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Monday, January 12, 2015

Where do Managers and Agents look for new talent?



Wendy Alane Wright is a Hollywood Talent Manager with WAW Entertainment. Her clients have appeared in numerous national commercials, movies, webisodes, short films, and on television networks such as ABC, NBC, Comedy Central, BIO, Lifetime, plus many more. Previous to being a Manager and a Talent Agent at Burn Down Entertainment, she assisted many high profile Managers, Agents and Publicists in the careers of Neil Patrick Harris, Johnny Galecki, Sarah Michelle Geller, The Four Tops, The Bee Gees, Meatloaf, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Guttenberg, The Cranberries Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand, Kenny Rogers, and Neil Diamond. Wendy is also a Recording Artist, Actress, Author and Music Producer all  giving her a 360-degree perspective of the industry.

"Wendy I have a question. Do you have any advice on the iPOP showcases that seem soooo "too good to be true"? I can't imagine any reputable agent in the Los Angeles area is starved for talent and that they would rely on attending these showcases to replenish their stock.  But maybe I am wrong? - Bruce Klimoski

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Well Bruce that's a great question. Here is my answer; yes Agents and managers look everywhere for new talent. IPOP and IMTA showcases, acting classes, plays, open calls and workshops. We really do look everywhere for new talent. I know this because I attend tons and tons of events every year and I see top agents and managers at them all the time.

The problem with some of these events that bring in talent from outside of the LA market is that these people don't live in LA, and most of them are not planning on living in LA. They come to LA for a week, or a weekend and show us their headshots, resumes and talent. Of course we get excited about it the good ones and want to sign them and start getting them auditions but the auditions are here in LA. To get that ball rolling we ask 'are you planning on moving here to Los Angeles?' Or " Can you come out here for a 3-4 months block of time?" And the particpants often reply, 'I hadn't thought about it' or "well if you have something I'll move there." But that's not how it works. That just tells us these people in attendance weren't told how it really works.

If you live in Arkansas and we love you and put you on our roster and then we say okay you have an audition next Wednesday, and then you have another one the following Thursday, and then another one next month, how you going to get to them? Are you planning on coming back to LA three times a month? Are you planning to fly in and out every time we have an audition? Seriously, how do you think it works?

The facts are if you don't live in LA, or if you aren't here for a 3-4 month block of time, and we get an addition for you tomorrow in Hollywood the actors who live here are going to be at the audition.  Actors need to live here in order to take advantage of the opportunities that we create here for you. It really doesn't work if you don't live here, or aren't here for at least a 3-4 month block of time. It takes times for casting to get to know you. It may take years of coming out here for 3-4 months before you actually audition for a part that is really right for you and you book it. Success in this business does not happen over night. As much as you wish it would. It's expensive and very, very, VERY competitive. 

Every year hopefuls pay thousands of dollars to come to LA to attend showcases but no one at the showcase companies tell the people that almost every single Agent and Manager in the room is going to ask them to either move here to Los Angeles, or come here for 3 to 4 months at a time. So these participants are always very surprised at the end of their showcase and the participants go from agent to agent, to manager to manager at the call backs, all hearing the same exact thing: Are you planning on moving to Los Angeles or do you plan to be here for 3 to 4 months at a time?

Unfortunately the showcase companies don't tell everyone that unless they live here in LA they can't really get very far. If they told the participants that upfront, these participants would never pay the $5,000 -$14,000 to attend these weeklong showcase events and seminars. I've been to these event and if you have disposable income and these amounts are no hardship for you they are fun. But you will by no mean be guarateed that you walk away with anything more than a few new friend, a couple of seminars, a banquet or two and an exciting week in a beautiful hotel. Most kids don't get representation because most kids aren't trained enough before they attend and must do t move here or come here for 3-4 months block of time every year.

BUT IMTA and IPOP are 100000% legit and certainly not scams. They are very well organized events that give exceptional exposure to talent. They legitimately put talent in the room with MAJOR agents, managers and casting directors. I LOVE that. They people who do decide to move to LA or come here for an extended period of time can do VERY well and even go on to become stars. IMTA and iPOP certainly do their part. But they either accidentally or conveniently left out the fact that we are going to want them to live here in order to work with them.

What I hate is that is is such a waste of time because the people we see don't relocate or get to La for block of time so there isn't much we can do for them. I think we all prefer to find talent that already lives here or is going to make the effort and the expense to come here. If people were told that in advance we would get to see talent that is really prepared to work with us, but then these big companies wouldn't be making all that money off the dream.


Because this question comes up so often I spoke with Casting in the office of a huge hit Disney Show to find out what they think about self-taping.
WENDY:  IS IT A PIPE DREAM FOR PARENTS TO THINK THEY CAN LIVE OUTSIDE OF LOS ANGELES, PUT THEIR KIDS ON TAPE AND BOOK WORK? 

CASTING: It's 90% a pipe dream...however, the reason it's worth it (if the kid has real talent), is that we hope eventually they will make a trip to LA and we can meet them in person. 
WENDY: DO YOU OFTEN GIVE THE JOB TO KIDS OUT OF STATE WHO GO ON TAPE OR IT IS VERY RARE AN OUT OF STATE KID GETS THE JOB?

CASTING:  I've booked 2 people from out of town on work just from their tape, one was an adult on a Lifetime movie and the other is an actress from Florida who is huge now and her talent was so obvious from the very first self tape we got. 
WENDY: DO YOU STILL DO GENERALS?

CASTING: Only if we have a good reason. If I've seen a mediocre kid for a year on tape I'm going to have zero interest in meeting them in person. An actor from a hit TV series we cast on DISNEY had another person who would always tape and you always just loved him, but never wanted the headache of giving him the part since he's from Canada. Also it’s a huge workload for a guest star, but then when the pilot for t his hit show came around it was definitely time to meet him in person. You won't be able to get a general for just anyone, they definitely have to have a star quality or be very special.

WENDY: EVEN THOUGH THE ODDS ARE LOW, DO YOU ENCOURAGE SELF-TAPING?

CASTING: I always encourage self-tapes because I'm dying to find that one where you just can't take your eyes off of them, but it's hard! Even a great self-tape can't beat out a great actor in the room.

WENDY: DO PARENTS NEED TO REALIZE THEIR CHILD WILL WORK MORE IF THEY ARE IN LA?

CASTING: Parents definitely should be aware of the reality of it. They need to come to LA even for a few weeks. It's all about getting to know the talent (especially for kids). They kids might be great for years and not book because there just isn't that one part, them bam, there's 
the part and they book!

To summarize, I say try to get the work anyway you can. If you don't live in LA build your career right where you are. To learn how to do that you need to read these 2 books:

"How To Be A Star Right Where You Are" and "How To Be A Singing Star Right Where You Are." In these books I inform you of exactly what you and your child can do in the state you live in.
 
To get my books visit : http://www.secretsofahollywoodtalentmanager.com
See You On The Red Carpet,

Wendy Alane Wright
The Hollywood Talent Manager

For more helpful Tips watch over 300 +videos on my You Tube Channel SECRETS OF A HOLLYWOOD TALENT MANAGER