As a manager in the entertainment industry, I spend my whole life trying to make people happy. I want my talent to be happy with their auditions and book lots of jobs. I want casting directors to be happy with my clients when they are in the room. I want the agents to fall in love with the talent that I send them and want to represent them with the same passion that I do. As extraordinary as agents and managers are, we are people too and a little kindness and cooperation goes a long way. Here are some tips for making us happy.
1. Buy a smartphone. But one for yourself—not for us. With a smartphone, you can be reachable instantly via calls, texts, or email. We work very long days. I want to finish at 7 p.m. I don't want to stalk you until 9 or 10 p.m. trying to get a confirmation on an audition for the following morning. When you don't confirm, we have no idea if you are going. If we don't know that you are not going, we have no chance of replacing you. No shows and open slots make Casting Directors very unhappy, and they pass that unhappiness onto me by not seeing my other, more reliable clients. My smile broadens when everyone makes their appointments, auditions, and callbacks on time as promised. You get my undying appreciation when you tell us in advance when you are on vacation or unavailable. Finally, when I get to call you with a booking—if you could see me—I am absolutely beaming! This makes me happy.
2. Keep your pictures and sizes updated. When breakdowns come in that ask for pictures and sizes, I need that information on hand to pull and send at a moment’s notice. Your headshots and your profiles on the casting sites are the most powerful tools we have in pitching you. The websites tell us when things are updated. If I am looking for a height of a 10-year-old child and the site says that it was last updated 10 months ago, I know that the height is incorrect. I now have to find you, and you have to measure your child. This wastes precious time in getting our submissions in. I don't like wasting time. I like to be efficient. Being efficient makes me happy.
3. Respect your agent/manager’s time. My phone is on, and I am available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for emergencies. An emergency constitutes a question while you're on set, a cancellation for a booking (and it can be nothing less than death or extreme illness), or something that absolutely cannot wait. I am happy to answer any question during business hours. Please don't call me at 6 a.m. to tell me how well your audition went yesterday, or 2 p.m. on Sunday to discuss where you see yourself in five years, or 11 p.m. on Friday night to ask my recommendations for a class or a photographer. Respecting that I have a life makes me happy.
4. Listen to our advice. No one in the world, with the exception of your mother, wants you to book more than we do! If we tell you a headshot is bad or a hairstyle doesn't suit you or that you need a class, please listen to us. We have been doing this a long time and we know what’s good for you. We should be working together toward a goal, but it's hard when we are ignored. Being listened to makes me happy.
5. Say thank you once in awhile. Acknowledge that we are doing a great job getting you auditions and in front of important people. Yes, getting our commissions mean we are effective, but there are stretches of time where you go on many auditions without booking. We are working as hard for you then as we are when you're working. We like small tokens of appreciation. Sweet treats make me happy.
By the way, go check your e-mail. You have an audition tomorrow!
Jackie Reid owns and operates L’il Angels Unlimited, a talent management company, which specializes in young actors for placements in film, television, theater, commercials, voiceover, and print media. She works extensively with agents in New York and L.A. She possesses an excellent eye for talent that both casting directors and agents value. She understands what it takes to support young actors as a stage mom to two children, one of whom currently plays Sinjin on Nickeldeon’s hit series "Victorious." Follow her on Twitter @LilAngelsTalent and like her on Facebook.