This past week I had a mom write to me asking if I could include more articles for actors just getting started in the business. Who better to talk on that topic than an agent? So I’m excited to introduce my friend Cheryl Mann. She is the owner/agent of V and C Talent located in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Cheryl and I first met when her daughter was in Flowers for Fannie. Since then, she’s been a part of each of our movies and whenever actors come to me looking for an agent, she’s the one I send them to.
What led you to starting your own agency?
I started the agency as a result of a few mothers that I started networking with when our children were on sets. We would exchange email addresses and when I would get breakdowns for jobs, and after submitting my daughter, I would pass the breakdowns on to other mothers. Then in the summer of 2014, several of the teens were on set together and we were talking and some of the mothers said if you will start an agency, we will come on board with you. If you are sending us work, you should be getting paid if our children land the roles. Many stated they were with other agencies and never heard anything from their talent agencies.
I listened to what they said and the concerns that they shared with me about all the fees that they had been charged to sign their children with agencies and then were made promises that were not kept and were never even offered roles.
I prayed and asked the Lord what he would have me do, and the more I prayed, the more I knew this was what he wanted me to do. I began to check the fees and what licenses would be required and then in Oct. 1, 2014 we began V and C Talent. I started with my daughter and 4 other talent and now we have over 150 active talent on the roster. They are from all over the US.
What are some of the challenges for actors just starting out in the business?
One of the challenges for actors just starting out in the business is that you want to stand out to the casting directors. There are thousands of actors submitting for the same roles and you want to be that person that will stand out. Many actors work full time jobs while breaking into the business and they can’t just pick up and go in a moments notice. The more flexible you can be when asked to do work whether it be extra, low pay/no pay the more opportunities you will have come your way. Everyone has to start somewhere and no matter how good you think you are, or have been told you are, everyone starts at the bottom and works their way up to speaking roles.
What advice would you offer to actors trying to break into film?
For beginning actors breaking into film, a few things I would say to you is please have the tools to market yourself. Your agent is only as good as the material they are presented by you. Please invest in professional headshots, and attend workshops. I know I hear it daily, why do I want to spend money if I am not making money, but you would not have a job as a “computer programmer” without training, and you won’t be able to move up in your acting career without training. I am seeing this more and more as I do submissions. If the talent have experience and training, they will go far in the industry. However, sometimes it is simply a look that the casting director has in mind, and if you just so happen to fit the look they are looking for, then if you are able to deliver at the audition, you could land the role. Please join the sites that your agent tells you to join as this is the way they market it. Some have a small fee while others have No fee.
What are some red flags parents should be aware of?
As a parent myself, the biggest red flag to me was when I would be told to pay money to sign with a talent agent. Speaking from experience, the only fee a talent agent should ever charge is the commission if they find you a job.
Several years ago, before my daughter had very many credits on her resume, an agency out of LA contacted me and said they wanted to represent my daughter, but I had to pick up and fly out to LA within two weeks,(at my expense), get professional photos from LA photographer ($700) and sign the contract while there. I knew a casting director and I shared my daughters audition tape with her, and she was like, she is not ready for LA yet. I knew then that it was a SCAM. The agency saw a parent who was wanting her child to make it in the industry and decided to play on my emotions. So parents beware. As the old saying goes, if it is too good to be true, it probably really is.
Another red flag if you are told you have to pick up and move. If you are not getting work where you are, what makes you think you will get work 3,000 miles away? Also, these agencies that tell you that you have to take a certain amount of classes before they will submit you for work is also a red flag. You should be aware that this program IPOP is not affiliated with Disney and will not get your child an audition with Disney, will only take your money.
Should beginning actors be willing to work for free?
Beginning actors should work for FREE. You need to have what they call in the business, resume builders, and you should build your resume doing free projects as often as you can. After you have been in the business a while you will probably start getting paid work, be it extra work or supporting or lead roles. I even encourage my actors that have experience now, to continue to go to do any project they can as it helps them build their network in the acting field.
Tell us a little more about your agency and what an actor should do if they’d like to be represented by you.
V and C Talent is located in Bowling Green, KY. Our contact information is 270-996-8475 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are accepting talent of all ages and all ethnicities. We are founded upon the scripture Prov. 3:5-6. If anyone is interested in representation I would need a headshot, body shot, 3/4 shot, resume and demo reel if they have one.
Types of projects we strive to get are faith based, family film, tv shows, music videos, and commercials. I work with the talent to see where they are most interested in working and will do my best to get them work in the area that they want to work.