Here are the five key ingredients every aspiring actor should have:
A Great Head shot
Think of the headshot like the menu of a restaurant. Better yet let’s just say you are the restaurant. . .you are the business (sorry for the restaurant analogy – I am writing this while waiting for my lunch to arrive and I am starving). You wouldn’t go to a restaurant that does not have a menu, would you? Actors play different roles and talent managers help producers, production companies and casting directors find the right actors to fill those roles – and it all starts with a good headshot. So make sure to find a photographer with some great lenses and get yourself a great headshot so your talent representative can market you properly.
It is true, there are examples of great actors landing huge roles with zero training. It is also true someone wins the Powerball every month. Remember, these are exceptions, not the rule. Talent with proper training on their resumes shows talent managers that you have the right ingredients. Think of it like the quality of the food at a restaurant. The menu looks good (your headshot), but if you blow it now, there are a tens of thousands of restaurants with quality ingredients for talent managers, talent agencies and production companies to choose from. If you are not a working actor, take a class or two and stay sharp for when the right opportunity knocks.
A solid reel
This separates the pros from the amateurs. Advertising 101 – create an ad about who you are, and what your brand stands for. Are you a little bit country or are you a little bit of rock and roll? I once met an aspiring actor on set that looked like the Terminator. When I asked him about the kind of actor he wanted to be, he told me he wants to be a comedian. As an example. . .that guy better has one hell of a reel that makes everyone laugh or he is going to have a hard time cracking into the comedy market.
The point is, every brand has a brand message, and as your talent representative, we need to see the vision and hopefully share your vision of exactly who you are and how you will fit into today’s marketplace. But most importantly, talent managers and agents need to know if you can act or not. Just like movies and brands promote their product, values, and beliefs through commercials and branded content, you must do the same with your reel. Your talent manager and talent agent use your reel to promote you to production companies and producers, casting directors and TV network executives. So make sure your reel is strong or else no one will know what you are selling – we won’t be able to see what you see.
Always be professional
You are on the right track, you have a great menu, use awesome ingredients and your marketing material looks amazing! You are almost ready to open up for business. . .and remember, this is a business – so keep in mind, everyone loves service with a smile. It is what separates the good restaurants from the great ones. . .and it keeps customers (talent managers, agents, production companies, advertising agents etc) coming back. So be professional, make a point to have good customer service. It’s like JZ said, “I’m not a businessman, I’M A BUSINESS, MAN! So remember to stay professional and the rainmakers of the entertainment industry will remember it.
Everything is in place to ensure your business’s success. Your talent manager and the rest of your team can go to bat for you. Rest assured that your talent manager will go to bat for you if you provide all of the ingredients listed above. We work to find the right opportunities on a daily basis – but, if you think for a moment, your job is to now sit back and wait for the calls to start rolling in. . .think again. Continue to network and stay in constant communication with your talent manager. By no means does this mean to call them every day, but send an email to say hello if something is on your mind. We receive opportunities from various casting platforms: Casting Networks, Actors Access (from our perspective Breakdown Express) on a daily basis and when we see a fit, we spring into action, but keep the age-old saying on the front of your mind, “teamwork makes the dream work.” Talk with your friends, find local up and coming directors who are looking to shoot narratives and producing original content. If something comes up, let your manager and agent know. Nothing will please your talent manager more than to see you are as hungry as they are. Trust me on this. Keep in mind, we have multiple clients and are on the constant lookout for the go-getters who match our enthusiasm for the business.
So for all you artists chasing your dreams, be a student, study who is who and what is what. Stay proactive and the right talent manager or talent management company will find you.
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