Hi Bonnie,

I like your online articles and thought you might be able to assist us.

My daughter is SAG-eligible and has an agent from our hometown of Austin, Texas. We are in LA right now, where she has been able to sign up with Michael Woolson for some acting classes to help polish her skills. We are told by our Austin agent — Acclaim Talent Agency — that he can submit her for LA roles, but are finding that in fact he cannot submit for all roles that she is qualified for.

Is it acceptable for us to self-submit through Actors Access, or is that considered too much of a newbie step for her? We would also like to find an LA agent for her, but are unsure who is reputable or how exactly to get an agent to meet with her so she can audition with them.

Any and all help is greatly appreciated!

Here is Rachel’s agent’s website for her: https://acclaimtalent.net/profiles/rachel-hart

Many thanks,
Debbie Roberson (mom)

Hi Debbie,

First off, self-submitting is always okay if the project has been posted at a site like Actors Access, where the casting directors know actors have direct access both to information about the project and tools that allow them to self-submit. So, anytime you see an Actors Access posting in which there’s a role your daughter is a good fit, click away! Of course, check with her Austin-based agent, in case there are particular projects on which he or she would prefer to do the pitching.

Next, I’m concerned that your daughter’s out-of-market agent doesn’t have the ability to submit her on everything. I get submissions from agents in other markets all the time. They simply subscribe to LA-based (or NY-based) breakdowns through their Breakdown Services account. So, it’s a little disconcerting if you’re being told that the agent cannot submit or get access to certain projects. Certainly the local agents and managers will have better access to casting directors due to their ongoing relationships, which are bolstered by their face-to-face networking opportunities and years of crisscrossing here and there, but that doesn’t mean reps outside of LA can’t get their LA-based clients seen. My husband’s manager is based in Sydney! She makes regular trips to LA to network and is always hustling on the phone and via email or Skype. So, let’s be sure your agent is actually subscribing to all of the breakdowns. That would make a huge difference (and if the agent is unwilling to subscribe, that would mean you really don’t have an agent who can help you in LA, and had better reconsider the need for an Austin-based agent, if you’re in LA fulltime). Lots of questions to get answered, there, basically.

As for adding an LA-based agent to your team, I’m going to recommend you read these archived columns: Help Us Help You, Ready. Fire. Aim., and this Your Turn on referrals. While you’re working on getting everything ready for the agent search, read Agent-Free Auditioning. Next, I’d recommend you start lurking and then posting over at PARF, which is a message board for the parents of kid actors. Tons of fantastic resources there! Check into acting classes put on by coaches who invite industry in to watch at certain points during the term. I actually attended one of these events this weekend at Intentional Acting. An agent and I watched young actors do scenes, monologues, mock commercials, and a few songs, and then gave feedback. This is part of our scouting and we don’t get paid to do it. Ideally, we’re giving back and becoming aware of actors we may want to bring in for a role down the line or — in the case of my colleague the agent — potentially represent. So, look for opportunities like that if you think your daughter may be ready to be seen at that level.

Now, I know you didn’t ask for this sort of advice, but I did visit the link you provided to your daughter’s Austin-based profile. While this is all fantastic for an out-of-market resumé, since your daughter is now LA-based, she needs a better resumé. (See these posts on resumé tweaks, in the archives.) Basically, you need to take off all extra work (yes, even featured extra work) and commercials and print work from the resumé you’re using to pursue on-camera work in Los Angeles. Especially with the young ones, “white space” on the resumé is fine! Pumping it full of work that is okay to list in minor markets just makes LA-based folks perceive the actor as “out of market.” Better to be seen as new (which she is) than to be seen as trying to overfill a resumé with credits that just don’t “count,” here.

I would also suggest that you take off all non-professional photos from her profile. There are some here that look like ones taken with cell phone cameras and ones that clearly have other people cropped out of them. Those aren’t headshots, and no matter how cute they may be, all they do in Los Angeles is scream “non-pro.” You don’t want that, of course! I would also say you could lose HALF of the photos up there, if not more. They really aren’t different enough to add range. They’re showing us slight variations on the same thing, which is: Cute girl! Again, all of this is just a point about how different things are, minor market vs. major market. In a minor market, you can have a much broader scope to your approach. In Los Angeles, you have to get very narrowly focused to avoid brand confusion on the part of the buyers.

I hope this is all helpful! I look forward to hearing about how things go for you and your daughter here in LA.

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

Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/001353.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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