Sunday, October 19, 2008

OK. I'll elaborate

A number of you have wondered why I am being so covetous of information regarding my agent meeting this week, so I have decided to tell you the tale of what happened, WITH names. Google searches be damned!

As usual, I met this agent through The Network, which is a fantastic place to meet and get feedback from agents and casting folks (I do want to mention, though, that you have to do research and manage your expectations when going to these events - they are not free-for-all job fairs, and they are also not always high on the education list. You have to make sure your goals are in line with what is actually possible at these events, and only then will you find success. I will be blogging on this topic at my coaching blog- will post the link here when it is done. In the meantime, you can check out other posts about networking here.)

Anyway... the agent this particular evening was Christopher Silveri from Gilla Roos. He has recently taken over the adult legit department since the retirement of longtime agent, Marv Josephson. The seminar started with a Q&A, which was lively (this agent has great energy, which may have been because of the 4 Starbucks coffees he admitted to downing before arriving.) I asked Christopher which casting directors considered him to be a “go-to” agent for project, or who he had a great relationship with. He said that he gets along great with Jay Binder, Maria Higgins and the folks over at “Ugly Betty.” He mentioned that his first love is musical theater but he is vigorously pursuing TV work for his clients. He also said that he would only push film for a limited amount of actors, because many actors simply are not ready for film (yet think they are.) I found this to be very interesting, but I was also a little concerned. I am interested in musical theater and TV, but I am very interested in film so I need an agent who is going to be able to open doors in all of these areas. Christopher said that he is isn’t signing anyone right now- because he is building his own clientele and is not sure which direction he is heading in, he will be freelancing for a while and will see what happens.

I am number 13 on a list of 17 to perform that night, after the Q&A. I have prepared my usual monologue as well as several songs (he said he may ask for a 2nd piece to contrast our first piece.) Normally, the one-on-one time with a agent lasts 6-8 minutes at The Network- this evening he was taking between 10-15 minutes with each actor, which was awesome. As people came out I heard them mention that he was having them do 3-4 pieces, or he would give them adjustments and have them do the pieces several times again. The 2nd girl who came out said that he asked her to take her shoes off- saying that sometimes high heels make girls unbalanced and if they were flat foots they would be more centered and grounded. It was a bit of an odd request, but as a monologue coach I understand where he is coming from. After the 3rd girl came out, the agent came out as well and asked to address the group, which was rather unprecedented. He asked that all girl either come in with flat shoes, or with no shoes at all- that he would explain in the room, but that it will make for a better audition experience.

About an hour and 45 minutes after the Q&A it was my time to go into the room. I walk in and put my sheet music on the piano, but plan to do my monologue first. I introduce myself, and then offer to remove my boots (which had 3 inch heels.) He said, “Well, you can choose to remove them or not, I just think it usually helps the performance.” So, in a bold move, I said, “Well, I would love to leave them on and then get feedback from you to find out if I should have removed them. I think I can give a grounded performance, but if I can’t that would be amazing feedback to get.” He smiled and said, “Sure. ”

I did my monologue, and after I finished, he paused for a moment and smiled. “You don’t need any feedback, and you didn’t need to take off your shoes. Do you have a song for me?”

I sang the rock song, “Alone” by Heart. Again he smiled at the end, and said, “You sang that very well, but can I tell you something? Sometimes it will have nothing to do with you, but people will HATE that song. It will remind some people of their college roommate doing bad karaoke. And this will have nothing to do with you. Just thought you would want to know that. I would love to hear your contrasting song.”

So, I sang, “Somewhere That’s Green” to show a lighter, sweeter pop soprano sound. About halfway through I was getting bored with hearing myself! So I was very glad when I was done and I was able to take a seat. Christopher just looked at me and said, “You know what? I am not going to give you any feedback, because I want to be in contact with me. I think there is something we can do for you. You are a very good actor. You have a lovely voice. I would like to set something up with you, ok?”

Wow- that’s never happened before. I have had an agent tell me something close to that, (eg: “You are exactly the kind of person we like to work with- we’ll definitely keep you in mind for the future.”) but nothing as explicit that this. He looked over my resume again, and I mentioned that I was very interested in TV work. he said, “Yeah, I thought you might be. That’s good.” So, I told him I would call him to set something up the next day. And I did. And now I have an appointment to meet with him on October 29. As I walked out the door, having spent only 6-7 minutes with him, I joked that the other actors would be thrilled that I only took that short amount of time. He asked, “Oh, no! Am I taking too long?” I assured him, “No! Let me tell you something- the actors who have come out of here have felt like a million bucks. The other agents who come through here don’t take as much time with the actors, and we really, really appreciate it.” And, as I said, I walked out of there feeling like a million bucks.

Now, I have a few questions about their office before I would commit. I would want to make sure that he has a sense of what I can do in film, as well as TV and musical theater. I would want to make sure that if I go out of town on a theater gig, that he continues to have conversations about my work to the casting folks in NYC so that there isn’t a lull when I get back into town. I would want to see what his communication style is, and make sure that he can handle my “go-getter” nature. I am very business savvy, and sometimes that can alienate an agent whose ego is bigger than his brain (me being a go-getter means I make more money- duh!) So, we’ll have to meet to see if our two styles and visions match, but if they do, I could be freelancing with an option to sign by the end of the year.

In the meantime, I am meeting other agents, and am strengthening the relationships I have with casting folks. I continue to do good work, and I am practicing my audition and scene study skills almost daily. I am finally living the kind of life I always imagined as an actor. Landing an agent is one small piece of a larger puzzle, but it gets me into the next level of my career and I am looking forward to it happening very soon.

By the way, if any readers here have an agent, and want to make a referral for me, that would be awesome! The ones I have met recently, and who already like my work, are Joel Carlton, Michael Rodriguez, David Cash, Ben Sands, Jim Daly and Michael Boone Kelly. If you are signed with any of them and would like to make a recommendation, let me know! =)

1 comment:

  1. /does a little happy dance!

    That's awesome, Erin! I hope you find that you're compatible with him and that he's still as excited about your skills when the Starbucks wears off :-)


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