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Ask Ellen
Ask Ellen
| Friday, 07.06.2007, 07:34 PM |   (29305 views)

Ask Ellen

By Ellen Jacoby

Ask Ellen

By Ellen Jacoby CSA


I emailed my headshot and resume to you, but your response was to have my agent submit me.  Why can’t I submit myself? 

A.  We must always strive to be professional.  There is a reason for this system. . . it works.  For some reason, it seems that actors in Florida believe that they can do things differently than actors in LA or NY.  This is not true.  We have been fighting long and hard to get some recognition for the Florida actor.  However, if actors do not follow proper protocol, this throws the system out of whack, and Florida actors are looked upon as unprofessional.  There is a reason that there are talent agents.  There is a reason that we cast our projects through talent agents.  There is a reason that you should have a talent agent representing you, and working on your behalf.   

I hear complaints from so many Florida actors that they are not considered for Guest Starring roles, or that their agent has not submitted them for a speaking role etc.  My email box is flooded with requests for speaking parts.  You are lucky that we were able to respond to your email.  We do not have all of the time needed to possibly answer all of the emails that we receive requesting speaking parts.  Many of these emails come from newbies that want speaking roles, starring roles,  or recurring roles on series because that is their dream.  They have no experience, no formal training, no theater etc. 

If this is your dream, you must prepare.  As in any profession, you must study.  You must learn the business and the business of the business.  You must learn proper protocol.   

Many other emails that I receive are from actors with experience requesting auditions.  When I put out a breakdown, it goes to talent agents.  They represent you.  If you don’t believe that your agent is doing a good job, get another agent.  However, be realistic.  There might not be the right role out there for you at that particular time.  No, you are not right for every role.  Talk to your agent, it doesn’t cost anything.   

You should be out there networking.  Network within the acting community as well as the different film organizations.  Find out what projects are going on, and then you can have a more informed conversation with your talent agent. 

Some thoughts: 

When I put out a breakdown to talent agents, I will accept links to auditions.  I find this especially helpful with talent that lives further away.  My office receives many, many of these links.  We watch them all.  Knowing that, you must make it easy for us to watch them.  Please never post an audition on youtube.  Do not send us a link to a site that requires us to join a program for us to view the link.  Links are preferred in .mov, .m4v, mp4.  The reason is that the best way right now for us to upload these links is through Mac.  We can view .wmv, but only send it that way if you are available for callbacks.  The .wmv files are not compatible with Mac.  Although we have both systems for just that reason, some sites that we must upload to for the producers, do not take .wmv, and we do not have the time to convert files. 

When you come to castings, please be prepared.  I know that this sounds silly, but you should see through my eyes.  Many actors do not have their name on their headshots.  I personally do not advise this, but if you do not have your name on your headshot, please have your resume attached to it.  Do not hand your photo (no name on it) with a separate resume.  No, it is not my job to staple your photo to your resume; and that should be done before you come to the casting.  If not, please do so when signing in.  Do not wait until you go into the video room.  Please have your headshot and resume in hand when you do into the video room.  Often, I am asked to please print out an actor’s photo and resume.  So many actors tell me that their agent can send over the headshot and resume for me to print.  If you think about it, that request is not reasonable.  This is one of the tools of your trade, again, this is being prepared.  I am not going to start printing out actors headshots and resumes.  Please do not even ask. 

You should also have your sides with you.  If, for some reason you do not, please ask when signing in, not when you go into the video room.  Please have the actual sides.  Trying to read the sides off of your cell phone does not work. 

You are taking the time and putting forth the effort to be the best that you can be.  Please be prepared on all fronts.  Please be the most professional that you can be.  Then, it is out of your hands.  Know that you did your best. 

Please talk to your agent and get feedback when possible.  Keep a positive attitude.  Learning from a mistake can be the most positive experience.   

On another note, now that Florida is busy again, please continue to stay in touch with your local government reps.  Give them positive feedback about the filming incentive.  We do not want to lose it.  We fought long and hard for this and we still need to put forth the effort to maintain these incentives. 

Please continue to send your questions.   


Ellen Jacoby

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