Allen Levin

In a post asking what actors would like to read about, Angie Gega requested the following:

“How to find your right team… that goes to war with you and by you…agent/manager – so you can enter in the bigger production doors… LAcasting shows only non union commercials. (I am sag-aftra) Actor Access shows only independent projects. In order to audition for bigger projects… an agent/manager is needed… Is that correct?”

Let’s knock these out one at a time. How do you find the right team? How can you identify the people you’d like with you for the entire journey? How can you determine an agent that will work well with you? How can you tell when a manager is a good fit?

As you build your team, rely on your gut. What is your gut telling you? Do you like this person? Do you think this person has real knowledge and other people will react well to them? Would they represent you well (or might they be an embarrassment?)? Do they have connections ready-made so that doors will open for you immediately? How long have they been in business? Do they love working with actors? How do they see a step by step road map leading to your goals?

Get real information from an agent or manager. If you like them matters more for a manager, but it matters for both. You absolutely must like (love would be better) your personal manager. If you don’t, do not work with them! They should feel like a very close friend. They should always have time for you. They will balance out the team. Your agent likely won’t have much time and they don’t particularly need to be likable. They need to be effective. Are they getting you auditions? Are they able to push you to a casting director and get you in the door? Your agent might be downright rude, but you’ll determine if that’s alright. You truly won’t have that much interaction with them. This reminds me of an old joke:

An actor got home to find his house was broken in and his wife was upstairs beaten up and raped. She was crying when he got to her. She said, “Your agent broke down the door, beat me up, and raped me!” The actor replied completely stunned, “My agent was here??!”

You really won’t get too much time with your agent unless they are a joker. Largely you’ll get a couple minutes a week (during a weekly check in) and otherwise they should be making phone calls and submitting your headshots to casting directors. Your manager will be someone that gives you plenty of in-person time (the good ones do) as they shouldn’t have a very large roster like many agents do. So, if you don’t like the manager, that’s a deal breaker. I’m hoping you can tolerate the agent if they have some clout.

As for LA Casting showing only non-union commercials, I think they show quite a bit more than that. Submit there every day as well as on Actors Access. Don’t simply wait for your team to submit you. You shouldn’t expect them to do anything you aren’t willing to do for yourselves. Actors Access occasionally shows more than independent projects (as Angie mentioned). For my in person actors, I have some valid information I can’t write here. Simply ask me about it in class. There is a wealth of information on projects. LA Casting and Actors Access probably has about 8% of what’s really out there.

Typically in order to audition for the bigger projects you will need representation. An agent or a manager can get you in the door. I like it if you guys have both.

The best thing you can do for building your team, aside from the obvious steps of getting great headshots and marketing materials (business card, website, profiles on submission sites, Social Media presence) is producing your own plays, web-series, pilots, and films. Do not wait for your team to get you work. Work. People will see that you are working. People will come after you for a signing. Remember. You don’t need a team to work. You need to work.

What can you produce? Get started. Work begets work. You’ll create something. You’ll be seen in it. You’ll be signed. You’ll audition regularly for bigger and bigger projects. You’ll book enough to continue marching up the mountain. There is no finish line. Just being in pursuit of your dream means you have won. If you can find the rewards in the pursuit, all other rewards are coming.

As for building your team, follow your instincts…. do your due diligence on each. If you are at Lifebook ask me about everyone before you turn in a contract. I’m a happy member of your team and I want to see you succeed.

Onward and UP.

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