Marketing Tips – MEETING Industry Pro’s IN PERSON – Apples and Oranges

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Professional Interviews CAN be nerve-racking OR they can be
FUN! There are TWO IMPORTANT THINGS to remember!

THE FIRST important thing is that you are there because they
are INTERESTED in you!

A client recently asked me naively if her offers to have 3
agent meetings were becau se they were just being “polite”.
NO, they were NOT being polite. No one has time to waste
going through the process of interviewing you or making you
drive there, park (pay for a cab or a bus) and spend
10-30 minutes for NO reason! If after a meeting you do
not get a response such as an offer for signed representation,
a follow up meeting so both parties can be “sure” or at the very
least an offer of free-lance representation, then YOU are
doing something WRONG! You are not creating the most positive
presentation OR you are not giving them the right information-
i.e that you are a winner and will book a lot of work! There was a
dis-connect somewhere.

The exception to this? Sometimes after speaking with you and
discovering more about you an agent may feel that you are too
similar to a current client, someting that wasn’t apparent at first
meeting. So, your strategy? Stay in touch and know that you have a
potential agent for the future. Things change, clients leave. When
the time is right, you’ll hear from them.

THE SECOND important thing is –  They NEED to know
how to represent you, hire you or cast you! So no matter
what you discuss or chat about you HAVE to get this valuable
information into their consciousness IF you want a successful
follow up relationship.
OK…now comes the APPLES and ORANGES technique.
Every Agent interview I’ve ever experienced and that of
thousands of clients goes something like this:
“So what are doing now?” OR
“What’s happening with you?” OR
“What have you been doing recently?”

It’s a trick question and doesn’t mean LITERALLY
“What are you doing now”?
It means,
“Tell me why I should work with the next minute or so.”
They NEED to know if you are bookable, are you marketable?
are you likeable? Will you come through for them so they can
make that precious 10% if they commit and work hard for YOU.

But most actors answer the question literally. BIG MISTAKE!- Unless
you are currently starring in a Broadway show, just booked a major
film, just got cast in a network commercial that will earn you big
bucks – you get the picture.
So what do you say if you haven’t got recent major credits?

Let’s start with the DON’T’s-

Example #1:
AGENT: What are you doing now?
ACTOR: Um, nothing. It’s been slow.

Example #2:

AGENT: What are you doing now?

ACTOR: Uh, I’m in class and…um, I have a job at a bar.

Example #3:
AGENT: What are you doing now?
ACTOR: I was an extra in the new Oliver Stone movie and I did a
short scene in a 10 minute Student film a few weeks ago.
All of which will NOT get ANY professional interested in you. It
doesn’t tell them that you will be successful or know how to
run your career effectively OR what parts you can play,
get cast in or that ANYONE else thinks well enough of you to
cast you in anything major!

Did you ever see an agent smile with a blank look on their face
and say sweetly,“Really nice to meet you…let me know
when you’re IN something.” ?

This is their friendly attempt to get you to LEAVE. They don’t want
to offend you, they realize you aren’t ready for an agent, aren’t
getting work on your own and want them to do all the heavy work of
selling you without making any money for the effort.OF COURSE
Now, let’s flip it…when you hear the classic line,

What are you doing now?”(APPLES), answer ORANGES.

So, instead of answering the absolute boring truth you answer
YOUR truth, YOUR story.
Tell them about your type, your passion, your most successful
portrayal, the most exciting audition you ever had.Tell them a story
they will enjoy hearing. You are accomplishing two things-
showing them who you really are and entertaining them- that you
are a brilliant actor who can sell himself.  It’s not always important
that you have major credits from two weeks or two months ago.
It’s important that they can rely on you to MAKE your career
successful. It’s your SPIRIT and INTENTION that will get them on board.
Some of the DO’s.

Example #1:

AGENT (APPLES): What are you doing now?
ACTOR (ORANGES): I’m very pro-active, submit myself all the time
and I’m developing a fun,new webisode with a few really good actors
who are friends.I play a character just like Tina  Fey from 30 ROCK-
I wrote it as well and we’re even looking for sponsors to promote it
and make it very financially successful. I THINK WE FOUND OUR
FIRST ONE. There’s a budget! And that Indy film I shot a few months
ago is headed for Sundance! I’m excited! The performances are so
good – it might win an award. I played a quirky nurse in a starring role
and it was an absolute hoot! The director wants to cast me in his
next feature.

(very few agents could resist an actor who might be seen at
Sundance or who created a project that might make $ $ and that a
film director wants to hire you again!)

Example #2:

AGENT (APPLES): What are you doing now?
ACTOR (ORANGES): Auditioning like crazy and by the way I study
with Blah-blah, who I think is the best in the business- his students
include Ed Norton, Demi-Moore, Sean Penn…(name 3-4 prominent
actors/movie stars/b’way stars). My career is on a path like theirs!
And I’m consistently building my network of Top A list Casting
Directors- just last week I met the CD’s from White Collar /
LAW & Order-LA! They think  I’m perfect for this undercover cop role.
I play a lot of those.

(Most agents would be thrilled that you count yourself in the same
circle as major movie stars as far as your training and that you
are making an effort to meet all the top CD’s so you WILL
work on major shows).

Example #3:

AGENT (APPLES: What are you doing now?
ACTOR (ORANGES): When I got cast in the Oliver Stone film I was
excited to play a featured role- got a chance to meet him
and talk to him! And I’m shooting a really great film script
with a young director (some say he is the next Steven Soderberg)
next week. It’s a new genre for him- romantic comedy and he
thinks I’m his perfect romantic heroine!

(Agents are very pleased when you keep working on projects
with potential up and coming directors or that you’ve met
a major film producer/director. If you were really only an extra
in a crowd scene with 100 other people,then DON’T mention the
Oliver Stone film but talk about the great work you did in the
smaller project that has potential to be very successful.)

Talking ORANGES : Never lie or boast. Just be passionate and
excited about your experiences. See the potential in everything
and express yourself uber-optimistically. It’s not cool to be cool.
Agents have to see the potential and will misconstrue the “laid-back”
for the “loser”. So, be a winner! Happy Oranges, Mangoes, Strawberries!

Successful Marketing!


Gwyn Gillis is the Executive Director of TAM, The Actors Market, ( a marketing firm for actors. They provide FREE monthly seminars,  weekly marketing tips and both Career Coaching and Mentorship Programs. Gwyn’s acting career spans several decades during which time she appeared on and off-Broadway, in classical roles in American Repertory companies, in over 18 contract and recurring roles in Daytime/Primetime TV, Films and dozens of network commercials/V.O.’s. As a Career Coach she is available to work One-on-One with actors at all levels.

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