing for your career? Are you in a class? Have you found one where the other actors are better than you, so that you encouraged to excel? Or are you going to casting director workshops? Are you going to the gym? Are you honing your skills in other areas that you use as an actor, maybe martial arts, or dance or dialects or vocal lessons? Do you have someone you can read lines with for an audition, maybe a coach? Are you keeping your online profiles current with pictures and credits? Does your agent have enough hard copy pictures with resumes attached to send out for hard copy submissions? Do you have a reel posted on your profiles? Remember that an agent is only 10% of the team, they should only be doing 10% of the work. You are the 90% that must do the rest. (Yes, I left managers out of the equation, but you get the picture.) If you aren't doing this stuff, then you shouldn't be prodding your agent to do stuff, because why should they work on your career if you aren't?
Posted by Coby B at 9:59 PM 0 comments
a "What Not to Do"
So tonight's blog entry is a bit elementary. When you go to a potential new agent's office to drop off you head shot and resume, please be sure NOT to park in the agent's reserved parking space. Thought this would be a no-brainer, but it happened again today. This time, the potential client, was caught in the act. There were other issues that were wrong with the presentation, but that is fodder for another day.
Posted by Coby B at 9:29 PM 0 comments
DON'T GET AHEAD OF YOURSELF, LISTEN.
Sorry I haven't blogged much this week, I want to be sure to give helpful information, not to just use this blog as a way to vent about the day's mishaps. Of course, mishaps will fuel blog material, but I want to find an educational spin to share out of it all. So here goes this one: Please don't get ahead of yourself when you are speaking with your agent, be a good listener. I am going to share a typical sample of what I mean by this.
Scenario is, agent calls to ask a client about a possible submission.
Agent: "Hi Alice Actor, we are working on a breakdown and casting is looking for actors who can..."
Actor: " What is it for?, When does it shoot? How much will I make? Is it co-star or guest-star? Can I get a different time?"
Agent: "You don't even have an audition yet, you don't even know what I called to ask." Actor: "When will you know? What time can I go? Will they work around my schedule?"
Agent: "Again, you don't even have an audition yet, we are only at the submission/breakdown stage. I called to ask if you could ride a unicycle while eating fire. Can you? No, they don't want to see people willing to do it, they want to see people who have already done this and are skilled at it.
Actor: "Oh, well, then no. Do you know when you might have an audition for me?"
Agent: "No, I have no idea when an audition will magically come in. I need to get back to working on the submissions and breakdowns though, so that an audition can come in."
OK, that may seem a little harsh, but this is reality. If I call to ask someone about a skill or some other question about a simple breakdown, it is not in anyway a guarantee of an audition. Trust me, your reps will call you when they have one, we don't hide appointments from clients, that would be counter productive, same goes for callbacks and feedback. If we have it, we will share it. Thanks for reading, hope this was informative!
Posted by Coby B at 7:03 PM 0 comments
It is impossible to book every job you audition for. Ease up on the pressure you put on yourself if you are doing all the other things right. If you are in class or got coaching, if you were on time, if you looked the part. Sometimes (most times) it has nothing to do with you. Sometimes it does and you flub an audition. Learn something from it and move on. A very skilled actor, with a great resume, called me today. This actor thought he was awful during an audition this morning. Well, what he considered awful, got him the job! So, you just never know. Forgive yourself, and move on to the next one. Try not to make the same mistake, if you made one. That's it for tonight!Posted by Coby B at 8:50 PM 0 comments
CHANGING YOUR LOOK?
Thinking of changing your look? As an actor, there are a few things to consider before you actually do change it.
For instance: Have you recently auditioned for something that hasn't had its callback session yet? Do you book most of your jobs because of your unique look? Do you have the funds to take new head shots immediately after the change? Have you discussed the possibility of this change with your agent or manager?
If you are really contemplating a change, please consider these things first. If you are any ethnicity other than Caucasian, maybe blond isn't the way to go. If you play a lot of biker, bad guy characters then shaving your beard might not be the thing to do right now. Getting a visible tattoo, just might keep you from booking certain roles or working on certain shows. If you have been working your tail off in this town and casting people know you as having a certain look, be careful before you make a significant change.
Please keep your representatives informed, so that they know who they are selling to casting and how you look. You the actor are the product for sale, your reps are the sales people and casting/producers are the buyers. You must look like you current head shot so that you aren't wasting casting's time, when you come in with blue streaked hair instead of the stereo typical boy or girl next door that they think has an appointment.
Posted by Coby B at 9:00 PM 0 comments
Tardiness: a lose-lose scenario.
It is not okay to be late to auditions. Period. We live in Los Angeles. There is always TRAFFIC. Deal with it. Prepare for it. Saying you’re late because of it, isn't going to get you the job. Being there on time and more prepared then the other actors is more likely to do that. It is kind of a "do as I say, not as I do" scenario. Some of you are doing that justification thing, and saying to yourselves "casting is always running behind anyway, they won't notice.” Do not believe it. It will be noticed if you are late. Assistants call looking for talent as soon as they notice tardiness. They might be nice to your face, but think back. Do you get callbacks on the appointments you are late for? Be honest with yourself when you think about this. Of course casting will make it seem like it is not a big deal to the actor. They need a good performance. Agents do hear about clients who are late. One of the new casting facilities even has a notification system for us to check if clients have auditioned yet or are running late for appointments. It only takes one client to ruin a relationship with casting, that clients so badly want their agents to have. When I interview potential new clients, I hear this a lot. "I'm looking for an agent with really good casting director relationships.” This is funny to me. On Monday I may have a great relationship with a casting director but on Tuesday one of my clients could be late for an audition or a callback, therefore making casting look bad. This damages that relationship. Please be aware of the bigger picture.
Posted by Coby B at 8:50 PM 0 comments
In a normal (ha ha, what is normal?) day of an agent, we spend the early part of the day working on submissions, pitching and audition confirmations. After lunch, we work on more of the same and the auditions that are starting to roll in for the next day. At the end of the day we are fielding more auditions, avails, pins and BOOKINGS! The last thing we want to hear from a client after we have worked the phones and computers all day is that you need a timeframe! Don't get me wrong, if there is : 1. a death in your family, 2. you are booked on another industry gig, 3. you need to work in another audiition or callback 4. you booked out with your agency long before they gave you the audition then you can ask for a timeframe with a pure heart. Otherwise, we have spent the day getting auditions, only to spend the rest of it undoing all that hard work. It's not just agent's either, casting puts a TON of effort into their schedules only to have someone disregard that, because they forgot to bookout with their agent. It is a matter of respect. If you are going to be unavailable, let your representation know. The time to do that is not when we've called you to give you an audition. If this acting thing is important to you, you will do this. There are THOUSANDS of other actors more than happy to take your place. The actor who actually goes to his/her audition is the one who is gonna book it. That is who all agents want to represent. You can come up with any excuse in the book, and yes some are legitimate. The problem you might not be seeing is Casting doesn't care. That isn't cruel, it is just a fact. The show must go on so to speak. We all have to keep doing our jobs no matter the reason you can't fit something into your schedule. Just some basic truth my friends. You may be fabulous, but if you can't make the audition nobody knows or cares if you are fabulous. RELIABLE and CONSISTENT is more the way to go.
Posted by Coby B at 9:14 PM 0 comments
Okay please tell me that in 2009 all of you actors have a cell phone. So, since you do have a cell phone why don't you confirm your auditions faster? You should be reachable via cell phone or email from approximately 9am to 6pm everyday with regard to auditions, avails and bookings. Two different situations came up today where we almost lost bookings because the actor was taking too long to return the agency's phone calls. There probably isn't a talent rep in town who doesn't have a story like this. Don't let the story be about you, it isn't a good story to be in. Return calls and emails from your agent ASAP. Being the kind of client that returns calls and is reliable, is the client that agents like to work hard for. Just FYI. Until the next post~
Posted by Coby B at 9:53 PM 0 comments
The three major sources agent's use to submit are: Breakdown Services (Actor's Access), LA Casting and Casting Frontier. Good clients MUST keep their profiles current and accurate. Be certain that you add all of your new credits to your resumes on those sites asap. Also, when it comes to the skills section, the profile must be accurate. If you wouldn't be comfortable performing certain skills on an actual audition, then DO NOT have it checked off on your profile. I know there are plenty of very talented actors out there, but if you don't IRISH CLOG DANCE, then don't claim you do.
Certain actors justify claiming certain skills, because they are willing to attempt them. This is WRONG!!! I repeat WRONG. Casting doesn't want to waster their time seeing the best Irish Clog Dancers and then have Andy Actor walk in and attempt to do it. That is a complete waste of everyone's time. If you are not PROFICIENT/EXPERT or FLUENT at one of the skills on your profile, TAKE IT OFF!!!!!!!!!
This also means if you change your email or phone numbers, you must also update these profiles. This is imperative if you want to receive notification of your auditions as soon as they are put out. Sending and email or making a quick call to your agent is not sufficient. You, the actor are responsible for updating these sites. One more thing, when you update your photos, do it on all of the profiles unless explicitly asked not to. That's it for tonight! Thanks for reading
Posted by Coby B at 9:32 PM 0 comments
Your headshot is your ticket in almost every audition door. Why wouldn't you use the best headshot possible???? I ask you in 2009, do you use a black and white headshot? If you answered yes, I'd love to know how many auditions you average a month. The standard headshot is a color 8X10. No one says you have to pay thousands of dollars for a decent headshot, but using an old black and white or a grainy snap shot your buddy took, doesn't come close to competing with actors that make their living at acting. I have no affiliation with any one place or photographer (though I do have favorites). If you go to: http://www.argentum.com/2004/index.php you can click on the photographers link to see the work of some great ones to choose from. Good luck. Remember this is your calling card, make it a memorable one.
Posted by Coby B at 7:31 PM 0 comments
This topic is bound to come up a lot but here goes anyway. If you want to book acting jobs, you have to be AVAILABLE. Again, this sounds so simple but you might not believe how many actors swear they want this career more than anything else but then they leave town on vacation at the worst possible times. Granted in this business there are few good times to be out of town, but you chose to be an actor. Of course you must live your life while you pursue this goal but be realistic please. If you leave town for the first few weeks of episodic season, don't call your agent the moment you return home and wonder why you haven't been auditioning. Duh, you haven't been here.
For a little perspective, if you leave town for a 2 week vacation, that is equivalent to 4 weeks without auditions. Not the end of the world, but this is how it works. In this scenario, you are unavailable for: the week before you leave because anything that auditions that week will shoot while you are gone, you are unavailable the 2 weeks you are gone, and then when you are physically back in town, it is safe for your agent to submit you again. Too many agents have been burned by the client who has delayed there return from a trip, no matter the reason. So yes, please live your life and enjoy the occasional vacation. Actors that seriously want to work are gonna be in town to book jobs while you are working on your tan in Cabo.
Posted by Coby B at 10:01 PM 0 comments
Well, here is my first post. I've decided that my plan is to let the workday help to choose my topics. So today's topic is Union Dues. Pretty simple, pay them. Don't laugh at how basic it sounds. Especially in this economy, it is very easy for union members to let their dues lapse. Don't be a victim of this. I know it is tough to spend that money, but it is your obligation if you chose this career path. One of an agent's favorite words is "booked" but if that is followed 5 minutes later with "uh oh, STATION 12", this is no bueno! Station 12 means you owe union dues, and they must be made current before you can work a union job! Now for those of you who are yet to be members of one of the unions, my advice to you is to have your money ready. It is in your near future to have to join and they don't do payment plans. If you lose out on a booking because you can't or haven't paid your dues, (which means your agent loses money) you just might lose your agent!
Posted by Coby B at 10:03 PM 0 comments.
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