Thank you for joining us for Episode 0514 of The Work.

The Work with Bonnie Gillespie

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Effortless: When you come in for an audition, take a moment, get into the zone. When what you do looks effortless, it is desired. That’s you, living on brand, showcasing your bullseye.

Run time: 5:42

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Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

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  1. Rita October 16, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Hello there, Bonnie!

    I am so happy to be reaching out to you!

    I am a young actress in Hollywood. I’ve spent all of my past being an artist and training as an actor (with hard core, conservatory & college training and private coaching for 5 years) not worried about the business. Present day: 2014 has been the year for me to let go of my one track, artist mindset and allow myself to ALSO be the business woman IN CHARGE of my career. Early this year I read your book , took a Sam Christensen’s branding workshop, downloaded Scott David’s casting app., read more industry books, got on social media, created a website, an IMDb, a Youtube and Vimeo channel, created footage, head-shots, photos-hoots, the whole nine. Your book has been a wealth of information. Thank you! Your book, blog and your weekly podcasts are inspirational. I don’t have a simple question about my type or how to get an audition or how to start my career. You answered all those questions thoroughly in you book! And, I do my research.

    I have a reoccurring situation that is happening in meetings with industry professionals (specifically agents and managers) leaving me feeling frustrated and a little upset.

    When I reach out or take meetings, I do my homework. I know which CDs cast the shows I would “solve a problem for” and which agents I would also ‘solve a problem for.” I have targeted my market and the people who can help me reach out to that market.

    My current project has been to send out targeted emails and snail mail to said agents/managers and to do prepared read workshops for CDs that need to know I exist, so I can “solve a problem” for them with casting.

    I have a killer (ninja) package that’s so on brand- that I’ve worked really hard to create and make appear effortless. This includes a cover letter that hints a my type & where I’m going and explodes with my natural speaking tone, high quality head-shots that subtly scream my type and short 2 min reel that only displays characters that I would and could be cast in RIGHT NOW.

    I dress on brand to every meeting. I do my hair and make up accordingly. I look like my headshot. I have generated phrases that roll off the tongue that make people “get me” in a few seconds, without boring them with my life story.

    I have gathered years worth of reviews, letters of recommendations, casting breakdowns, notes from directors, etc and even participated in a branding workshop to make certain all of this is BULLSEYE.

    I am naturally quiet and keep to myself upon first meeting people. So, I have worked really hard on my ability of public self acceptance/charisma and working a room. I’m good at it now. Like Marilyn Monroe did, I know how to turn it on- even when inside I feel off. I even have come to enjoy it. Starting out a conversation with a one liner that allows people to experience me, truly creates an open energy in a room.

    ALL THAT, being said.

    I submit to agents, and because I’ve targeted and my package is BULLSEYE- I get meetings.

    I show up early, I am prepared, I work the room, I leave bread crumbs to the trail to my bullseye, I use my phrases to break the ice, they are impressed with the business woman type questions I have for them and all I know about the agency.

    These meetings with BUSY agents have lasted minimum 45 min and one going up to 2.5 hrs of “vibing.”

    My meetings have all gone VERY similar- or there is a pattern to say the least. While meeting with a these agents, I’ve allowed them to “get me” with my oner liner pitch and the conversation is flowing. We are talking about how to pitch me, what our goals are, what CDs I have already created relationships with, my training, even our hometowns, great food, and a book we both just read. It’s crazy! I’m thinking to myself, “This is too good to be true. This person gets me. I feel like I’m out at happy hour, not a stuffy interview or meeting..” All of a sudden a comment like this happens:

    ” I can take any actor with no credits and help them get an established resume. I know star quality when I see it… but, I don’t think we are a good fit. ” (This gentlemen requested two more meetings with me saying he wasn’t sure about me, helped me create taped auditions in his office, helped me create my first footage reel and said he would help me get a costar.. ? NEVER signed me. Obviously, I distanced myself because I felt like I was being stringed along…)


    “How do I see you? Sexy, interesting… You’re not one thing, but that’s a good thing because we don’t sign clients that are only one thing. And having no/minimal credits? That’s never been an issue for us getting clients in rooms. So, I don’t think we can take you on right now… Maybe if I see you do another scene? We are really selective.” (This meeting ended with a hug, looking at all my head-shots, and photos on my website and talking about how he would pitch me as a sexy Jewish girl…?)


    “I can’t take you on right now; we have a really small roaster. You’re movie star beautiful, but you’d be too much work for me. Do you know how much work it is to build a career? I have established clients and it’s even hard to get them auditions with how much the industry has slowed down. Come back when you have more credits. ”


    One meeting that felt like a conversation with an old friend. The agent called me her “Italian daughter” and told me “the best Italian food in LA was in her kitchen and when she had me over for dinner, I’d see why.” Then she hugged me good-bye and said she “looked forward to working with me and I’d be hearing from her soon.” The E-mail the next morning? We have someone too similar to you and we are not signing you, but “you are a rockstar. You were born to do this and I know you’ll find someone.”

    Not to over dramatize, but I’ve done multiple CD workshops with CDs who praise me and say they “will be calling me in soon.” Three CDs have actually emailed me on separate occasions the next day to say “wonderful work” and “You were great. You’re going in my good headshot pile” and ” I’ll be calling you in soon” BUT none of them have called me in, despite all the high praises. I do follow up e-mails and postcards)

    After doing stellar, on brand, on type work in front of CDs, who seem to love me and even thank me for my work: they never call me in? After conversations with agents that are effortless and interested, these comments come out of no where and catch me completely off guard. I mean, I can still feel my mouth dropping in disbelief and confusion as I write the statements.

    I can read body language, I can sense a vibe, and I can take a hint if things are going bad. I’ve been in rooms where casting or agents do not want to talk and “shoot the shit.” So, I smile, slate, do my work, say “thank you” and get the hell out.


    When a meeting feels like cocktails, and all signs point to a great match, where do these comments come from? Why are people meeting with me for an hour, yet not sealing the deal? Why are they taking an interest in me at all? Why did they call me in for a meeting, if not to sign me? Why are people taking valuable time out of their busy days for some one they don’t even want to work with?

    I have to ask and it’s a terrifying question… What am I doing wrong?

    Bonnie, thank you for taking the time to read all this and I look forward to your knowledgeable response.


    P.S. I preferred to private message you, but could not find an e-mail or way to DM you on Facebook or Twitter. I found this to be the only way to reach out. I hope this form of communication for this kind of question is appropriate. If possible please e-mail me back.

  2. Bonnie Gillespie October 18, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    Here’s what’s wrong, Rita: You’re impatient. That’s it. Plain and simple.

    IF you’ve done everything as you’ve outlined in such great detail, IF you’re getting the comments exactly as you’ve detailed here, IF your tools are that good and your ability to read the room is that on-point and all of this is going exactly as you say it is… then everything is going right and you just need to GIVE IT A MINUTE to simmer.


    It takes a decade to make it in Los Angeles. Sometimes longer. You’re not sharing how LONG it’s going between the time you get great feedback and the “never calling me in” or “not sealing the deal.” Give it a minute.

    You’ve planted seeds. A LOT of seeds, it sounds like. Stop running around tugging on the teeny shoots of green that are starting to peek out from the ground. Just water, fertilize, and WAIT. You don’t make plants grow by tugging on them. You nourish them with GOOD food (which it sounds like you’re doing) and you keep an eye on ’em to be sure they don’t need something more.

    That’s it.

    Keep doing good work.

    (And my email address has run in the footer of my weekly column consistently since 1999, so you have my direct email address… also any reply to an email from my mailing list, I see. And IMDb-Pro lists my address. As does my company’s website… sooo… um… I feel like I’m talking to Dorothy, who has been wearing some great ruby slippers all along… in several ways.)

    Stay inspired, girl!


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