Wendy Alane Wright with Academy Award Winner Halle Berry on the set of Extant
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.”
What Does A Talent Manager Do? Do I Need One?
I am the President and Owner of WAW Entertainment, a boutique talent management firm in Los Angeles. We represent actors, comedians, models and singers for TV, Film, Commercials, Webisodes and Theater for both Union and Non Union. We only represent outstanding talent. Once I have decided that you are going to be a great fit for my management company and the contracts are signed, we get to work. And boy do we have a lot of work to do! I am going to walk you through the steps we take the first 3 years. This is what we give every new client we sign so they know what we will be guiding them to do.
Actors out there - if you have talent, drive, passion and can really act you too can follow this blueprint for success and get started working in the industry. If you never quit, you WILL become a working actor.
First, we get our clients set up on Actors Access and LA Casting. Actors Access lists mostly Theatrical breakdowns and LA Casting lists mostly Commercial breakdowns. As time goes on we may add Now Casting and Casting Frontier. Everywhere acting jobs are listed you should be looking. We suggest every actor subscribe to Backstage.com
We have our clients fill out their online casting profile questions thoroughly and upload Pics and Resume. Kids need Work Permits and Coogan Accounts set up. Passports are needed for all clients.
Next, we have clients take new Headshots, if, and as needed. This is your MOST important tool. Investment here is crucial to your success. There are lots of great photographers out there. Count on paying about $300-$500 for good headshots. Here are some of the many Photographers I work with and love. For Adults: Marc Carwright, Tihanyi, Kenneth Dolin, Alex Kruk, For Kids: Fly Girl Photography, JBC Images or Juls Megill. For Teens: Keli Squires Taylor Photography (keeps them looking young) AFFORDABLE RETOUCHING: Julie Wittner REPRODUCTIONS: Argentum Photo Lab, Ray’s Photo Lab
LEARN ABOUT THE BUSINESS We have our clients start to get familiar with how the business works by suggesting they read industry books i.e. “Hit The Ground Running,” by Carolynne Barry; “Self Management For The Actor” by Bonnie Gillespie; "How To Book Acting Jobs in TV & Film," by Cathy Reinking. If you don't take the time to read these books cover to cover, you are not serious about being a working actor. Instead you have a hobby. Read the Hollywood Reporter and Daily Variety to see what is happening in Hollywood, who the players are, and what deals are being made.
I have written 5 best selling books on breaking into show business. My 100 page e-books are given free to all of our clients. To Purchase your copy and see what we have our clients do specifically - get an INSTANT DOWNLOAD visit: http://www.secretsofahollywoodtalentmanager.com
We also encourage clients to attend show business seminars as often as they can. There is so much to learn about this business. An actor is starting their own business. In essence actors are like mini-corporations. Starting a business without understanding how their business will work is dumb. Actors have a lot of time between jobs. It should be used to improve their craft and learn about the business.
OBTAINING ACTING WORK WAW helps clients to build up their resume, gain experience and get acting jobs. Our goal is to help clients become strong actors that will gain the attention of casting directors, producers, commercial and theatrical agents. Our beginning actors act in Student Films, Non Union TV, Film, Commercials, Music Videos, Features, Theater and Shorts to get experience and footage for the acting reel. Our clients will audition endlessly. Actors act and they audition even more. If you are not loving this, you need to get into another business, and I need to get another client, ha!.
INCREASE TRAINING / BUILD RESUME WITH CREDITS WAW helps client increase their training and build their resume by suggesting appropriate training classes based on client’s individual needs. With each class or job booked, clients update their resume with the new training and acting work.
We have our clients sign up for top Commercial Training Classes with:
Judy Kain at "Keep It Real"
Stuart K Robinson
We suggest exceptional On-Camera Audition Techniques Classes with:
Doug Warhit, Melissa Skoff, Margie Haber.
For Comedy we suggest:
Scott Sedita, Lesley Kahn
GROUNDLINGS, UCB, SECOND CITY, and COMEDY SPORTZ.
For Kids Training: Actorsite, Actor Training In LA, Talent House Academy, Andrew Magarian, Tracy Martin Kids Koaching (Auditioning), Weiss Baron Hill (Commercials) For Teens: Helen Anzalone
ACTING COACHES: Cameron Thor: 818-991-0880 Michael Woolsen: 323-933-7133
SINGING TRAINING: Terri Weiss, Suzanne Kiechle email@example.com,
Erin Horton EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
SINGING PERFORMANCE TRAINING: Wendy Alane Wright email@example.com
Saturdays in LA from 11am-1pm Overcome stage fright, shyness, learn to perform confidently on stage and in singing auditions.
END OF YEAR 1 PROGRESS REPORT This is a very rewarding and highly competitive business. WAW continually monitors how hard clients are working for their careers, the efforts they make, and continue to determine if their actions are in line with what they “say” they want to achieve. As long as they are, WAW continues working with the client. If they are serious about building their career, this year will have proven that, and we continue on to the next phase. On the other hand, if actor has not been fighting hard for their place in this business, we reevaluate our relationship with the client. We drop clients who have not demonstrated 100% commitment to advancing their careers, or who have been lax in following our very specific suggestions. There is no reason to waste anymore time together. The reality is there are many talented actors out there who want to have a spot on our limited roster.
DEMO REELS We guide our client in assembling their 1st demo reel. Options: 1) Actor can collect footage from projects they have completed. 2) Shoot a scene with an independent producer/ production company i.e. Daniel Scherl. 3) They can use a scene from an acting class, i.e.Margie Haber’s class – she uses great HD footage.
MORE ACTING TRAINING WAW requests actors to continue training and get into well know Acting Classes that castings director respect such as; Playhouse West, Ruskin, Groundlings, UCB. Helping our clients become the best actor they can be is our goal. As expected, (and often required) by agents, and casting directors, we keep our actors in audition training classes, have them study deeper acting Methods to keep them sharp and make sure they are ready for all opportunities. Every actor needs to learn how to MASTER the audition room. This usually takes years, and is an ongoing process. Getting into the room is one thing, getting the job is another. Training as an actor NEVER ends. You will be doing it your entire a career. And if you are not always training people, in this business will have a hard time taking you seriously, because the good ones always are.
Some actors complain, "It seems like all my managers does is suggest training." Listen closely actors, your training is everything. In order to deal with the weekly rigors of a television series or the demands of film and the expectations of all of the people involved with a project where they have invested their time, millions of dollars, and energy into their vision, you must be at the top of your game. And if you get hired and they see you aren't you will be replaced. It is my job to make sure this doesn't happen to you. It is also my job to make sure that the casting directors recommend you to the producers and directors, who recommend you to be approved by the Network. You have a tall ladder to climb and I want you to to be successful on every rung. Your training is your foundation and will carry you through this process. Without it, you will be replaced by better trained actors who can handle it. Yes, this is business driven by creativity but at the top levels, it is all about the money.
GETTING A COMMERCIAL AGENT When our actors are ready, we begin to submit their Heashots/Resume to Commercial Agents we know. WAW helps clients obtain a Commercial Agent. This will likely be their 1st agent and will give them experience in the real world of acting. Commercial jobs can be very lucrative which will help you pay for all your other acting related expenses. Commercial auditions will also help you practice your new and improved commercial audition skills and give you on set experience.
Once clients are signed to a Commercial Agent, we assist the agent with whatever they need i.e. we confirm bookings, help reach clients, answer incoming producer or casting questions. WAW also serves as a liason between agent and client, and assists with solving problems, answering questions, ensuring payment, explaining numerous aspects of the business as work becomes more frequent. Our relationship with your agent should not take the place of your relationship with your agent. You can still send them thank you notes, and updates on jobs you have booked and plays you will be in. We will guide you though to make sure you are not annoying your agent. There are specific things they hate.
Our actors continue to update their online profiles with class info, new headshots or more looks as needed by agent. We also continue to add footage to the demo reel as we go and upload clips to online casting sites.
CASTING DIRECTOR WORKSHOPS WAW helps our clients build relationships with Casting Directors through regular auditioning, and also their participation in workshops at various locations including: Actors West, AIA, Actors Key, Hollywood Acting Workshop, and numerous others. We help our clients create a target CD list and narrow their focus. Clients pick 5-10 shows they would be right for and them take workshops with the Casting Directors that cast the shows on their list. Workshops are perfect for allowing the CD to get familiar with your face and your work. Building these relationships is crucial and we show you how to manage the relationship in a professional and consistent way. We know what they like and how they like to be approached. We also know what ticks them off and what you should avoid doing.
WAW helps client determine their type. Through the acting classes and commercial training actors begin to understand that they have a type and what the kinds of roles they want to play and are suited for. As they figure this out their Headshots will change. Now that the actors know who they are their headshots need to reflect the kinds of roles they are suited to play. Headshots inform CD's how an actor wants to be cast. They are not pretty pictures!
IMPORTANT BONUS On this exciting Hollywood adventure, as managers by now we likely have also become a friend, in my case a second mother, a motivator, counselor, a support system, celebrating with you and wiping tears as needed, answering never ending questions, helping you stay positive, focused and on track. I believe in you and want you to be successful! A manager like me is a great asset to have on your team.
GETTING A THEATRICAL AGENT By the end of year 2 or beginning of year 3, you are probably ready to start approaching a good theatrical agent. Believe me, they do not want to see you before you are ready. Often they will not give you a second chance to make an impression. So approaching an agent at the right time is crucial. I won't let it happen until I know you are ready and that you have what they are really looking for. To my amazement most actors walk in my door day one and think they already have what it takes, that they are special, and they are enough just the way they are. Well yes, of course, you are special but agents look for more than that. Agents expect that I have prepared you for them and weeded out those who are not ready. That is what they count on managers for. They don't have time to do that so they count on managers to do it for them. A manager's recommendation can go a long way, opening doors for you that you typically can not open yourself.
We are very well connected in the industry. When a client has proven their commitment to the craft, have consistently shown up on time for meetings and auditions, given us everything we need to work with including headshots and demo reels, behaved professionally, and we are 100% confident that we can count on you to represent WAW at the higher levels, WAW will submit you to agents we know personally. But know this, putting my reputation on the line for you will only happen if you have proven yourself worthy of this beyond a shadow of a doubt.
At the same time, WAW has clients regularly attending Agent Showcases as an additional way to start meeting theatrical agents, allowing them to become familiar with you, and your work. Rarely, we have clients submit their own Headshots/Resumes/Demo Reels to other appropriate theatrical agents that we suggest.
Once a Theatrical Agent is obtained, WAW assists the agent with whatever they needs to be successful with our client. WAW facilitates communications between agent and clients to confirm bookings, contact actors, answer agent, producer and casting director questions. We are now in business with your agent and we are a team. One of my jobs as your talent manager is to make your agent's job easier. I also will suggest when to replace them if they are not doing their job. And our actor continues to make changes to their online profiles, adding each job they book, class they attend, new headshots/more looks as agent need. I say this again because you would be surprised how many actors forget to update their resumes with new skills they have learned, jobs they have booked or classes they have taken. Agents hate this!
WAW offers suggestion about who to coach with, and ensures clients are getting coached for auditions as needed. We want our clients to truly be able to deliver their best in the audition room. Coaches we love are Gloria Garayua, Kimberly Crandall, Rod Rowland, and Josh Latzer.
WORKING MORE REGULARLY By year 4 and beyond – we can likely refer to what you are doing as a “CAREER!” Congratulations. You did it! And it took years. It does 99% of the time, for 99% of the actors.
Of course, there are exceptions 1% of the time...you could get really lucky and book a role as a series regular in your 1st year. At which we will jump up and down. But back to reality. over the years as your acting work picks up, and it does because you’ve built relationships with CDs and your booking is strong due years of auditioning, working as an actor, preparing and training - WAW and our clients BOTH have more responsibilities. With each client’s growing success, WAW is also coordinating press, interviews, audition and acting work schedules, interfacing with producers, directors, studios, record labels, products, publicists, selecting projects, reading scripts, attending premieres, producing projects, referring accountants and attorneys…and so much more.
You have been blessed with talent and you will be rewarded for your hard work. And WAW is rewarded for our hard work, not only financially, but spiritually, creatively and emotionally as we watch our clients succeed in sharing their gifts and talents with the world.
We are excited, and truly honored to be a part of our client's journeys!
Now you see how we get our clients working. We have a system that works. The only thing that is needed is an actors talent, tenacity, positive attitude and endless effort with a willingness to do whatever it takes to make their dreams come true.
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