Your site is so great, it makes researching the business sooo much easier having all the info in one place! thankyou thankyou thankyou.
Amada, aspiring actress, Sydney, Australia
Just wanted to say that this site is FANTASTIC! It's helped me quite a bit and it's now my #1 bookmarked item, which means I'm going to be visiting here regularly :) Thanks again,
Rob, aspiring actor, Canada
I absolutely love your site - it's SOOOO helpful and very impressive!
I am a frequent visitor and have signed up for the newsletter, plus I think it's so good I have recommended it to all my acting friends! Thank you for creating such a wonderful website!
Wow Tony! I would just like to comment on how much you have affected my life.
First of all, any questions I have are answered extremely fast, and not only that, you give me a very helpful answer every time. Also, by reading your newsletters, I obtain just the right information that I need to succeed in the acting business. I am so happy I discovered your site, and I hope you know how much we actors appreciate you. Thanks again, and I can't wait to read your next newsletter!
Laura Doukas, Actress
I did what you said and I got two interviews with two agents! Thank you! Sorry but can I ask you how do I prepare to go meet the agent? What do I have to do?
Marsha P., New York, NY, USA
This site has taught me a lot that I needed to know without dragging me all over the place.
Lauren, actress, Atlanta, GA
Ingrid French on Why Talent Agents & Personal Managers Are In Business
One of the things actors ask the most at the beginning of their careers is with how to get an agent or a personal manager. I always encourage aspiring actors to first make sure they are really ready to take that step and also to try and understand what talent agents and personal managers do, what they expect from actors and how to prepare for the intial interview before rushing off to try and get representation. I sat down with personal manager Ingrid French who explains it all in this exclusive 8-Part interview for ActingCareerStartUp.com.
Tony: Could you just start out by telling me a bit about your background and how you came to be a manager?
Ingrid French: I started out in this business assisting at a talent agency and that was eleven years ago, where I worked on the commercial and the legit sides with both adults and children. I then ended up leaving that and going into management and I started Ingrid French Management about ten years ago and Ive been doing management ever since. The reason I started doing that is because I wanted to work with clients in all areas instead of working at an agency where I worked either on commercial or legit. As a manager I felt that I could better help shape actors careers by helping them get projects across the board.
Tony: Would you consider yourself to be a typical manager?
Ingrid French: Probably not, because like I said, I really like working across the board with actors. Because I started working on the agency side of the industry, I have a lot of direct relationships with casting directors that many mangers dont have. Many managers dont get calls directly and actually submit clients for projects, whereas in my office I work directly with agents and I also get a lot of calls from casting directors and send actors out for auditions. So the lines between agent and manager can seem blurred at times, but I am a manager.
Tony: You explained before why you created Ingrid French Management IFM, because you like working across the board. Taking that further, what is it that you want to accomplish? And I guess still another side to that question is, why are you in business?
Ingrid French: I love what I do, because every day is exciting and there are always new things coming in and new challenges, but I really love having actors come to me and talk to me about what they want to do, where they see themselves, what their goals are. Im then the person who gets the calls from casting directors, directors and producers of projects and I love matching up the goals of actors with the projects and the roles that come through my office. It feels great to get a call where the person on the other end of the phone tells me what they are looking for and then know, because of my relationship with the actors I represent, that one of them could be the perfect person for that project. Of course Im not the only one saying that. There are other managers and agents pitching their actors they feel are perfect for projects too.
When it fits, its great and so its not only the monetary success that I enjoy, but its also being able to watch an actors career grow and to see him/her become more successful and for me to be able to be able to appreciate that success and also to have the casting directors that I work with tell me that the actors I proposed for their projects were really perfect. Everything fits.
Tony: But there is also a monetary side that is important to what you do. Correct?
Ingrid French: Absolutely!
Tony: So what is it that you expect from the actors you work with so that you can make sure you meet your monetary needs?
Ingrid French: My whole business is commission-based. I only make money when my clients are making money; my clients being the actors I work with and represent. My commission is 20% if I book an actor directly on a job and 10% to me and 10% to the agent if its booked with an agent. I can meet an actor who is amazingly talented, but there is a whole business side that the actor has to be aware of. That means for example that when my office calls him/her for an appointment, they have to show up on time and do the preparation for whatever the audition or the job is. If it is a commercial audition, there might not be a lot of preparation except for wearing the appropriate attire, to know what role they are going in for and maybe to prepare for that, when they are in the audition room to be able to take the lines and interpret them in different ways, improvise if called to do so and take direction. For television and film the preparation might involve being able to do the preparation of the character and to learn the lines. Going on those kinds of auditions or on any auditions really and being well-prepared for those auditions are hopefully whats going to get them work.
Thats all certainly a big part of being business-like and professional, but what 's also important is showing up on time and calling back in a timely manner to our office when we call them for an audition. The people who do those things consistently are the people with whom Im going to be able to work with for the long haul.
Tony: How do you see the market in New York in this moment (November, 2008)?
Ingrid: Overall things are good. The good thing about New York is that we are getting more and more television productions than we have had in the past few years and the more successful they are hopefully the more we will get here. We still dont have nearly as much film and television work here as Los Angeles, but the fact that it has doubled over the past couple of years is exciting.
On the advertising side, however, I feel things are slowing down because of the economic situation. Whenever the economy takes a downturn, I find that instead of creating a whole new commercial or print ad project, companies will sometimes want to renegotiate a project they have already shot instead of starting from scratch.
If you think you are ready to get an agent, after reading the remaining parts of the Ingrid French interview, have a look at this 12-step method to get yourself a talent agent or personal manager.
In part 2 of this interview with Ingrid French, she talks about how many actors she works with and why she signs some and only freelances with others.
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I want to say you changed my life. I want to be an actress so bad, but i began losing motivation when I couldn't figure out what to do. And then I found you! Thanks to you, I'm taking my first acting classes next month! Yippee!
Sara, Pasadena, CA
Just wanted to thank you for bringing me in to [audition for the video], meet you and chat this Saturday. I was really excited to hear about your working on actingcareerstartup.com and even took a look at it today - it's awesome! You are very well-spoken, knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and it shows through the work that you do! I hope our paths in the industry will cross again and really enjoyed meeting you. Thanks, again and best wishes with your very important work!
Gretchen, NY, NY