The Unsung Heroes
Recently, a good friend of mine, who is a manager, pointed out to me that in my many blog entries I never ever mention the integral role that management plays in the casting process. I immediately felt ashamed because he's so right. I often moan that casting directors don't get enough respect in the Industry for all the hard work that we do, but that's even more true for the tireless agents and managers, who are basically salesmen. And as we all know, sales is probably the toughest job there is. Actors, you think it's tough to get auditions? Well, it's nothing compared to what the agents and managers experience every day in volume.
Agents and Managers, in any city, are the folks in the trenches, encouraging actors every step of the way to get their shit together and keep it that way. Agents/managers advise their clients on classes, headshots, style and wardrobe. They stand up for them, coach them, loan them money, and as my friend pointed out to me "support them even when they have blown the opportunity that we spent weeks fighting to get them in the audition room."
The relationship between a casting director and an agent/manager is a symbiotic one. And even thought I often boast that I alone "discovered" this actor or that actress in a play or at The Groundlings, I could not do my job without the hundreds of agents and managers whom I also call friends. The closest contact a cd has in the course of a typical work day is not just with the actors auditioning but with the agents and managers. We seldom talk to other casting directors and our contact with the producers/writers/directors is very limited because they are doing their real jobs which is creating content. It's the cds and the agents/managers, in constant contact, day in and day out, helping each other do our jobs, which is to populate all the TV shows, films, web series, plays that we love so much.
It was easy to get agents/managers on board when I was working in Network TV and the pay scale was relatively high, but I have to admit, their generosity in helping me cast projects that pay crap is humbling. I've cast several web series (Miss Mustard Glade, Jeff and Ravi Fail History, The British Invasion to name only a few) The agents/managers I worked with spent literally hours/days, via phone and electronically, helping me to assemble just the right cast and if one of their actors happened to book the job, they probably made $47.
Actors, stop complaining about not booking enough jobs, or worse, blaming your agent for it. It's "tough" for everyone in the industry. But we do it because we love it. So go out there and be in a play or create your own content or be in an improv show. But keep an optimistic, enthusiastic outlook, and you'll be fine.