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Thursday, March 22, 2012

How To Become An Actor - Secrets Of A Talent Manager (This post has 11,590 views)

Wendy Alane Wright with Cynthia Barry Talent Agent at First Class Talent, Philip Marcus Talent Agent at Clear Talent, Robin Nassif Taent Agent at Media Artist Group, Jackie Lewis Talent Agent at LB Talent, and Talent Managers from Pink Hammer Management and Elileen O'Farrell Management

Wendy Alane Wright is a Hollywood talent manager and the president of WAW Entertainment. Her clients have appeared on television networks such as ABC, NBC, TNT, CBS, Comedy Central, BIO, Lifetime, and more. They have booked TV shows including “Modern Family,” “Blackish,” “Extant,” “The Colony,” “Animal Kingdom,” “My Haunted House,” and “Henry Danger,” as well as hundreds of commercials for major spots including Shutterfly, Mercedes, Visa, Taco Bell, Honda, Legos, Hot Wheels, and many more. Prior to being a manager and a talent agent at Burn Down Entertainment, Wright assisted many high profile managers, agents, and publicists. For 20 years she was a recording artist, actor, and music producer, and is now the author of five books called, “Secrets of a Hollywood Talent Manager.” Wright teaches the business of acting all over the country and is on the faculty of schools including the New York Studio for Stage and Screen in North Carolina and LA Acting Academy in Phoenix, Arizona. For years she has appeared in numerous magazines, and on radio shows and talk shows including “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”


For NEW actors coming to Los Angeles ! Welcome:)

My name is Wendy Alane Wright and I am a Talent Manager at WAW Entertaiment in Los Angeles California. Coming to LA to work as an actor may seem daunting. You have big dreams and have no idea where to start. Where should you study? What do you do first? Who do you trust?

Me:) You have found a friend here in LA. A friend who knows this business inside and out. I have spent 20+ years in this business. I started as an Assistant at APA a huge Talent Agency that reps major stars, then became a Talent Agent and now I am a Talent Manager.

Finding a reputable manager who believes in you, and is interested in developing you into a talent that makes Agents take notice is a great way to start  building your team.  You can visit Samuel French Bookstore online at www.SamuelFrench.com or in person at 7623 Sunset Boulevard and pick up the book “The Right Manager.” This books lists what type of clients managers are interested in working with, and who is taking on new clients.  Some managers take new people with potential. Other managers want actors who are further along and have already gotten themselves a bunch of acting work through the methods I desribe below.

You can write potential managers a brief letter with a great happy picture of you and ask if they would be interested in meeting with you. Make sure you give a them a little detail about your acting background, current training and acting jobs you have booked. If you have an acting resume and demo send it with.

If you don't have an Actor's resume look at the example on Actors Pages. When you are starting out, you might not have any film or TV credits. That is expected, you are new. Therefore your Theater performances and acting training will therefore be very, very important. For kids we are often looking for a look, a personality, a type we don't have on our roster already. Managers take new kids on but they must be able to speak, make eye contact, show energy, expression and emotion. 
If they do this naturally that's fine. If they learned it in theater and acting classes that's great too. However they came to have those abilities is irrelevant. The fact is those skills are MANDATORY.

My company WAW ENTERTAINMENT talent management in Los Angeles is always looking for talented & beautiful kids ages 6-14 for Film, TV, Webseries and Commercials. If you live in Los Angeles or plan to be here for 2-3 months between Feb-July or Sept-Nov. submit headshots and Resumes to wawentertainment@yahoo.com

Please include: Photos of your child, age, height, weight, city and state you live in and a 30 second video of your child talking about something important to them. Sports, friends, school, food, movies etc. You can record the video on your iPhone, upload it to You Tube, mark video as unlisted and include the link in your email to us. If we are interested we will contact you. We want to get an idea of their personality. We look forward to reviewing your submissions.

Here is a resume of a 16 year old in Kentucky. She is serious about becoming an actor and her resume PROVES it. Look at the training she has had and the theater she has done. How does yours compare?  Click on this link to see Alicen's resume. This is what you need to start building your resume into.

VERY, VERY, VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure if you are 1, 2 or 3 years away from moving to LA that you are doing as MUCH community, regional or professional theatre as you possibly can to build your skill, experience and resume. Also, find a good acting teacher or acting class where you live. Take classes in all four of the following:
  1. Scene Work
  2. On Camera
  3. Improvisation
  4. Cold Reading ...wherever it is offered.

When you sign with a manager you should NEVER pay upfront money. Managers make 15% commission ONLY when you work. They will guide you and help you find classes to strengthen your Audition Skills, Cold Reading Skills and Scene Study Skills. They will give you the names of several reputable photographers to create your headshots and so much more. Read my BLOG: "The Difference Between Agents and Managers" for helpful information.

IMPORTANT: You don’t have to wait until you have a manager to get started. There is plenty for you to do! In fact, even when you have a manager or an agent you can’t leave it all up to them, you will still have to work hard on behalf of yourself and your own career everyday.

HEADSHOTS
So it’s time to get your Headshots. Don’t be cheap on these pictures. They are your calling card and the most important 1st investment of your career. When you shoot your headshots, you will need 2 different headshots; 1 commercial picture, which usually has a great big smile and lots of energy, and 1 dramatic picture. I always suggest MichaelHelms.com Stephanie Girard, Linda Vanoff, and Mark Cartright. They are great photographers and competitively priced at $250-$450 for 3-4 looks. During your photo session, make sure you try different emotions so you can get different looks; angry, happy, serious. Be thinking about something when you are shooting. Acting is the eyes and the camera will pick up a blank look. So have real emotion. Plus, doing this will give you more pics to chose from later. Remember your pics should look exactly like you. When you get a manager or agent show them the pictures from this 1st session, they may be able to use them, or they may have you shoot again with a photographer they recommend. This is quite common. You will change your pictures often and every time you change your look. Note: If you are not getting called in on auditions, it may be that your headshot is not working. Try a different picture until you find one that works.

Your photographer may help you choose 2 pics and retouch them digitally for you. Then you should make 25-50 8x10 reproductions. You can do this at Ray's Photo Lab online. Simply upload your high resolution image and follow the site's directions.

REPUTABLE ONLINE CASTING WEBSITES
Your next step is to join several online casting websites including Actors Access, La Casting, backstage.com and Now Casting. These sites contain breakdowns of all kind of jobs that you can submit your picture and resume for. If you are selected you will be called into audition for the role. A breakdown is a description of the project and characters. Sides are the pages of script you will be required to read from.

On all of your Online Casting Websites, upload at least 5 different pictures with different looks and expressions, complete the resume section, and pay for unlimited submissions on each site. You should submit yourself EVERYDAY to non-union feature films, pilots, TV shows, student films, commercials, webisodes and more. When you audition for these projects give it 100% and hope you book it, but don’t dwell on it. This is a numbers game and you may have to audition 100 times to book 1 project. The better your audition skills, the better those odds get. That is why it is so important to take audition classes when you get here. I recommend Doug Warhit,  MelissaSkoff.com She is a Casting Director who has cast 100+ Features & TV Shows and thousands of actors. She is great, you will learn a lot, and I recommend her to all of my signed clients. For Scene Study classes Bobbie Chance offers a great class for only $25. There are tons of great classes, but to see the ones I recommend read one of my other blogs about Los Angeles Acting Classes.

Often when you start auditioning for acting jobs, the ones you book will be non-paying, but that is okay. You are a beginner. Each time you work you will gain experience and a credit for your resume. You may also get the footage of your work to use on your Demo Reel. It usually takes awhile to get any of the footage so be patient, yet at the same time be persistent and polite while you try to get it. Expect to train and work on projects that you self submit for for the first 2 years.

Once you have strong audition skills, some acting experience and credits on your resume, along with numerous training credits your next step is to start building relationships with Managers, Agents and Casting Directors. (Don't do this until you are ready)

Casting Directors are THE people that bring you to the people can hire you. They are incredibly important people that need to know you and what you can do. I think the best way to meet them is by attending various Casting Director Workshops. They are usually 1-2 hours and Casting Directors take time to read you, watch you and even give you feedback. Places like Act Now! Actors West, Actors LinkReal Pros and One on One offer regular Casting Director Workshops.

Don’t bother mass mailing your photos and headshots to Casting Directors. They don’t respond and you waste your time and money. In the beginning of your career a Casting Director may call you in to audition because you have the look they may be looking for. Usually you will most likely to be considered for smaller roles because you have less experience. These roles are called 5 and Under meaning you may have only 5 lines or under. These are great for your resume and give you valuable experience. Most agents won’t even consider you until you have had some of these. So start trying to get small roles in lesser know TV known shows, roles in indie films, and work as much as you can so you can develop your talent, gain experience and become more interesting to Agent and managers.

If you are coming here with big dreams and you feel that you are very talented, you are going to have to prove that to everyone. No one know will know what you are capable of, even you haven’t seen all you can do. Booking these beginning jobs will help you become more confident and more aware of your own abilities. Don't think you are going to move out to LA and get on a TV show right away. That almost NEVER happens. Doing that is like catching lightning in a bottle and is about the same odds as winning the lottery. Instead, be prepared to make contacts, work hard, study continuously and work every chance you can get.

Once you are able to prove yourself to Agents with a great resume and a Demo Reel that shows your ability, you will absolutely need an Agent to take you to the next level. Agents will submit you on the big stuff and if you do everything I have mentioned for the first 2 or 3 years when you are here, you may just be ready to grab the attention of an Agent. There is a lot of competition for an agent so you have to be prepared, have strong skills, and be persistent. There are more actors than available agents. Do live theatre, get in a show and invite agents to see you. A great way to have agents become familiar with your work is to participate in Showcases in front of agents. To participate in a showcase check out HollywoodActingworkshop.com or ActorsWest.com

Miscellaneous items you need are a passport and a Thomas Guide. The Thomas Guide contains maps of LA and surrounding areas. If your phone or car has GPS this will also help you. If you are looking for a safe, convenient place to live, I suggest Studio City or North Hollywood. They have easy access to major freeways, it's filled with industry people and other actors. Academy Pointe Apartments at 6340 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood is a great place to start.

You must always be going for this career 100% - be over prepared for auditions, familiarize yourself with the sides and script when available, know the TV shows you are auditioning for and the tone of them. Definitely carry a box of headshots and resumes- stapled- in your trunk and bring them to every audition. Have several outfits in your care, sporty, business, etc. Do not show up unprepared. It will make you look bad and your manager or agent look bad. People want to work with professionals, so be professional. Be early to every meeting or audition, be polite and have an attitude of Gratitude. No one owes you anything. There is always another actor available who is better than you, so work hard to become your best and be respectful. Leave the negative part of your ego wherever it is you are moving from.

You will need to create a website with your Headshots, Resumes and Contact Info to make it easy for industry people to find out about you. You can build one through Go Daddy. There are also many other companies out there. Your website address should just be your name. Nothing fancy like "Joe the greatest actor in the world." Here is an example of a professional working Actor's website www.MorganObenreder.com

You will need to change your phone number when you come out here to a local number either 818, 310, 323 so Casting Directors, Managers etc.will know you are here to stay.

You will need to have, or begin creating a DEMO Reel. If you don't have one you can use the footage of the projects you book to start to build your resume and your Reel. You can also hire a production company to shoot a scene or monologue for you. It will look professional and help you get auditions. I recommend Group 8 Productions (818) 808-0022. Having a Demo Reel is crucial and will make it so much easier to sell yourself to Casting Directors and Agents. Once your Reel is complete you will need to upload it to all of your Online Casting Websites. Once you have your Demo Reel, create a YOU TUBE Channel and upload your Demo Reel to it. You can send the link to interested Casting Directors and Managers. Note: A Demo Reel should never be longer than 2-3 minutes. If you have multiple scenes upload each one individually.

Get some Business Cards with your photo on them, website address, the links to your La Casting and Actors Access profiles and a local phone number. Always be prepared to make new contacts and keep track of them in a computer database program like ACT or a simple notebook. You will want to follow up with everyone you meet regularly and professionally. "Reasonable Contact" is appropriate and is exemplified by sending a Post Card thanking Casting Directors for an audition, announcing an acting job you booked, a callback you got, a show you are appearing in, or "Happy Holidays" Card at Christmas. Keep in touch with people every month. You can order business cards online for only $25 at VistaPrint.com

Constant marketing, Headshots, Reels and Auditioning Skills are the basis for how you begin your Acting Career. The Acting business is a process. Working in this industry takes time, a plan and luck. 50,000 new actors come to LA every year and within 3 years 90% leave. So if you want to be part of the 10% that stays and actually works, you have got to see this as a business that you run and are always building. Rarely are there overnight successes. Your team, which includes YOU, your Manager and Agent, will work for you and help you grow your business. 25% of your career will be acting 75% of it will be promoting yourself and doing business. I hope this gives you something to think about.

Don't come out here broke if you can help it. Save as much money as you can between now and when you come out. $10,000 is what it takes every year to pay for this acting career. Be ready to work hard when you get here. Only hard workers succeed in this business.

Make friends with the other actors you meet in acting classes. They are a great support, may have been here longer than you, and often have a wealth of information and experience. But choose the positive people. Every actor has a different experience here and you don't need anyone else's negativity. Surround yourself with other hard working actors who are focused and working. You can learn a lot from them.

If you are going to some out to LA to "make it" and work as an actor I give you this solid piece of advice: Don't come if you can be happy doing anything else. This is a very difficult business, full of rejection, competition and disappointment. You ONLY want to come here if Acting is the ONLY way you can be happy. And then, your goal should not be to come here so you can "become famous" instead, it should be to become the best actor you can be and do work you are in love with.

I offer a workshop called, “The Winner's Circle" for brand new actors which will help you begin to understand the business and start to develop a plan of action for your success. I teach it along with several important industry friends of mine a theatrical Agent, Commercial Agent, Casting Director, Headshot Photographer, Working Actor and Reel Producer. You will learn so much information in this workshop from top people in the business  who are all committed to your success! I have been coaching actors for years so if you are new to this business I highly recommend this workshop. It will give you the "inside" information you need and it will put you miles ahead of the hundreds of other newcomers that arrive in L.A. every year. At the end of this 4-hour seminar with us you will have a game plan for success. The cost is $179 and it's worth every penny. Visit my website and sign up today for the next workshop. (818) 203-6080

People ask what kind of actors do I look for?

They have to be talented and have a huge drive to succeed in this industry. They have to be focused and willing to give everything they have to the process; the preparation, the auditions, the classes, the characters they play, and the jobs they get. They have to be ready for 95 no's to every 1 yes. They need to be well-trained and always training. They have to have time and resources to aggressively pursue their career. And they have to be open to taking my direction.

I have to feel that any actor I work with would be a responsible person for me to invest my time, energy, expertise and resources in. I only get paid when they do. Therefore, I want people who are going to work hard at what they do, as hard as I work to get them the opportunities. When I take on a developmental client, which means they have no TV credits, have only done student films, don't know casting directors, don't have an agent, I know it will likely take years to build them into a profitable business. If I take that risk with someone, it is because I believe in them, their talent and their ability to really succeed in this business. I truly enjoy the creative process of developing an actor's career. I am as happy as they are when they get a job. Not because of the money (although that can be great) rather because of the actors chance to be creative and express themselves as artists. I live for giving these amazing people that I work with that opportunity.


Make sure to regularly check out my other blogs at “How to Break Into Show Business: Secrets of a Talent Manager” where I discuss in more detail each of the subjects I have covered above. 


IF YOU WANT TO BE ON TV AND IN FILMS 
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A few times a year I offer a workshop called, “The Winner's Circle" for brand new actors which will help you begin to understand the business and start to develop a plan of action for your success. I teach it along with several important industry friends of mine including a top Theatrical Agent, Commercial Agent, Casting Director, Headshot Photographer, Working Actor and including Reel Producer. You will learn so much information in this workshop from top people in the business who are all committed to your success! I have been coaching actors for years, and I know new actors need a mentor and professional guidance, so if you are new to this business I highly recommend this workshop. It will give you the "inside" information you need and it will put you miles ahead of the hundreds of other newcomers that arrive in L.A. every year. At the end of this 4-hour seminar with us you will have a game plan for success. The cost is $179 and it's worth every penny. Visit my website and sign up today for the next workshop. Check website for next date and for more info.



I wish you great success! Break a Leg!

If you liked this information and found it helpful leave a comment! I love to hear from new people.

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Wendy Alane Wright Smith
The Hollywood Talent Manager
WAW ENTERTAINMENT
wawentertainment@yahoo.com