COBB Film Festival CD & Agent Panel Recap

And another one!

This past weekend I attended another panel of Casting Directors and Agents local to the Southeast. This Panel was hosted by the COBB Film Festival in Marietta at the Strand Theatre.

Members of this Panel DIscussion Included:

  • Jackie Burch, Reknown Casting Director

  • Jillian Johnston Casting Director

  • Chad Darnell Casting Director

  • Shannon Reid Casting Director

  • Linda Rutledge BMG

  • Thom Milam People Store

  • Gina Henry MI Talent

  • Barbara Garvey East Coast Talent

Please not these are not direct quotes and may be paraphrased from the discussion

What turns you off about an actor?

  • Jackie- When an actor isn’t real, look at your tapes before you send them in

  • Jillian- Make sure your listening to the other actor, your job is to support that lead. Also Please label you tapes correctly.

  • Cheryl- Make sure your resume is attached to your picture and cut to size. Please don’t record yourself as a reader, find one.

  • Shannon- Try to read off book and don’t read off a TelePrompter unless it is specifically for an industrial

What is your dream client in your agency?

  • Gina- One who has a great demo reel that has dialogue that is good for you; great headshot; great resume

  • Linda- Listens to your agent and has good communication. Takes Classes.

  • Thom- Respects me and my time in and out of the office; has on going training; Willing to work as a team

What do you wish actors didn’t do or did more of?

  • Chad- I used to only do in person auditions to make sure you weren’t crazy. I now at least skype with actors that I know i’m going to put in front of the director to make sure you aren’t crazy. Don’t be crazy or a jerk and make sure your self tapes look professional

  • Shannon- Give me a suggestion of what you would look like in the role. For instance, If you gonna play a doctor, don’t wear a t shirt and backwards baseball cap. Make sure lighting and sound is on point! Remember we want you to do well.

  • Cheryl- Submit yourself only for things you are right for, not something that’s a different gender, race, and age.

  • Jillian- Don’t over edit yourself, we want to see that you understand it, don’t always give yourself 10 takes just because you messed up a word.

  • Barbara- Doesn’t matter if you only have a few lines in the sides. Acting is not just about speaking, its about listening.

How did you get into Casting/ What do you specialize in?

  • Jillian- Mainly commercials then broke into films. My Partner and I managed L.A. For years. I moved out here and work on mainly the rest of the country. We also work on independents, music videos, and voice overs.

  • Jackie Burch- Used to do a lot of action movies such as Die Hard ( CDs were saying she is very well known) has been doing it for 40 years.

  • Jessica- Jackie is my idol. I cast a lot of things. My biggest client is crazy legs productions but I do features and commercials

  • Chad- I started off in extra casting which I loved. I was also a writer and got experience working with people such as J.J. Abrams amongst others. Started working on principal casting. I love acting and writing and would like to move back into it.

  • Cheryl- Background in acting; Went to college and London Royal Academy. Started working in casing and quit acting. Got married and had a baby then eventually got back into casting.

  • Shannon- Mostly independent. Non-union/New Media. I work with smaller production houses and help you build yourself. I love actors and appreciate all you do.

  • Thom- Full service agency that has been 35 years established. I am originally from the NY Market working with agencies. I am an actor advocate. We are a large office but very hands on.

  • Linda- Worked 35 years before mergining my agency with BMG. I handle al the kid talent and we are getting involved with adults as well

  • Gina- In Kennesaw; we do film, tv, commercial and some broadway. We do enjoy helping starting talent even thought it is a little hard to do right now.

  • Barbara- East Coast Talent. Bought from Kelly some years ago. Known for our kids but we are a full service agency

What classes/skills would you need to see on a resume?

  • Barbara- Check out pole-dancing seriously.

  • Thom- There are 3 productions right now actually looking for people with that skill. P-Valley, Ozark, slutty teenagers, and even claws had male strippers

  • Shannon- Improv, it's great for commercials

  • Chad- classes in general. Some great studios are here that have showcases that we all attend. I’m not trained in it but Meisner is great, scene study, try to do background work if you are new but DO NOT list on resume. It will help you learn the lingo

  • Cheryl- Watch commercials too and study them

How do you feel about Actors self submitting and submitting for 6 roles in the same production?

  • Jillian- If I specifically say not to and you still submit for multiple roles I will probably black list you

  • Thom- From our agent perspective, we have a strategy for it. If there are 4 roles for guys and the only difference between them is the character name then i’m probably gonna put the same guy to cover my bases and make sure that actor gets seen. However there are some casting people who only release the top 20 roles and then later when they list the rest they might give you a heads up that one of your actors are already being considered for a role so you don’t have to submit them again for a different one.

  • Linda- If there is a role you really are interested in, email me but don’t make it a habit. Communicate with me because we are a team.

Transitioning from Tennessee to Atlanta Agent. Advice?

  • Linda- Let us know if your currently represented. Usually we would like to see that you have already submitted a letter to your old agent saying you are departing

Can you volunteer as a reader?

  • Jackie- I have to really trust you and you have to be good.

  • Jessica- I’m also very particular. You have to be able to handle 10 hours with us, and know you are there for the other actors not yourself.

If you meet every single criteria expect for the ethnicity in a casting what do you do?

  • Jillian- most of the time its not up to us. It’s not how its written. Its probably a waste of your time

  • Thom- If you have an agent this is the time to talk to them and maybe they can ask your you. It happened before where we had a great person who was of opposite gender and she booked it!

How important are the submission notes?

  • Jessica- I don’t mind the submission notes however some agents put the same thing for every actor and I just pass through sometimes

How important is an actor’s website?

  • Chad- Get your domain name and don’t let it go. I made that mistake with mine and now its $1000. Yo can put your personal contact info not your agents, your headshot, reel, and blog. Just be very careful about what you post regarding current productions; read the NDA.

Well that’s all folks! It was a great panel and of course I didn’t get all the info. Please take time to subscribe so you can get more updates and information when I attend other events!