20 Sep Agent Insider: Interview with Top Agents
Interviewee – Tayvon Smith – BYSB Talent Agency @bysbtalent
In our last blog, we shared a few tips on how to make casting directors happy. But what is the best way to meet casting directors? Or an agent? – Need one? Have one but not getting out enough? Want to keep them happy? Keep reading! Over the past few weeks, I had the pleasure of speaking with top agents who are rocking the markets in Atlanta, NY & LA. Part 1 of the Agent series starts with Tay Smith. Tay and his co-worker Christopher Young were both agents at Joy Pervis. However this summer Tay & Chris started their own talent agency. Tay is an actor’s dream as he is one of the most genuine and motivated agents in the business and is now the co-owner of BYSB Talent .
LET’S BREAK IT DOWN!
In our recent poll a lot of you had quite a few questions about submitting to agents and we are here to fill in the gaps:
Q: “How do I stand out with my submissions?”
A: All of the agents I interviewed had a lot to say when it came to submitting materials but the most profound moment in my interview with Tay was his view on headshots . Your headshot is your calling card and 9/10 you are competing with 800+ thumbnail images on a casting directors screen or 800+ submissions in an agents e-mail. But that does NOT mean actors need a high fashion model shoot!
Game Changer Alert:
“Your headshots are not for social media they are for your agent to book you work”
Talent (I was also guilty of this in the past 😑) post glamour shots on social media and receive a ton of likes and heart emoji’s 💓 which make them feel as though their headshot is “money”! However, In the eyes 👀 of casting directors and agents, your headshot needs to look like YOU-the real you #nofilter. Unless you are going to attend every audition with your own personal glam squad those “glamour” shots mean little. Keep your makeup natural and photo editing light. Make sure when you walk in the room or tape your audition your headshots represent the real you!
Speaking of the real you let’s talk about your “reels” (see what I did there?) 😉
Q: “Can I still submit without a reel?”
A: Well here is a plot twister; A reel shows that you’ve booked in the past which is great but what’s more important is your ability to audition, book and or receive callbacks consistently. The industry has changed and actors need to master the art of self-taping if they want to book work. Their tape needs to feel “set-ready,” often times when you watch an actor who booked a role and you compare their performance with their audition tape it’s usually identical-that is the type of audition actors need to deliver. So yes – your reel is important but having your best self-tape clips ready to go when submitting to an agent can show that you are able to handle an audition and tape to “BOOK”!
Q: “How to avoid getting dropped?”
A: Getting signed is not the end of your agent journey. The actor-agent relationship is a working partnership. If you are not pulling your weight you may experience an agent break-up. To avoid getting dropped its important to make sure your profiles are completely filled out, contact information is always up to date and you keep in communication with your agent. There is a fine line between keeping in touch and excessive communication-find it and respect it! Besides maintaining profiles and communication actors are also evaluated on their booking and call back ratio. For example, if an actor was called in for 100 auditions and have not booked or received more than one callback that is a situation that needs to be addressed. Also if an actor is not receiving any opportunities from their agent it may be time to meet in person and or re-evaluate your relationship ☕
How to stand out in submissions?
- Marketing & Following up
- (But first you need to know what your brand is)
- Are your headshots industry appropriate? (#nofilter)
- Does your reel truly showcase the best you? 🤔
- Is your resume properly formatted? (easy to read)
- Are you mastering self-tape auditions?
- Save your best self-tapes
- Audio (Make sure we can hear you but remember you are not on stage)
- Connection to the material (the camera is sensitive-every move counts)
- Are you Set-Ready?
Maintaining the Agent Relationship
- Keep your profiles up to date at all times
- Maintain a healthy balanced line of communication with your agent
- Stay in class and continue working out the acting muscles to keep a good booking/CB ratio
You may receive different opinions but as Tay said, get a few opinions of your brand & headshots . However, if your agent makes a marketing recommendation it is probably for your best interest.
Feeling Overwhelmed? Don’t worry just Breathe 🙂
Find the approach that works for you and have fun with it!
Use this blog as a guide, make a plan and put it into action. Remember you are more than an actor you are a creator and the CEO of your career. Here at BeYourCraft we dive deep into this process and identify all the elements that are holding you back by providing critical feedback, since we are not your best friend or your mother 😚 we won’t “yes” you. BYC’s job is to repair those obstacles stopping your success by directly addressing the things you may be unaware of within your career. Tay (BYSB) recommends reassessing your materials twice a year to ensure you are on the right path. Take the time to revamp your marketing materials because the industry is constantly evolving and so are you.
It was truly a pleasure to speak with Tay as he was more than generous with giving advice and being an open resource for Actors. Check out @bysbtalent on Instagram & Twitter. CONGRATULATIONS again to the entire BYSB team on opening your new agency: Brown, Young, Smith & Buchanon.👏
Stay tuned for part 2: Increasing Bookings
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Until next time:
Stay Motivated & Creative
President & Founder