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
Paul Michael is a trained actor and director, who worked as a director in New York for seventeen years. He is now founding father and executive director of The Network NYC, a place where actors can meet casting directors and agents as well as other industry professionals. The following is an exclusive interview I did with Paul in October, 2007.
Tony: So Paul, what is The Network NYC and what does it do for actors?
Paul: The Network NYC is a place where we introduce casting directors, personal managers, producers and talent agents to our actor clients.
Its not only a place to come and meet casting directors and agents, but it is also a place where actors can come that is a safe haven. Where we help nurture actors to launch their careers. I want it to become a place that actors can sort of treat as a hub, a comfortable place to stop by and hang out and help each other out and help us help them.
I created The Network NYC to resolve the imbalance that I saw which was that agents and casting directors seemed to be on a higher level. They were always up here and actors were always down here. I wanted to make The Network NYC a place where they talk to each other, because without one, the other cant work.
Tony: How do you actually work with actors to help them launch their careers?
Paul: Well first we do free consultations with actors to see where they are and where theyre coming from. We take a look at their headshots, their résumés, monologues, commercial copy, listen to them sing so that we get a sense of who they are. Then we couple them with casting directors, agents, managers and producers who tell us they are looking specifically for that type of actor. We only bring in guests (casting directors, agents, producers, managers) that are actively seeking clients and we find out exactly what types theyre looking for.
Were kind of like a dating service, matching actors to get them placed with the right people so they dont waste a whole lot of money and time seeing people who arent looking for their type.
Tony: The way that the actors then have a chance to meet the industry professionals is by way of seminars that you host. Is that correct?
Paul: Yes it is. We keep the seminars very small, which means they have only seventeen actors max. The format is a twenty minute Q & A with the guest, then the actors meet with the guest one at a time for about ten minutes. We dont time them. We let the agent or casting director send them out after theyve finished with them.
As a result of this process, weve had some really high success rates. We have a lot of people getting cast and lot of people getting representation and a lot of people getting called into offices.
Casting directors are very happy and loving our seminars, because the level of talent is high. They call us and tell us that they are casting something and tell us that they would like to come and do one of our seminars, because they know that they will get a room full of actors that fit the type they are looking for.
The actors love it, because they come and do a couple of seminars and they already get called in by an agent and/or by a casting director. Thats a pretty good ratio.
Were very hands on and were very big on follow up and letting the actors call us the next day after seminars to give us feedback.
Certainly if the agents and casting directors give us feedback, were the first ones to call the actors and let them know so they can follow up quickly, since this is a very time sensitive business.
Tony: You said that a lot of actors are getting called in and getting representation after the seminars. Could you quantify that for me please?
Paul: Well, our statistics from a couple of weeks ago have been compiled and for example considering that that we had two seminars a night, which will soon be three by the way, which means 17 actors x 2 seminars x 4 nights per week, we actually had ten people either get called in, signed or both.
Tony: What do actors have to do when they meet casting directors and agents in The Network NYC seminars?
Paul: Usually a legit agent will want to see a monologue, while legit casting directors want to see sides. Commercial agents and casting directors want to hear commercial copy. Although some of the commercial agents are gearing towards hearing an upbeat, contemporary monologue so they can hear something new. Thats something I personally find funny, because for an audition nobody wants to hear monologues for film and television. When you go in for a real audition, its either copy or sides.
Tony: Heres a kind of side question. What percentage of the actors who get representation through you are signed with agents as opposed to the percentage of actors that have been asked to engage in a more informal relationship with agents; a free-lancing relationship for example.
Paul: Less and less agents want to free-lance these days it seems. We have about fifty actors who are free-lancing and the number of actors who have actually signed with agents is significantly higher.
Tony: Im going to play the devils advocate here. I get a lot of questions about scams. Ive run into a lot of actors who say that anytime you have to pay money to meet casting directors and agents, its got to be a scam. It shouldnt have to be that way. What do you say to that?
Paul: There are a couple of things to say to that. First of all, its becoming a trend here in New York. In LA its been that way for a long time. In fact, in LA thats one of the best ways to get to see a casting director is if you pay by going to these kinds of seminar. In addition I can say that our services and the response we get speak for themselves. The actors who come here are all very, very happy.
We used to have a policy that if you werent happy, we would give you your money back. Then we stopped that, because it was the people who didnt show for seminars they had booked who were complaining and who wanted a refund.
We operate from a place of integrity, that as soon as people know us, they know exactly whats going on here.
And I tell people, that if you dont feel comfortable, then you shouldnt do it. But before you make that decision, have a look at the testimonials on the website and they speak for themselves. Actors are always referring their friends and family members here all the time.
Tony: Other than the seminars to meet casting directors and agents, do you offer any other kinds of seminars?
Paul: We do intensives, where students can do scene work for example. We are doing a two Saturday workshop intensives in which the casting director will be doing scene work or will have students develop scenes. That particular casting director casts for playwrights as well as for some television projects.
Were also doing another one with Marci Phillips who casts for ABC. Shes going to do an afternoon seminar intensive.
We do festivals where actors have the opportunity to meet people. They can meet for example five managers in one afternoon. We also do specialty classes like voice-over classes with Catherine Ryan from Buchwald. She does an advanced section of that class as well.
Many of our specialty classes usually last four to six weeks. We keep them very small and they are always with somebody who can actually cast you in something or offer you representation.
Everything we do here is all about getting representation; getting work and helping actors take their careers to the next level.
Go to this page link for more information on how to meet casting directors and agents or go to www.thenetworknyc.com
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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