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Ms. Bubbette

Dear Ms. Bubbette: Becoming a Serious actor • Allen Larson from Prodigy
by Ms. Bubbette

May 2001

Ms. Bubbette would like to add to her last correspondence on headshot photographers in Austin. It appears that David Korkan no longer resides in Austin and has moved his business to another State.

Here are some other highly recommended local headshot photographers who are reasonable in price. Rhea Willis - 349-2376; Peter Gonzales - 416-1566, 208-3698; and Mary Bruton - 447-4383.

Tell 'em austinactors sent you!

Keep smiling...
Ms. Bubbette

Dear Ms. Bubbette,

I have only been an extra in two movies (both film festival) and I would like to get recognition from the big producers and casting directors out in the big world by being in movies that actually come out in the theatres! My extended amount of email sending and research has left me hanging thinking I'm hopeless. What are was to ask being an extra or featured extras? How do I get an agent? Do I need a professional headshot and resume or can it be a nicely taken home picture and a computer printed resume?

-Jordan Gustin

Dear Jordan,

First of all, let me tell you that getting into the movie business is just that - a business. Being an extra is a tiny step in this vast, complicated work field. I doubt if there are any Big Stars who didn't start off first as an extra.

To go the next step is the start of being a very dedicated and driven person who eats, drinks, sleeps and dreams of acting. It's not so much wanting to be a "Star" that makes the successful actor - it's more an internal hunger for expressing oneself in a given character.

If a so-called-actor is seeing only his external self, then that is what will come over - an empty shell. Acting is a very soul-searching and selfless business. It's all 'give' and very little 'take'. It's not so much what you look like, but rather what kind of talent do you have. And to develop that talent you need to take classes in every facet of the acting business.

If you are serious, then an agent and professional 8x10 headshots are absolutely necessary. During casting of a feature movie, TV movie or commercials, headshots by the hundreds are submitted by the agents, fulfilling the casting director's request for certain looks, features etc. Anything not professional in the bunch can end up in the garbage can. Actors without agents are not taken very seriously.

You can do a computer printed resume, but you need to follow the accepted format. Ms. Bubbette highly recommends you take the class "Show Biz, the BIZness of acting" with Mona Lee - Sunday May 6th. Trained at Julliard in NY, Mona knows this business backwards and this particular class only happens a few times a year. Ph: 323-2090.

At the top of Ms. Bubbette's letters for May see list of reasonably priced Headshot photographers.

To answer any other questions you have, I suggest you read back through the past year's submissions by Ms. Bubbette especially June 2000. And I highly recommend you acquire the "Actors' Bible" THE BIZ DIRECTORY. e-mail for information on this.

Good luck Jordan,
Ms. Bubbette

Dear Ms. Bubbette,

First of all, I would like to premise this email with my permission to edit and cut this rather lengthy email as you see fit. I would like to address a couple of points as I've just discovered your site, the first being the role and need of a manager. As a Hollywood manager myself, I'm in a unique position of knowing what it is we are SUPPOSED to be doing here. The one element you missed in your article is the ability of a manager to produce films. While we prefer to work with stars (who wouldn't) we also are excellent choices to launch actors that are both experienced and talented. Unlike some managers, I prefer to work WITH an agent on one of my clients careers. With the day to day submissions handles by them, I'm free to pursue alternate means to elevate the status of my actor to that of "ticket selling talent." Managers have a knack for seeing the little indie film that will become something much more. Agents jobs are to look at the bottom line and thus tend to be less creative in finding the path to great success. Being a producer as well, I'm able to get the films made for my talent that would seem unreasonable to a producer not vested in the future of that talent. One example is a film we are currently packaging called MARKING TIME. It was created by one of my actors, Scott Levy, and will feature him in the starring role. After a complete rewrite of the screen play by Rogan Russell Marshal (ATTIC EXPEDITIONS) we have a script that is garnering the attention of recognizable stars and directors. With Scott as the lead, his career will be on the fast track. Please note that a manager that is producing a film (or other work) for one of his/her talent, the manager does NOT receive a commission on that project (double dipping). While certainly Scott's talent would lead him toward success eventually, we've made it possible for him to enjoy that success far sooner. I suggest any actor interested in management be diligent in researching the abilities of that manager. Are they experienced in launching new talent? Are they known for making wise choices? Do they have strong connections within the industry and are they LIKED by those connections? And do they produce film/television? Answering these questions should help with the decision.

On another note, I'm curious about something you might be helpful with. In smaller markets, such as Austin, I've found competition to be rather brutal in nature. I understand that there are limited "customers" but the back stabbing seems unreasonable to me. I have a friend that owns a school in Austin geared toward actors with Hollywood success in mind. It seems that a few of the casting directors that also teach in your market bad mouth his school to potential and existing students of the casting directors workshops. This is a business that can only exist with collaboration, why is it that such a practice is in existence? We are considering shooting our next film in Austin, I would hate having to import an extra and small role CD from L.A. that would be willing to work with my friends school. Do you have any suggestions as to how to rectify the situation? You've been spot on in all your previous articles, I'm curious as to what you have to say about this one.

All the best,
Allen R. Larson
President Prodigy Management Inc.

Dear Allen,

Thank you for your detailed input on an acting Manager's role. In Texas, being a Producer as well as a Manager is the exception rather than the norm. But it is certainly important to be informed on what LA Managers do.

On your other subject please allow Ms. Bubbette to take mild umbrage at the reference of Austin being a 'smaller market'. Not so long ago AUSTIN was noted as being the 3rd largest film industry city in the States, following LA and NY. It's not unusual for this 'small town' to have three major movies being shot at the same time, as was the case last year when all our three new 'hanger' sound-stages were humming with activity. And on the heels of those productions came "Miss Congeniality" and "Spy Kids." As you've probably noticed, "Spy Kids" was the #1 movie in America for 3 weeks running, grossing over $80 million and is still 2nd in its fourth week. It cost $36 million to make. What many people don't realize, this movie was 98% produced, cast, crewed and shot in Austin. We are known as the Third Coast in the movie world. Austin's RTF department at the University of Texas has turned out some of the best Directors around: Robert Rodriguez (Spy Kids; Desperado; From Dusk Till Dawn; The Faculty): Richard Linklater (Slacker; Dazed & Confused; and this year's smash hit at Sundance "Waking Life"): Mike Judge (Office Space; Cartoon Features): The Coen Brothers ( Blood Simple; etc): Not to mention the many fine actors who come from here. Many of these were shot entirely in Austin with mostly Austin cast. On any given week, up to half a dozen Independent movies are being shot in this city, some of them promising to make the big time e.g Cicadas directed by Kat Candler. Add the rest of Texas to this and the Third Coast thrives... Thank you for indulging Ms. Bubbette's expounding on this little bone of contention!

Now, as to Austin's market competition being 'rather brutal in nature', Ms. Bubbette has worked in this market for over 15 years in both the casting and acting, and has heard nothing but praise about how helpful and supportive we all are in this industry. Bill Duke and Lou Gossett Jr. once told this writer how refreshing it was to work with Austin child actors because of their unspoilt and non-Hollywood attitudes.

I can't imagine what kind of 'backstabbing' and 'badmouthing' you are running into from our local Casting Directors. I work very closely with all of them and every actor who has ever worked or auditioned here has nothing but praise and respect for them. Because you don't mention what school it is your friend owns, it is impossible to address your 'problem' .

Texas has very strict rules on Talent Agencies - they cannot charge advance fees or require a performer to use a particular photographer, resume service, or take any acting or modeling school courses or workshops. If your friend's school is also an agency promoting actors, then our law is being broken and that is not taken lightly by anyone in this industry.

We also have, from time to time, teachers coming into Austin and charging exorbitant sums in four figures for courses on acting and modeling. No-one wants to see new would-be actors 'fleeced' and these set-ups are greatly frowned upon. Some 'teachers' purport to be important casting directors but turn out to be the assistant to the assistant to the assistant of... LA Casting Directors are not going to bother discovering anyone here when there are millions of actors already in LA. Texas actors would do better taking workshops with the Texas Casting Directors as they are the ones who are going to end up auditioning them. Austin has some of the finest teachers in the country, trained at the best schools with the best coaches in New York and LA, who are also working actors with national credits. They offer comprehensive on-going classes, catering to every facet in the acting business. Their prices are a fraction of the cost of these 'visiting teachers' promising fame and fortune in Hollywood.

The fact is, no-one except the director (and sometimes the producer) of a movie has the final say in who will be cast in a movie - not even a casting director can promise a role to an actor.

Maybe you could write us again with more information as Ms. Bubbette would like to be helpful. And know that Austin welcomes you to our fun town. May you have the joy of producing a super movie no matter where or how you decide to cast it.

Ms. Bubbette

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