Thursday, November 15, 2012

MAKING A CONNECTION WITH YOUR TALENT AGENT



NOVEMBER 15, 2012

This weeks feature article is about how to make a connection with your talent agent using  the "Actors Wheel"  marketing strategy to land a role.  Read after Dr. Mel's Weekly Message.


DR. MEL'S WEEKLY MESSAGE

NEVER SAY NEVER

This week I don't even know where to begin.  In fact, I don't even know if I have slept since last week's blog as I have been multi-tasking almost 24 hours a day.

If you would have told me eight months ago that Robby and I would be owners of a talent agency, I would have laughed so hard that I would have cried.  Really?  A talent agency.

With that thought, for the first time in my life I understand what it means to say, "Never Say Never."  I have also learned that if there is a will there is a way as my days have been completely encompassed with the film industry, actors, casting directors, managers, producers, screenwriters, novelists, and musicians.  I guess I can officially say that I am out of retirement and completely in the game.

So, how did my first week as a talent agent go?  Honestly, it doesn't feel any different from what I was doing before. Except now, I have adopted dozens of actors to take with me on my journey and I am on the other side of the fence.  I take this to heart and personally promise to give you the respect and representation you deserve.

"There are only 24 hours in a day and I use every one."
 Dr. Mel Caudle
Luckily for me, I haven't had to have a learning curve.  Having worked as a casting director, producer, and director, I know how to identify talent and find talent who fit roles perfectly.  I've always done that, except I was the one negotiating the contracts from the producers side with the agents.  Now, producers and casting directors will be negotiating with me for you.  Therefore, the learning curve is null and void as I am very proficient in all levels of SAG/AFTRA, AEA, and many other union; e.g., WGA, DGA, contracts.  The same goes for cast and crew deal memos, deal points, and all SAG casting, audition, callback, and booking procedures.  I thank my blessings for this.  Needless to say, I'll be the one handling that up at LACA NOLA with Robby at my side.

I also didn't have to worry about a learning curve with Breakdown Services having worked with several talent agents, either as an assistant, or during a major casting process.  Also, because I am a SAG actress, although I don't act anymore since going into producing and directing, I was already familiar with the submission process.  The only difference now, I watch out for all of the clients.

There is no learning curve on scheduling auditions and callbacks either.  Not only does my background as a school principal prepare me to handle scheduling, but having cast THE KEYSTROKE KILLER and dealing with more than 4200 auditions and 637 call backs, I know a thing or two in that area as well.

With all of this said, it is no wonder why after 10 days of opening our doors on an average we have submitted every client at the minimum of three roles, some up to 15 roles, and that was before Breakdown Services.  Now, we are really moving forward.



LACA NOLA TALENT GROUP IS ON ACTORS ACCESS
By Robby Cook Stroud

Dr. Mel and I want to personally take the time to thank Richard Simmons of Breakdown Services for working with us to establish the LACA NOLA TALENT GROUP on to Breakdown Services and Actors Access.  Not only did he complete his complete review on us, he was readily available, and still is, in helping us in every step of the way.   With people like him at the helm of Breakdown Services, I can see why they are the number one casting site.  Thanks Breakdown Services and Richard from all of us at LACA NOLA TALENT GROUP.  We thank you as does our talented actors.
Some of the LACA NOLA Talent
Since opening our doors for LACA NOLA TALENT GROUP, lots of exciting things have happened.  We have signed on some fabulous SAG/AFTRA, SAG/AFTRA-E, and NON-UNION talent across the board.  Our actors reside in the following states:  Louisiana, California, New York, Florida, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Georgia, Utah, Washington, Nevada, Mississippi, and Arizona.  

It is great to have our wonderful talent as we have been busy submitting you like crazy since becoming members of Breakdown Services and Actors Access.  It is this casting site that we will be using the most along with ProTalent to submit our clients for film, television, and commercial projects.  Therefore, if you aren't a member of these two sites, please join today - they are both free to join.  If you already have an account and LACA NOLA TALENT GROUP is your agency, please add us immediately as your representation.  Additionally, some of our clients are represented by another agency in another area, they too stay listed on your accounts for that market.  You can list more than one.

ABOUT ACTORS ACCESS
By Dr. Mel Caudle

This site is my top choice for our clients.  It is important for you to work with us as your agent to keep your resume up to date.  That means, don't take your profile and resume section on this site lightly as this is the resume casting directors will see when we submit you.  That means, keep it up to date including your past work, bookings, headshots, and demo reels.

DEMO REELS ON ACTORS ACCESS

Although posting your resume and two headshots are free on Actors Access, posting more photos, for different looks, and demo reels are not.  Please know how important it is for you to go ahead a pay the extra money to post different looks and at the minimum a composite demo reel.  Why?  As we submit you for feature films with major networks, film and episodic, they are requesting your demo reel.  They will have it at their fingertip if you post one on your Actors Access site.  I have discovered, just in one week's time, that our clients who have fantastic headshots and demo reels are the ones that are getting the requests for auditions almost on a 10 to 1 ratio.  This means, if you are serious about getting booked and selected for an audition, it is that important for casting directors to be able to quickly view your demo reel.  Got it?  

POSITIVE STROKES FOR ACTORS ACCESS

Recently, several of our clients have asked me about other casting sites etc.  To me, we go to Actors Access first, for many reasons:

- It is the ONLY casting site that is directly connected to the legal casting breakdowns that agents and casting directors receive on a daily basis.

- It is good for on-camera auditions in general. We focus on the SAG projects.

- It is free to register and and links you with us. 

- Offers a Showfax account which allows you to download sides and scripts for your auditions.
- We have the ability to review your submissions and communications with producers and directors for your records.

- Your Actors Access account is link with the ProTalent Software.

MAKING THE CONNECTION WITH YOUR TALENT AGENT

The Actors Wheel

By Dr. Mel Caudle

One of the most important things to remember when you sign with an agency or agent is to remember that you are part of the team.  Your agent is only one part of the team.  I like to think of this team in terms of a wagon wheel analogy that has five spokes.  Each spoke represents an important element of the team.  Let me explain.

As an actor there are many elements that you need to surround yourself with in order to get you a job.  Like a wagon wheel that is circular with six spokes, an actor is at the hub of the wheel.  All spokes are attached to the actor in order for the actor to get booked.  

What happens to a wagon wheel when one of the spokes are missing?  Think in terms of a wagon, with four wheels, and one of the wheels is missing a spoke.  When the driver hitches the horses to pull the wagon, the wagon wobbles and doesn't roll forward like it was designed.  

The same thing happens to an actor when they are missing one of the spokes in their actor's wheel.  The actor wobbles along, slowly getting in the direction they want to go.  Yet, it takes them longer to arrives, just like the wagon with a wheel missing a spoke.

Now, what happens if the wagon wheel is missing two spokes?  Three spokes?  Four spokes?  You get the picture don't you?  The wagon struggles to gain distance, if any. And, if it happens to get stuck in the mud, it doesn't go anywhere.  Besides being wobbly, it is now broken down greatly in need of repair.  The owner of the wagon has two choices - repair it or ditch it.

As actors, you are often "Ditched" by your agent or agency because you aren't landing auditions or roles.  They give up on you instead of focusing on the spokes in your Actor's Wheel.  

The important spokes for your wheel are:
  • Obtaining an Agent
  • Building and keeping your resume up to date which includes taking classes and honing your skills
  • Professional headshots that look like you as you currently are and not outdated
  • Having a demo reel easily accessible to casting directors, e.g., your own website
  • Having an official site for submissions; e.g., Actors Access
  • IMDB listing for your credits

Now that you know these spokes on your "Actor Wheel" it is time for you to evaluate your own.  If you don't have an agent, seek one.  Check them out before you sign with them as you should with any business decision.  Things to look for in an agent include:
  • Knowledge of the industry, e.g., SAG, casting, procedures
  • Type of clients who they represent
  • Determine willingness to market you as their client
  • SAG Franchised.  If they aren't why not?  Keep in mind that not all agents can become SAG franchised if they are operating in a "Right to Work State."
  • Length of the contract.
  • Steps to break the contract.
  • Commission scale.
  • How they intend on marketing you as an actor; e.g., websites, blogs, etc.
  • And, ask, "Can you work with this agent?"
Make sure your resume and headshots are always up to date on your Actors Access account and personal websites.  Don't ever use out of date headshots that were taken twenty years earlier or overly refinished.  There is nothing worse than for a casting director to look at your headshot, want you as you are, then for you to show up for the audition and look nothing like your headshot.  That is a HUGE TABOO in this industry.

Find a way to get a demo reel, even if you have to film it yourself with a friend.  Nowadays, casting directors want to see you on camera before they meet you in person.

Lastly, make sure that once a project is completed filming that you are listed on the IMDB page for that project.  You can always add yourself.

504-301-8000

As a talent agent with LACA NOLA TALENT GROUP it is our philosophy not to "Ditch" our clients if they aren't getting auditions or bookings although we are submitting you like crazy. When this happens, as part of your Actor's Wheel, it will be time for us to evaluate together all areas of the spokes to determine a strategy.  We'll have to look at all elements.  
  • Is it because your headshots are outdated?  
  • Maybe, you don't have a demo reel, so you'll have to get one.  
  • It could also be that you lack the skills or specialty skills, so classes and coaching would be in order.  
  • Maybe, it is because you aren't keeping your resume up to date.  
Like I pointed out, it could be one element or several of them.  It will be both of our jobs to figure it out with the ultimate goal of getting you booked on a major film or television program.  With the right agent, it can and will happen.  Never discount that.


LACA NOLA ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

We are very proud to feature Blanca Avalos this week as our spotlight actor of the week.  Congratulations Blanca.

BLANCA AVALOS
SAG/AFTRA
IMBD

Blanca Avalos Picture


Blanca is a rare gem in the film and television industry with her unique looks, physical attributes, and dynamic acting skills.  If you are looking for a powerful and inner strength for a strong female lead role, then you want Blanca.  Not only is she dynamic, but her skills allow her to bring that power to the big screen.  She has had numerous lead and supporting roles in films projects including "Shadow of the Monarch," "Brads Bliss," "About Face," and the Columbia Picture, "First Last Kiss."  Additionally, she is no stranger to the television industry as she as a co-star role in the series "House of Cards," and a featured role on the HBO series "The Wire."

Special Skills:  Bilingual (Spanish/English), Tae Kwan Do,  Firearms, Volleyball, Track, Flight Attendant, Motorcycle Rider

MARKET:  NATIONAL     CATEGORY:  FILM AND TELEVISION
If you are interested in booking Blanca contact LACA NOLA TALENT GROUP or give us a call at 504-301-8000.







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