By Jennifer Rudolph
I often get asked if our success stories are real; perhaps because there are so many of them and they are of rather large magnitude. What makes us different than the other companies out there? Why us? Well...because I come at things from a business perspective and treat every actor like a creative being who is their own CEO. Rather than just say "here's what's on the menu" - I nurture and counsel everyone who I can and hire the absolute best staff to support our actors like none other.
AGR is a family and the support you find here (and in our private Facebook group, The Green Lounge) is like none other. There is a methodology to all of the success that you see. Often times our success stories involve actors WITHOUT representation and who end up booking a lot of projects after meeting and working with casting directors. This business is all about who you know and who knows you. The most important weapon one has is how you one markets themselves. Nothing is every an accident. It's all strategic and it's all on purpose. "if you build it they will come" is a certainly - if you hit every possible beat that is required of you and if you persist. All the success stories you read are 100% true.
Here's another one and it involves our staff member Nichole Yannetty.
I first hired AGR Staff Member Nichole Yannetty a few years ago to be an intern. Unlike other companies, becoming an intern at AGR involves a heavy vetting process. Because our interns represent a big part of the company and are so present at our intensives/events, I must know them and their work extremely well and their energy MUST be a fit for AGR. That being said...I scoped Nichole and hired her. Nichole interned for a few years and I promoted her last year to Staff Member. Nichole immersed herself at AGR over the years. We career consulted and she honed her "type" and grew within it. One of the CD's who she became close with was Joey Montenarello from Barden/Schnee. Joey called in Nichole time and again for auditions and hired her to be a reader for them. I become a huge advocate for Nichole and have often recommended her to CD's as she isn't yet signed legit wise. She will soon be soon as she has created enormous heat on herself.
I became her advocate as Nichole is a strong "type" and SO solid that I knew casting directors would irrefutably love her
She targeted the casting directors
Because she marketed herself like a pro and nurtured her relationship with Joey,Nichole booked a 5 EPISODE RECURRING role on the hot new Marvel/Netflix series JESSICA JONES which drops on November 20th. ***SHE GOT THIS WITHOUT BEING REPRESENTED
She created her own work
Comedy sketches and short films that screened at many festivals. Nichole starred in the critically acclaimed web series KELSEY which made Indie Wire's Best Comedy Web Series list next to HBO's HIGH MAINTENANCE (previously on Vimeo). She played the same "can of red bull" type character we discussed during her Career Consultation years ago!
She went after a commercial agent
Nichole has also booked several national commercials (7UP, Subway and Honda) through her agents at Stewart Talent who she met at our Commercial Night.
It all starts with knowing who you are, how the business works, navigating it like a pro, and cultivating relationships.
"If you build it, they will come."
About the Author
Don’t Get Tricked by Treats
By: Elana Safar
Want to hear something scary? Halloween is right around the corner, and candy is about to be everywhere: apartment lobbies, offices, audition centers, oh my! I don’t mean to rain on your costume (let me guess, Back to the Future Marty?) parade. However, I wish I could transform myself into an invisible ghost and sneak behind you as your hand mindlessly grazes a bowl of candy corns.
“BOO!” I’d cry, scaring you away from dumping hundreds of empty calories into your mouth. You’d thank me, because you would actually have to walk for nearly 40 minutes in order to burn off just one serving of those devilish horns, I mean, candy corns. Creepy, isn’t it?
I get the appeal of an instant sugar rush. As an 80’s baby, there was no shortage of artificially-flavored, colorfully-wrapped finger foods in my house. My inner child still bursts with excitement when I spot Jelly Bellies, Jolly Ranchers, and Three Musketeers bars for the taking. Even Jerry Seinfeld jokes that his childhood revolved around getting candy!
Friends, it is time to call upon your inner reserves of discipline and make a deal with yourself to stay on track before the fall festivities sweep you away. Flex your willpower muscles now, before the scary movie marathons, couples costumes, and grinning jack-o’lanterns seduce you with their promise of fun! The truth is that Halloween is not a friend to your well-being.
As a performer, part of your job means being proactive with self-care. You must stay in good physical and mental shape and minimize your risk for injuries and illness. Above all, as a human (which you are, right?), you are entitled to live well and feel good each and every day. While you cannot avoid stress altogether, nor can you control everything around you, you are the gatekeeper to everything that passes through your lips, and into your stomach.
The road to wellness starts with the right fuel. Think of your body as a high-end, luxury car. Would you put regular gasoline in that engine, or diesel? Only nutrient-rich, real food is going to satiate you and efficiently power your system so you can deliver optimal performance on stage, on-screen and in all areas of your life. In contrast, sugar-laden indulgences zap you of your much-needed energy and focus. Don’t sabotage your fitness and wellness goals because of a weekend worshipping a Hallmark holiday.
Beware the cumulative effects of random snacking. Munching a little bit here and crunching a little bit there adds up to alot of sugar and saturated fat, wreaking havoc on your waistline. Don’t sabotage your wellness and fitness goals in the name of a Hallmark holiday.
To prepare for this upcoming All Hallows’ Eve, take a cue from the dessert-declining Larry David and decide to pass up on the excessive delectables. You do not have to please the party host, taste test your roommate’s array of caramel-dipped apples or politely consent to your boss’s batch of ‘spooky’ brownies.
That’s not to say that you can’t celebrate with your entourage of vampires and superheroes. Plan ahead with my SMARTY-PARTY DO’s and DONT’s so the festivities don’t come back to haunt you!
About the Author
By Jennifer Rudolph
I was riding the train home tonight and was standing in the front car watching the train go through the tunnel. I haven't done that in years. When watching through the window, I thought about how each and every one of you have a literal journey through your own "tunnel." That "tunnel" is your finding your way through the collective consciousness of casting. Do you want to know the secret to why so many AGR'rs get called in, book work and rise in the ranks of film and television? It's because they have all tapped in to the "collective consciousness of casting" aka they have honed their "types", have essentially intuited what 95% of casting directors will think about them when they walk into the room and they capitalize on it each and every time with strategic film and television scenes designed to sell. There is nothing random about it at all. It's all well thought and planned. One cannot just walk into AGR, throw something at the wall and hope that it sticks. One cannot just choose a scene arbitrarily. One must be a sleuth, highly intuitive and bring the goods hence making your audience irrefutably impressed with you and well...ending up in the place of "I know exactly who this actor, they thoroughly impressed me and I know EXACTLY what to do with them." The kiss of death is "I don't know what to do with you." When you come in with all of the above, you give them no choice but to respond positively. You have tapped into the collective consciousness of casting and sussed out where you fit into it. It's magical. This is what I do in my Career Consultations and what all of your are capable of doing on your own.
So there you have it, AGR'rs. If you build it, they will come. When you tap into the collective consciousness of casting and align yourself with it, great things can happen.
About the Author
By Jennifer Rudolph
One of the main precepts of breaking into the business is getting yourself in front of the industry. As a casting director myself, I am FAR more likely to call in actors who I know and trust .
There are the few who will get called in without having a prior relationship but it's rare. CD's don't have time to chance when they are hired to do cast a project. It's not their job to "discover" new talent during work hours. It IS their job to provide the best talent in the shortest amount of time possible. It's essential to develop relationships, put yourself out there, learn and hone your audition technique with the CD's themselves and become the professional that you must be in order to book a job.
Meet AGR'r Melissa Navia.
Melissa and I began working together about 4 years ago. The pivotal moment in her career came when we had a Career Consultation. Melissa had not been marketing herself optimally nor had she been targeting the industry effectively. After our meeting, she had a new lease on her career and things started happening. She was so good I eventually hired her to work with me. Melissa's career has been moving along at lightening speed. None of this would have happened without our work together, her exceptional talent and honed skills and AGR.
Read her words below :)
In Melissa's own words:
"I recently went in for a series regular role on a huge pilot and ended up testing for the studio and network. It was four very intense weeks. And when I found out I didn't get it, knowing I had been so close, it was tough. Real tough. But I couldn't linger in the moment. I had to get back to set. I was in the middle of a film shoot in New Hampshire and prepping for a callback that awaited me the minute I got back to NYC. The experience was both wonderful and exhausting. It re-enforced for me all the things I have learned over time as a working actor: know your type and carry it with confidence, do your best work always, build momentum with every project, make no excuses, be ready for anything, partner with those who believe in you, and have all your "stuff" in order, i.e., your reel, your website, your passport. I was also reminded of probably the best and most succinct advice I have ever received from a casting director at an AGR workshop. He was telling us to remember that there is too much that goes into why an actor doesn't get a role to waste time worrying about what else you could have done. So if you don't book the part, he said, don't get mad - but then he stopped, mid-sentence, and corrected himself. 'Wait, yes, get a little mad...because you wanted that role! Get a little mad and even more determined.' So that's what I am now, a little mad and a whole lot more determined."
Recent Auditions & Bookings
- went in for a series regular role on a major pilot and tested for the network & studio
- booked a co-star role on The Affair (Tucker/Meyerson Casting)
- booked a lead role in an indie film (Liz Lewis Casting)
- offered and accepted a lead role in an indie film (Robel Films, shot in New Hampshire, third time working with director)
If you build it, they will come..
About the Author
By Jennifer Rudolph
Many of you have read my email about being hired by Natalie Hart from LaPadura/Hart Casting to help out with a role (plus some future ones) on CBS's CODE BLACK. (if you didn't read the email, please see yesterday's below :)
I wanted to address some extremely important points re: self-submissions. They are the hard truths. I often speak about this as Jen, Founder of The Actor's Green Room, but now you will hear it as Jen, the casting director. Perhaps it will land more concretely :)
I say all of this with love.
I have received 1500 submissions so far for the role of GINA. I am calling in 17 people at this point for my session. This is the reality of numbers of nearly EVERY role that is casting. So who are the people who are getting called in? Mostly actors who I know and trust as I have to be able to produce a solid session and show my L.A. people strong choices. I do not have time to waste or gamble with anyone innocuous. I AM calling in a few actors who I don't know/haven't met thus far. These select women fit the description, sold themselves optimally and put together a killer uber-professional SIMPLE submission package. (Hey here's who I am...here's my headshot...resume...link to my reel...and thanks)
Many actors out there think they know it all and are somehow entitled to be given opportunities. When a casting comes along they THEN put themselves out there but upon looking at their materials, they often haven't done any of the backend work which is a red flag. Once I open the email and see this, it doesn't go any further. So what's in there? PS: I am very forgiving...other CD's may not be. :)
All of my emails about marketing yourself like a pro, utilizing your resources and finding an advocate are all justified by what just transpired. You may read my emails and go "yeah yeah yeah" but now you will see the reason why I preach...as I am now speaking as a casting director - not just the founder of AGR.
Meet AGR'r Emilie Bonsant (who I have NEVER met)
Emilie just LIKED a post in the Green Lounge (our AGR Facebook group where I am very active) and I saw her headshot. It captivated me. It spoke volumes. I dig her look and energy for the role on CODE BLACK. I googled her and went to her website: good stuff.
But here's the problem (this is a compliment, Em, and an important lesson :): Emilie is GOOD but doesn't have strong footage on her reel / website so I have no way of SEEING if she can step into her "type" in a way that is on par with network television. She also doesn't have her cell # (OR SHE COULD GET A GOOGLE VOICE NUMBER ) listed so if my assistant were to email her for an appt, would she even get it on time? We can't chase her down. If she was on theactorsgreenroomonline.com, I would hopefully see performance clips (which we shoot at AGR) of her doing scenes exemplary of her "type" and could make an easy decision then. I would probably have her cell # too. THIS is what I am talking about in terms of marketing yourself optimally and utilizing your resources. NOT doing so could cost you a potentially big audition / job / and alienate the industry. We want easy answers (like the Lime seltzer analogy I have talked about). We don't want to guess or wonder. We need to know NOW.
I am going to take a chance on Emilie and bring her in for CODE BLACK. But this is me...95% of CD's would not do this. Learn this lesson now. This is a ONE TIME EXCEPTION I will make.
Everyone: Be findable and market yourself like a pro. Your career depends on it. 2,000 submissions. 20 girls coming in. Be one of them. SO much of your career lies in your hands and you just don't realize it but here it is for you to see. This is a business. You MUST treat it as such.
I urge you. Take control of your career.
If you build it, they will come ONLY works on fertile ground.
About the Author