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Ms. Bubbette

Dear Ms. Bubbette: What is the role of an acting Manager? • What is a demo-reel - do we need it? • Value (or not) of workshops from out-of-State "casting directors"
by Ms. Bubbette

December 2000

Dear Ms. Bubbette,

What is the role of a manager for an actor and when should an actor obtain one?

Is a demo-reel just clips of your best work on a VHS tape? In addition, mailing or giving a demo to almost every audition call can cost quite a lot, so when is it proper to mail one out?

A hungry Actor

Dear Hungry Actor,

Let me answer your last question first.
* DEMO REELS should consist of excerpts from 'real stuff' like movies - whether they be big screen, TV or Independent. Not extra work but rather principal work as a "Day Player", "Weekly player", "Supporting actor" or "Star" . Many casting directors frown on class-work being included - although my contention is, if you have nothing else yet, and have some cleanly-shot roles done in a professional film class that really show your ability and diversity, go ahead and submit those. Just don't bore the CD to death by making it more than 4-6 minutes long. And always put your best shot first as that may be all they'll have time to view. Nothing turns a CD off quicker than poor quality visual or sound. Even if it you think it was your best work.

It is not necessary to mail out one for every audition. Your agent(s) should have a couple on their shelves and send one to each CD you're likely to audition for in Texas (roughly 4-5 main ones). Most CDs will look at your reel and sometimes even review it at a later date if they remember you. Ms. Bubbette has landed principal roles from her demo reels. They do work.
Industrials and commercials should be on a separate reel.

Now for your first question.
* To quote from the book "Your Film Acting Career" by M.K. Lewis on how to break into TV and the movies and survive in Hollywood:

"The reason an actor needs a personal that agents are predominantly booking services. A manager guides you in every facet of your career - your bank account, selecting agents, publicity."

"I'm sort of an architect whereas the agent is sort of a realtor", says personal manager Roz Tillman. However, on the other side of the coin,"I don't think they're very valuable - they're only helpful if you're a star."

"Another minus is anyone can be a personal manager. They don't need a union franchise or state licence. They can charge what they want. Some even lose an actor his career by making ridiculous demands of CDs, even producers and directors."

Tony Barr, renowned actor, director, teacher says, "As an actor you will have little need for both an agent and a manager unless you become a major star."

Here in Texas, unless you're extremely talented or another Tom Cruise, I would suggest you be happy with your agent. It you have both, you will be paying out two lots of commission which could add up to half of your salary. The only management I've seen pay off here is with really talented kids who have ended up in sitcoms in L.A. or major movies.

Opinions are welcome from anyone else out there.

Good luck!
Ms. Bubbette.

Dear Ms. Bubbette,

There are companies that present weekend workshops from so-called Casting Directors from major TV soap operas and other primetime shows in LA, Chicago, Texas and New York.

These companies also present a special weekend of workshop/audition sessions in LA to qualified actors. When I say qualified, I am basically talking about an article I read a couple years ago that if you send your resume or email about your past acting experiences to them, you may be qualified to attend these special events for a cost. I am not sure if that is the case nowadays, but after chatting with two individuals who are planning to attend one of these events, one mentioned that he is sacrificing a lot for this two day trip knowing that nothing may come out of it.

My question to you or anyone out there of some experiences in this issue is how true are these events? Are these real Casting Directors looking for the new faces of tomorrow or are they just interns or assistants? I have heard that if you want a career in LA you must live in LA, so what are the pros and cons of this weekend excursion?

To know is to ask

Dear To Know is to Ask,

In Ms. Bubbette's experience, most of these "casting directors" who come in from L.A. to teach expensive classes are not the 'top dogs' but rather assistants or interns. They say they can get you on soap operas and they can - as an extra. But the catch is, the actor is required to pay his own way there as he is regarded as local hire. Hotels, airfare, food are at his expense. One actor I know who did this recently, landed two days on two different soaps - he was not recognizable in any of the scenes and I believe he was paid $100 per day. He ended up definitely on the broke side! The only dubious benefit I can see from all this is putting it on the resumé, and finding out how over-loaded L.A. is with discouraged actors.

You can verify very easily whether these "CDs" are the real McCoy by checking the end of the touted soaps or sitcoms. The casting director always has a credit.

As to travelling to L.A. to do these classes, unless you're planning to move there - why? when we have the best teachers right here in Austin. And at half the cost. Training with local teachers will hold as much weight as suspect teachers from afar when it comes to local casting directors.

But - Ms. Bubbette must admit there are exceptions. She knows personally of three actors who landed principal roles in "Days of Our Lives" after taking weekend seminars with Doris Sabbagh, (previous CD), at the Kim Dawson Studios in Dallas. So it's the actors' call. Do some background checking first.

Any personal experiences out there? Let us all know.

Ms. Bubbette

Ms. Bubbette's Message To Everyone,

Happy holidays y'all. Stuck for ideas to treat a fellow actor?

  1. Give them (or yourself) a membership to the AUSTIN FILM SOCIETY (AFS) Just $20 Get discounts on movies at Dobie Theatre; reduced admission to AFS film series; receive AFS newsletter "Persistence of Vision"; get advance notice of special events and more.
    e.g. AFS members get first tickets to Sandra Bullock's 'Miss Congeniality' premiere, Dec 18th, for only $15. Remaining tickets go out to the public a week later for $25.

  2. Give theatre buffs a membership to the AUSTIN CIRCLE OF THEATRES (ACOT). $35; seniors & students only $25.
    Get the monthly magazine "Curtain Call"; audition hot lines; free premieres at any of the 75 Austin theatre companies (yes - you read that correctly!); health insurance and more.

  3. Treat yourself to the latest edition of the actors' bible the BIZ DIRECTORY. $50. And before you scream "What?" ponder the price of the Hollywood one which does not cover agents' and casting directors' interviews. Over $200 last time I looked!

May the year 2001 be the one that makes your dreams come true...

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