Friday, June 28, 2013

A Sit Down with the Ultimate Indie Artist: Minoti Vaishnav

When we heard about triple threat (singer, writer, and film maker), Minoti Vaishnav, making waves within the indie world, we knew we had to snag her while we could. In between promoting her newly released single "So Will You", writing for web series 3 Orbs of Light, and filming her directorial debut Being Independent, we had the opportunity to have a chat with this indie darling and find out what makes her tick. 

Minoti, Thanks for taking the time out of your crazy busy schedule to sit down with us! Let's start from the very beginning - your roots. You were creatively mature as a child- writing a novelette at 9, your own songs at 11, did music demo at 13, and wrote a sitcom at 14. What inspired you at such a young age?

"I think I just watched alot of TV and listened to a lot of music! I was actually quite a loner as a child. I loved to read (still do) and loved to watch shows like Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. My family has always been very musical and almost everyone in my family can play or instrument or sing. I was a huge Spice Girls fan growing up and The Beatles have also influenced my entire musical life and career. I think my creative energy flowed fromall the pop culture that I grew up with, and "you can do anything you set your mind to" motto of my family. That's what inspired me to create my own stuff."

You went to college and after graduating, and got into documentary film making. How was that experience for you, seeing as your roots were in writing and music? How did your earlier experience prepare you for your start in the industry?

Minoti and Katelyn Stark at the Directors Guild of America during production of the 28th Annual IDA Awards in 2012

"Getting into documentary film was never something that I had planned on doing. It just sort-of happened. I studied screenwriting in college and my ultimate goal is to write and produce for television. But then, I got my first internship out of college at IDA (International Documentary Association) and I never looked back.

IDA has been a great place to work and I am now officially employed with the organization, producing and coordinating their documentary film events. Learning about the documentary film industry also inspired me to make my own documentary film Being Independent. The film, which is about unsigned artists and bands and their struggles in the music industry, is shot in three countries (U.K, U.S and Germany), and is currently in production. University actually prepared me more for the producing aspects of my job, and there's definitely some creative writing involved when it comes to preparing outreach for documentary films."

As a well rounded artist, you are in a unique position, being deeply involved in several aspects of the entertainment industry. What are some of the challenges you have had to overcome? What is your advice to other indie artists facing similar challenges?

"There have been a lot of challenges, one of them being not conforming to what society expects from you. I grew up in India and people expect me to write Indian characters in my scripts. Or to write Hindi music or "Fusion" music. But that's not me! I was always influenced by music from the UK and the US, as well as TV and films from the UK and the US. People don't expect to hear the kind of music I make coming from me, and I think that is a huge problem because people already have preconceived notions about someone before they even take the time to find out more about them. I think I've been very true to myself this whole time and not conformed to societies expectations of what an "Indian artist" should be. And I think everyone should just be true to themselves and make the kind of music they want to make.

Another challenge has been financial. I financed my albums on my own (my second album was funded through Kickstarter thanks to 58 amazing backers). But as far as the work done on the albums, I produced and sound engineered, as well as wrote and performed all the songs on my album because I couldn't afford to pay for studio and engineering time. Sometimes when you don't have help with something, you gotta just do it on your own, no matter how hard it is, and I think that would be my advice to other artists out there. You're either in it to win it, and you have to put everything you have into getting your music out there."

You are a very busy woman, Ms. Minoti with several projects in the pipeline! Let's start with the release of "So Will You" the first single off of your second album The Secret Garden. The video was released on YouTube and has already hit over 110,000 views since April of this year. Such an amazing feat for an indie musician. How did you promote yourself as an indie musician to achieve such an accomplishment?

"Before I shot the video for 'So Will You', I knew that I had to find a way to get people to actually watch the video. People don't really watch video's from independent artists, so I knew I had to find a way to get people interested. I decided to put my love for television and my love for music together. I placed references to three of my favorite television shows, Supernatural, Doctor Who and Sherlock into the music video. Many people don't know this, but those three shows are somewhat of a trifecta, and chances are that someone who likes one, likes the other two as well. Together, the three shows are known as 'Superwholock'.

I started a 'Superwholock' campaign to get people to watch the video and find all the references. People were immediately interested, looking for all the references and trying to get them all. In the process, they heard my music and liked it, and that was the plan all along. You reel people in with something they already like and in the process, they discover that they also like you and your music!"

Your next project is a sci-fi webseries called 3 Orbs of Light - where you were brought on to rewrite the series while maintaining the original concept. Can you tell us a little more about this project and how as a writer is that process for you? Where can we watch the series?

"3 Orbs of Light is an amazing project and I love working on it because it's directly related to what I want to ultimately do in life. Writing, directing and producing for 3 Orbs of Light is extremely fulfilling. The writing and producing process for this is interesting because I am working with someone else's core concept.

Minoti and 3 Orbs of Light producer Cali T. Rossen looking at the script for episode one of 3 Orbs Of Light

I did get to create a rich backstory for the show before writing the first episode, which was a lot of fun. In essence, I am taking the original characters and revamping the concept to reach a wider audience.

The show was created by Phillip Kim Marra (who is also the Director of Photography for the project) and by Rachel Bailit (she also plays the lead character Rue 'Rouge' Jensen). The show is executive produced by Cali T. Rossen (she also plays Terese 'Tres' Ressen in the show). The team is absolutely great and it's been amazing working on this project with everyone.

The show is about three normal women whose lives change when the immortal wizard Kai tells them that they are destined to be the three protectors of the earth. It's set in modern day, but there's time-travel, magic and mythology involved. The show also stars Robert Weiner as Kai and Corinne LeClaire as Alison 'Astrid' Strider. We're currently in production and hope to release the show online in November 2013."

Finally, you are director and producer on the indie film, Being Independent. A film about indie artists trying to support themselves and their careers. Can you tell us more about the film? your role as producer/director?

"Being Independent is a film about the struggles, hardships and the ultimate triumphs of independent artists and bands in the music industry today. Following artists and bands in the UK, in the USA and in Germany, the film is 30 minutes long and aims to educate people about the hard work and passion that goes into independent music, and the struggles these artists go through as they support themselves and their music career."

How did you come up with the concept?

"I came up with the concept along with co-director Erik McCall when we were talking about how indie artists don't receive the recognition they deserve. Erik is the owner of a music publishing company called EDA Music Publishing Limited and he also owns the radio station EDA Music Radio. He's also an independent artist himself. With the two of us knowing first hand how difficult it us for independent artists, we decided to make a documentary to show the world exactly what we go through. We brought on producer Kitty Kalkbrenner from Germany to help us with the project. She has been amazing as well and our film is lucky to have such great people involved with it."

When can your fellow indies (and public) expect to be able to see the film?

"We're still filming Being Independent and collecting interviews with our featured bands and artists and we're hoping to release the film by the end of the year."

Minoti performing at Orange Coast College

Whats next for Minoti Vaishnav? Directing, Producing, promoting the album?

"All of it! I'll be busy producing and writing 3 Orbs of Light, as well as with IDA's screening series and the IDA Awards that are coming up in December. I'm also planning on a second music video coming soon, and am still working on getting Being Independent ready for release. There's a lot going on and I'm ready to keep adding even more to my already full plate!"

Thank you for taking the time to sit down with us, Minoti. We will be sure to continue to keep an eye out for all your work!

For more on Minoti or her her projects, follow here:



Being Independent:


3 Orbs of Light:


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Actors/Filmmakers - Be careful of promoting your work to soon

Watch for some very smart advice regarding "promoting your   
work"! Don't tout maybes!


Monday, June 24, 2013

Will Smith Not Returning for Independence Day Sequel

Will Smith’s name has become synonymous with major blockbuster movies so it comes as a surprise that he won’t be in the sequel of Independence Day. According to the film’s director, Roland Emmerich, via E! News, the actor is “too expensive but he'd also be too much of a marquee name.” Now what would the 1996 alien invasion sequel be without him? We have some time to find out. The movie won’t be hitting theaters until July 3rd, 2015.

During his press run for his latest film After Earth, the actor mentioned his desires to scale back on big budget movies and “finding more danger in my [his] artistic choices.” I’m with you Will! Danger it is.

What do you think about Will Smith not being in the sequel? Do you think the movie will carry its own? Let us know in the comments below.

by Georgette Pierre

Contributor Georgette Pierre is an on-air personality, writer, and Executive Producer of her own radio show "Off the Record with Georgette Pierre". 

Check out her website 
Twitter: @GeorgettePierre

Friday, June 21, 2013

Interview with Industry Insider: Associate Producer Julia Conley

Name:  Julia Conley

Industry: TV and documentary 
                film production

Where do you work? 

I am an associate producer on “Moyers & Company,” a weekly news analysis show that airs on PBS affiliate stations.

What made you choose a career in TV and film?

I started feeling interested in working in film production when I was in high school; I guess I just watched a lot of movies and wanted to be involved in them when I grew up. In college, I became more and more interested in politics, current events and social issues, so documentary film or TV news started to seem like a good way to combine both interests.

I got an internship at a small documentary film production company my sophomore year in college, and fell in love with the kind of work they did there. I loved the idea of being able to tell a compelling true story in an artistic way. That led to more internships and random set PA jobs that I found on Craig’s List, which helped me get familiar with what it was like to work on set, and eventually my first full-time job on a weekly PBS show.

Tell me about one of your best experiences on the job.

I worked on an historical documentary film about the US Navy a couple of years ago. It was quite challenging – I was the associate producer and was responsible for getting permission from the Navy to film on their property (FYI: the Navy does not like to let filmmakers on their property), and did all of the production coordination on several shoots that were taking place across the country. It was honestly more responsibility than I’d had on my previous job and there were some overwhelming moments. But it also made me push myself to be the best negotiator I could be, and to be as persistent as I could be in order to get everything we needed. I also was involved in finding, pre-interviewing, and selecting people to appear in the film. It was fascinating to hear the stories of all these men and women who had been in the Navy, and it was also really satisfying to be trusted with all that responsibility all at once for the first time. 

What was something that took you by surprise when you first got started?

I think I was surprised by how persistent you really need to be in order to get jobs. If you find a person or company you want to work for, you may think that contacting them too much will be annoying. But if you make a point of stating your interest in a job or company, getting in touch and telling them why they should interview you, and then following up every few weeks or so in a friendly way to make sure they haven't forgotten - you are actually already showing them that you have production skills. So much of working in production (and probably other jobs) is following up with people - everyone has emails and voicemails piling up and you're not always their first priority. When you show you're willing to work tirelessly to get a job, you're showing that you'll also work tirelessly to get permission to film in a location, or figure out the answer to a complicated research question, or clear rights to some obscure photo for a show that needs to be delivered in six hours.

Trying to break into this field is a real eye-opener for many that want to rise in the ranks. For the purpose of sharing the reality of working in media and entertainment, what do you feel is the most difficult part of trying to establish yourself in the industry.

Networking is a big part of working in film/TV, and it's just something you have to get used to if it doesn't come naturally to you (it definitely doesn't to me!). I'm fairly shy, and I also don't love to talk about work in social situations - both fine personality traits to have in general, but not ones that go well with staying on people's radars. So over the past few years I've just forced myself to get comfortable with starting conversations with people about what they're working on at industry events. I've gotten over the idea that offering my business card is "pushy." Everyone in the industry is always networking, reminding people of when they'll be available to work, finding out if there are positions available on a production or at a company - you just have to believe that you have the right to be out there doing the same thing, and that you won't be pestering anyone any more than they've pestered other people during their careers.

Any projects coming up that you’d like to tell us about?

I'll be working on my current show until the beginning of next year, and have some great segments coming up this summer about the March on Washington in 1963, and one on hunger in America. After this show, I'd like to work on a documentary film again, but don't have a job lined up (so after I finish these questions I'll be taking my own advice and sending out some emails).

Do you have any advice for up and comers trying to break into tv or film?

Remember to follow up with people *after* they have helped you to connect with someone, or to get an interview or a job; don't get in touch with people only when you need their help. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Industry mourns the loss of James Gandolfini

The reaction to the passing of James Gandolfini speaks volume to his dedication to his craft and something quite rare in the entertainment industry -  his humbleness, shyness, and kindness. 

Reports state that he went into cardiac arrest while preparing to attend the Taormina Film Festival in Sicily with his son Michael and sister. Michael became concerned when his father was in the bathroom for a long time, went to check in and found James on the floor. It is believed that he was conscious during the ambulance ride, but there have been conflicting reports. 

Organizers of the Festival, Mario Sesti and Tiziana Rocca, said Gandolfini will instead be honored with a tribute “remembering his career and talent.” 

When word broke of his passing, the tributes from his industry peers came pouring in: 

Dominic Chianese, who played Uncle Junior on "The Sopranos"  and was a mentor to his TV nephew described his friend Jimmy, on Good Day New York, as "humble and thoughtful". " He was very generous..he did it from the heart and that's very rare in this world ..."




David Chase, creator of "The Sopranos" :
“He was a genius. Anyone who saw him even in the smallest of his 
performances knows that. He is one of the greatest actors of this or 
any time. A great deal of that genius resided in those sad eyes. I 
remember telling him many times, ‘You don’t get it. You’re like 
Mozart.’ There would be silence at the other end of the phone. For 
Deborah and Michael and Lilliana, this is crushing. And it’s bad 
for the rest of the world. He wasn’t easy sometimes. But he was 
my partner, he was my brother in ways I can’t explain and never 
will be able to explain.”

                                                             James and Steve

Steve van Zandt, played "Silvio Dante" :

I have lost a brother and a best friend. The world has lost one of 
the greatest actors of all time. Maureen and I send our deepest 
sympathy and love to Deborah, Michael, Lily, and all of Jimmy’s 

Sopranos Cast

Gandolfini, most famous for his role as Tony Soprano and putting his native New Jersey on the map, was remembered by NJ Gov. Christie. "Mary Pat & I express our deepest sympathies to Mr. Gandolfini's wife & children, and our prayers are with them at this terrible time. ... I have gotten to know Jimmy & many of the other actors in the Sopranos cast & I can say that each of them are an individual NJ treasure. ...I was a huge fan of his and the character he played so authentically, Tony Soprano. ... James Gandolfini's passing is an awful shock. He was a fine actor, a Rutgers alum and a true Jersey guy. 

The 3-time Emmy Award winner had several projects in the pipeline: He was scheduled to star in drama  Criminal Justice as a 7-episode  limited series, as well as 19th period comedy Bone Wars with Steve  Carrell both on HBO. He was also due to stand as  Executive Producer in a CBS comedy Taxi-22 through a deal his production company Attaboy Productions. His final project, crime drama Animal Rescue with Tom Hardy will premiere in 2014. 

                                                          James with wife Deborah, son Michael and ex-wife Marcy

Gandolfini will be remembered for his stellar acting and contributions to the entertainment industry. His loss is immeasurable. He leaves behind wife, Deborah Lin, and children, Michael and Liliana. 

I leave you with James discussing the beginnings of his career  on "Inside the Actors Studio".


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Off the Record Talks Upcoming Artist, Relationship Woes, and Fade Aways

Bringing you two shows in one, I sit down with an upcoming artist from the DMV area then dig deep into the relationship trenches to break down what I call the concept of fade aways. From meeting a Rock N Roll Hall of Famer that changed one guest’s life to understanding why a guy or girl you once dated all of a sudden stopped calling you, my guests and I get into all. Plus,I run down the OTR (Off the Record) Report including personal tidbits and pop culture-esque news that will make you blush…maybe.

Listen to Off the Record with Georgette Pierre tonight at 6 pm EDT/3 pm PDT.

Subscribe to the free podcast on iTunes and now stream it for free on the TuneIn radio app.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Miguel leg drop victim may sue

Miguel blazed the stage during his performance at the 2013 Billboard Music Awards until it all came crashing down, literally, when he jumped across to another stage and leg dropped a young girl in the head. UCLA student, Khyati Shah was on the receiving end of his miscalculation. Although Shah did an immediate interview after the incident on the carpet next to Miguel, the girl is reportedly suffering brain injuries and cognitive difficulties. According to Huffington Post, Shah’s lawyer, Vip Bhola, is claiming the singer has yet to offer up any financial assistance and is inviting a lawsuit.

"They didn't rush her to the hospital," Bhola said. "Instead they rushed a camera to her and an ice pack" and took advantage of a "star-struck, dazed and injured person." When I read this, I was a little thrown off because I watched an interview that Miguel did with BBC Radio that contradicts what her lawyer claims about the star-struck interview. Watch his BBC interview below.


I don’t think it’s fair to assume that he doesn’t plan on offering assistance. I do believe he cares about her well being and hopefully both parties can resolve it amicably.

Miguel is currently on tour with Alicia Keys in Europe.

What are your thoughts on her wanting to sue?

 by Georgette Pierre

Contributor Georgette Pierre is an on-air personality, writer, and Executive Producer of her own radio show "Off the Record with Georgette Pierre". 

Check out her website 
Twitter: @GeorgettePierre

Friday, June 14, 2013

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Artist to Know: Still I Stand

 Albany based metal group, Still I Stand is this week's "Artist to Know!" 

Formed in July 2012, the progressive metal group consists of vocalist Andre Williams, guitarists Anthony Vincent and Josh Whaley, rounded out by Kyle Kazor on bass.

Unique within a genre, which is assumed to be associated with death and a negative message overall, Still I Stand sets out to inspire their fans, writing music with a positive message challenging them to inquire and access life and challenging situations.

As explained in the band's  Facebook "about" message

"The purpose of our music is to help anyone feeling any sort of negativity in their lives. we strive to write positive songs that will help people get through tough situations of any sort with a level head. All of us had had our issues in the past, but what's done is done. We will no longer add to the statistics; Instead, Still I Stand tries to do their part to help people in anyway no matter how small through our music and performances. We are all human beings and we share common ground, and that will never change."

In a time where there is a lot of superficiality and negativity in music, I applaud these guys for going against the grain and uplifting their fans.

They are currently preparing for a busy summer - last week, they digitally released their EP, "Fortitude" and will be touring this summer. They are also competing for a chance to open for the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival and an opportunity to get signed with Leakmob Records. 

If you want to check these amazing guys out, find out tour dates, download the EP - follow them on: 

Twitter - @StillIStand518

                                                           Listen to the teaser of E.P "Fortitude"!


Hope to see you guys out on the road! #SupportIndieMusic!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Off the Record with B-more artist STARR'Z 06/12 by Georgette Pierre | Blog Talk Radio

Off the Record with B-more artist STARR'Z 06/12 by Georgette Pierre | Blog Talk Radio

Upcoming Podcast Episode: "Off the Record" with Baltimore hippie, Starr’z

Calling himself the new school hippie, hip-hop and pop artist, Starrz, is taking the indie scene by storm. Born and raised in Baltimore, the backpack rapper has kept his city buzzing with latest singles, “Dope Trilla” and “Dance All Night.”  Having signed a single deal with Religion Records for “Dance All Night”, the song is a mash up of what he calls hip-hop rock.

Already in his short career, he’s opened up for acts such as J. Cole, 2Chainz, Joe Budden, Redman, Method Man, Jim Jones, and more. Blasting through the radio charts as well, his single “Dope Trilla” is in rotation at 92.3 in B-more and 93.9 in DC. Starr’z stops by to chat his latest singles, the longevity of his sound, and why he considers himself to be a new school hippie.

Listen to Off the Record with Georgette Pierre tonight, June 12th at 6 pm EDT/3 pm PDT.

You can subscribe to her free podcast on iTunes and now stream it for free on the TuneIn radio app.

Contributor Georgette Pierre is an on-air personality, writer, and Executive Producer of her own radio show "Off the Record with Georgette Pierre". 

Check out her website 
Twitter: @GeorgettePierre

Monday, June 10, 2013

Tyler the Creator Reported to the Police After Verbal Attack

Already used to controversy, some very crude at best, Tyler the Creator, is under fire yet again but this time because of his music. Talitha Stone, blogger and member of Australian grassroots movement Collective Shout, reported him to the police after he decided to verbally insult her on stage.

According to Stone’s tweet below, she was going to protest at the clothing store hosting his album signing for his violent lyrics against women.

Shortly after sending her tweet did she receive an onslaught of threats and more after Tyler retweeted it to all his followers. To build more evidence on her end, she attended the show where she was on the receiving end of his tirade. Footage of the rapper’s insults (which were frankly disgusting and immature) could be heard very clearly during the clip. He continued to egg it on to the point where the audience was yelling and cheering along with him.  


With the love/hate relationship hip-hop has with misogyny, it’s so disheartening that expressing yourself and taking action turns into blatant disrespect and being scared for your life. I commend Talitha Stone for standing up but will her actions be in vain or silenced by the government?

Let us know your thoughts about the situation in the comments below.

- by Georgette Pierre

Contributor Georgette Pierre is an on-air personality, writer, and Executive Producer of her own radio show "Off the Record with Georgette Pierre". 

Check out her website 
Twitter: @GeorgettePierre

Friday, June 7, 2013

How to Become a Good Producer/Engineer

This is a question I see and hear frequently, my answer to this question is a very simple one: Put your client first! Whether you are the producer, recording engineer, mixing or mastering engineer or all the above, always remember that the client is your lifeline in this industry. (along with your ears)

Collaboration between you and the client should be a producer/engineer's main focus, because an audio production is a team effort between all people involved, not just what YOU want. If you are just starting to work with a new artist, one of the best ways to get on the same page and understand each other's point of views is to have a pre-production meeting.
This is one of the most vital aspects of a recording; be it a single track or an entire album.

What is a pre-production meeting? This is the earliest stage in the recording process, generally you'll want to sit down with the artist (and their manager if available) and listen to some demos with them (especially if you are acting as producer) and help with any arrangement/composition issues you may hear, this is basically a brainstorming session that will really bring you and the artist closer as a unit, you will bring your ideas and wants up while listening and hopefully reach a median between what you would both like to hear in regards to their musical direction.
A pre-production meeting can last one day or a few days,however long it takes to establish that common ground which I like to call harmony. However that is not all that is involved in the pre-production stage. You will also decide upon which studio you wish to record at (unless a label or manager has the most say), who it will be mixed by and where it will be mastered at.

Other things such as which microphones will be used on what instruments is another thing to be discussed, create a list before you go into the studio and show it to the recording engineer and be open to any suggestions they may have to replace a particular microphone or three on your list, generally you'll want to think about leaving vocal microphones out of this list as every vocalist has a different voice and you will want to try out 3-4 different microphones to find that perfect match for your artist.

I view a pre-production meeting as a communication session. Get to know your client as a person, not as a dollar sign, find out what they are about and what their goals, standards and interests are. Even a simple interest phone call can work wonders if you have spoken to a client but had not heard back from them, ask them how they're doing and see if there is anything you can help them with.

Establishing friendships and showing interest in your fellow human beings can take you very far! After all is said and done, you may just have a new friend and client for life if you follow these small but simple rules. I cannot give answers to specific scenarios here because every scenario is different and requires a different answer for people involved.

Knowing when to say things and how to say them is a vital part of the communication process as well. If something is bad, never flat out say "That was absolutely terrible!" You could really hurt someone's feelings (especially a passionate vocalist). If you are in a session and a musician keeps making mistakes, offer a suggestion that will help them out, take a break, do whatever is needed to get them back into shape.

Every individual has a certain personality and not every producer/artist relationship is a positive one, sometimes some screaming and hollering will happen, remember to keep your cool though and try to get everything back on a positive playing field for everyone as negativity makes any session turn sour real fast. Empower your artist with positive comments: "That's great!" "Perfect!" and "keep going!" are some empowering comments but you must truly mean them and be enthusiastic about what you say, false flattery will get you nowhere! If something needs to be re-recorded, tell them that what they played was fine but you want to get some more takes to be on the safe side.

In closing, I cannot emphasize enough how detrimental poor communication skills are in the music industry and life in general, show interest in the people you are working with and carry a positive attitude as much as you can, wear a smile and walk tall!

Josh Hayward

Contributer Josh Hayward is a recording/mixing engineer trained at Willie Nelson's former Arlyn Studios. He teaches various classes such as Pro Tools and music marketing training and is the owner of Astral Plane Studios. For more on Mr. Hayward, his classes and Astral Plane Studios:

   Twitter: @AstralPStudios

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Finding, Choosing and Working with a Talent Agent

Some of the most common questions I get from from aspiring actors with head shots hot off the press and eager to wow the world with their thespian skills are: How do I find a agent?  Where do you go? Where do you start? What should you expect from your agent and what should s/he expect from you? Aside from what you think you know from that episode or two of "Entourage", finding and working with an agent is a process. Here's what you need to know: 

What does an agent do for me? 

A talent agent is someone who has the inside info within TV, film, and theater. Agents acts as a go between for their client and casting directors. Your agent should utilize their contacts, know whats in production and what roles are best suited for you. Not only do they find you work but act as your representative in all legal matters connected to your work and negotiate the terms of all deals and contracts.

                                                Beginning the Search

Any agent you choose needs to be franchised and licensed.  I wouldn't suggest initiating your search by looking online because there are a lot of frauds, leaving yourself open to scams. Keep in mind that agents that are licensed and regulated get 10% from your pay. They are not permitted to request any additional fees or commission. If you do decide to do a search online check SAG or AFTRA websites for lists of legit agents.

You can start your search by:

- Picking up "Call Sheet", formerly known as the Ross Report.This 
  book full of agents, casting directors, and producers can be found 
  online or at a drama bookshop and will run you $10. Start with 
  location, and look for agencies that rep your talent (theater, 
  comedy, commercial).
- Going to networking events
- Involve yourself in plays and films (indie/student).
- Take acting classes and attend workshops
- Bring it up to friends within the industry or in class's and ask for 
- If you have a friend that's represented (with a good 
  reputation)see if they could bring you in.

With the information you gather, compile a list. Do some digging within your own network and find out who has worked with who and if they are familiar with any of the names or agencies. Take the time to research each agent.

                                                                               Making Contact

Rather than mailing out head shots, hoping for a response (which will honestly be thrown away or overlooked), try attending a casting or agent workshop. A couple of the best known are "One on One" and "Actors Access" -  you pay a fee to attend and audition for several agents at a time! How efficient is that?! While there be sure to network.

            The Big Meeting

The agent/client relationship shouldn't be a forced business relationship. You and your potential agent need to meet and see if this relationship could work because it's essential that you are able to work together. You may be asked to audition, so be prepared with a couple of monologues and examples of your work.

- Ask questions like " how many actors of my type do you 
 represent?" This is important because this means that they are 
 already established with your "type"and have the connections to 
 get you those sought after roles.

- Be humble, not cocky. No one wants to work with a diva. Your 
  reputation means everything and people talk. Don't make 
  demands right off the bat

- There may be some constructive criticism regarding your look, 
  head shots, etc. take the criticisms with tact and respect. It's no 
  secret that the business is heavily based on looks so you need to 
  have a thick skin.

 If you just don't click, finish out the meeting, and thank them for  
 their time. You never know when you'll meet again.

                                      Making the Final Decision

If you're in the early stages of your career, it may be best for you to choose a smaller agency.

Here's why: consider how many clients the agent has. How much time will they have to for you? Yes, a bigger agency does have bigger names, but larger agencies focus on the bigger names because that's where the revenue is. On the other end, smaller agencies provide the attention you need, but may lack the power. That's where your research comes in. What is the agents rep? How well known are they and how many contacts do they have? Who are their contacts? It is very important to have an agent with a good reputation and well connected - casting directors will be more willing to see you. The better known, more likely you are to be seen for an audition.

                                                Starting out

Agent should know the types of roles your a good fit for. For the both of you to be on the same page, it would be wise to see where both of you see your career heading in the next 5-10 years. Hash out what you feel comfortable with and if you chose the right agent for you, you should also trust their judgement.

Once you sign with an agent, they may set up a meeting with various casting directors, producers, and executives to "introduce" you. The whole point of these meetings are to place you in the mind of these decision makers and influencers. You want them to remember you when they come across a role you could be perfect for.

Do's and Don'ts of the Agent/Client Relationship

- Although there's no need to submit head shots, DO still have 
  some on hand in case they are requested or in the event your 
  agent needs them.

- DO follow instructions! If you are asked for 3 pics, only send 3, 
  not 50. It can be very frustrating to open and load all those 
  attachments then do a side by side comparisons.

- DON'T call for the trivial stuff. Example of trivial - directions to 
  an audition (google is your friend). It takes time away from the 
  things you really need your agent to focus on like finding you 
  work ornegotiating a deal.

- DO always confirm your auditions right away. Some casting 
  directors give deadlines - you could be replaced.

- DO NOT show up to castings unannounced or with friends that 
  may be great for a particular audition. This is very 
  unprofessional and not only will the casting crew be annoyed 
  with you but may reach out to your agency regarding your 
  unprofessional behavior. This affects your agency's reputation, 
  as well as yours.

- DO call when you can't make an audition that's already been 

- DO NOT bad mouth your agent to fellow actors within 
  workshops and classes. Word spreads like a virus - if it's not a 
  good fit, respectfully end the relationship rather than burning 
  bridges AND your reputation.

- DO be as proactive if not more than your agent! use IMDBPro,, Breakdown Sources CD book, and Alex's 
  Info/Newsletter to find the names of projects and those who are 
  involved in the casting process to network and find out about 
  more roles.

- DO NOT ask to change the times of auditions. Auditions are 
  usually held within very specific time frames. It can be very 
  inconvenient on all ends to make accommodations. As an actor, 
  it is part of your job to have open availability... I know.. I know, 
  you have bills to pay, but it is a complicated dream to chase. Be 
  flexible and open.

- DO manage a schedule of your bookings

- DO NOT be one of those actors who says " I don't watch 
  television" C'mon... that is totally ridiculous! Watching tv is the 
  best FREE way to know what shows you may want to audition 
  for and watch the credits for the names of those involved in the 
  casting process.

While having an agent can be an important asset to your career. it is even more vital that you actively pursue the career you want. Ironically, you are more appealing as a client if they know you are just as invested (if not more), in looking for work for yourself. 

INDUSTRY TRUTH: Your agent may very well be looking for work for you, but priority will always be with an established and steadily working actor.

Use an agent as a form of support for finding work, not the only way you get work. Be as proactive in your career and you may be just as successful without one. No one should be more invested in building your career than you!

Good luck!