By Jennifer Rudolph
I often get asked the question "is it possible to break into the industry as an older actor." The answer is always a resounding YES much to their disbelief. Jumpstarting one's career can happen at any age and for anyone in any category. It's just a matter of marketing yourself optimally, possessing raw talent that has been honed and understanding the way the business works. As I always quote "luck is when preparation meets opportunity." - Seneca. When those 3 things line up, someone gets "lucky."
Meet AGR'r Barbara Thomas. Barbara came to AGR about 4 years ago and had just retired from working in a high level corporate job at HBO. Barbara had always wanted to pursue her acting career full time and was now about to do so. She had a Career Consultation with me in which we nailed down her "type", we fixed her resume, I told her who to go to for headshots (as she was using one that was...unacceptable...love you Barb), which casting directors to work with and learn from, what scenes to use and more. It took a while for Barbara to implement what we layed out but after some urging from me, she finally did it. Barbara got superb headshots from Jordan Matter which made her look like a pro. (see above) Your headshot is your calling card so it has to be great and industry standard.
Barbara started taking classes at AGR and learned quickly that she had to up her game. My good friendJordan Ancel says "ordinary things consistently done for time produce extraordinary results" This is exactly what started to happen for Barbara. She started getting great feedback from the casting directors and started forging relationships with them. Barbara's work was solid. At this point, Barbara attended our Manager Night and met Prestige Management. A friend of hers coincidentally referred her to Nicol Astell at Prestige a few years later and they signed her. Barbara got signed based on her talent AND the fact that she had iron-clad relationships with every major CD in NYC at this point. Since a manager only takes 15%, Barbara has to do 85% of the work she had done and continues to do. That consists of making Nicole's job easier by knowing her marketplace aka the CD's. Barbara got called in by Kate Geller from Chrystie Street Casting for NBC's THE BLACKLIST. Due to her tutelage at AGR, Barbara felt confident and ready for the audition. She nailed it...and she booked it. And just like that, a 50+ woman with no credits signed with a top manager and booked her first Primetime episodic.
It works. :)
I can't tell you enough how important it is to work with, learn from and forge relationships with casting directors. Things take time and it's a numbers game. Do your research, see what every CD is working on, put yourselves out there. Opportunities do NOT happen in a vacuum. There is no time like the present.
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