Attending film festivals can be an awesome experience–seeing great new films on the big screen, walking the red carpet, and feeling the energy in the air can be inspirational to new and experienced filmmakers alike. But festivals serve another very important function for anyone in the industry–the networking opportunities at film festivals can make or break a career. In the fast-paced world of Hollywood, you never know who can help your career in the future. That fresh, new director you met at a small festival–she could turn out to be the next Scorsese, or the guy you were shooting the breeze with in the lobby could be the buyer for an international distributor or the casting director for one of the major studios. Film festivals may be the one opportunity you have to connect with the person that will give you your big break in the film industry.
Has it been a while since your last audition? Wonder if your agent is still alive? Getting worried that your agent may be getting ready to give you the boot? It would make sense-if you’re not being called in for auditions, then you’re not making money for either you or your agent. If you’re not making anybody money, then you’re not an asset to the agency, right?
So you did it! You finally got an agent! Someone who believes in your work. Someone who has the connections to get you more and better work, and someone who has the business sense to get you the best deal and most money for gigs. Congrats!
Then your biggest fears start to come true. Your agent stops taking your phone calls. You go months with no auditions or bookings. You meet other talent who have been waiting to get paid for gigs from months ago. All of the sudden, your stardom dreams are turning into a nightmare! What have you done? Did you sign a deal with the devil?
Times are tough right now for every industry-but especially advertising. With marketing budgets being slashed for small businesses and national corporations alike, companies are spending less money on placing ads, which in turn means less commercials and print ads. Because these are the bread and butter of most regional talent agencies, many are being forced to close up shop.
“Hey, I want you to introduce you to my friend Brian. You’ll really like him. He used to hang out with us back in college. And he’s an actor!”
“An actor, huh?” (Snicker and sneer). “So what’s your REAL job?”
Does this conversation sound familiar? I’ve been through it myself many times throughout the years. I’ve gone down a different path since I’ve had my family, but for a long time I was trying to make it as a working actor. Even when I was making some money, this was a pretty disheartening conversation. As soon as the word “actor” leaves your mouth, people form a mental picture of you waiting tables or living in a cramped apartment with half a dozen other wannabes.