Thursday, August 16, 2007

Breaking into Hollywood

CnA has a question in regards to my previous post:

"Do you have any tips/info on getting an agent in Hollywood as opposed to NY? I have a friend that is Japanese & he is doing fairly well in Japan acting but he wants to come out here (you know how that is). He has an agent in Tokyo but, I don't know how to get him one out here. Any help would be much appreciated."

I'm not an acting/media guru or an expert in this industry. But I will do my best to answer your question.

LA and NY are very different in terms of how an Actor should proceed a Talent Agent/Management. In New York, a lot of the agents are more flexible with the talent in freelancing with other agents - as long as the talent honors the "first come, first serve" rule.

In LA, the agents are more interested in signing the talent exclusively. That's why landing a good agent is very important in Hollywood. Sign with a good legit Talent agent is not easy. The talent him/herself must have 1) Strong Credits, 2) Acting Reel 3) Training, 4) Professional Headshot, and 5) Union Status (not required, but helps if you are in good standing with SAG/AFTRA).

A great source of a listing of Hollywood (and New York) Talent Agencies and Casting Directors is the Ross Report. I think EVERY starting actor should have at least a copy. They are available in most major bookstores. (That's how I land my first talent agent)

The agency information in Ross Report, usually include the types of talent they represent, and types of work they represent. It is VERY important for the talent to do some research on a talent agency before sumbitting headshot/resume package. Especially in Hollywood. Even though the talent is interested in signing with an Agency, it is very important that the agency is reputable, and capable of sending it's talent to legit works.

As a starting actor, your package should include: Headshot (or compcard if you're doing modeling), resume, cover letter and your reel (if available).
Keep your cover letter brief - enough to cover your training, latest work, and other special skills.

For a talent who is from another country, getting a working permit is very important. Because the chances for an foreign talent to sign with a legit agent in Hollywood are very slim (unless the talent is a huge mega star). If the talent is an US citizen that resides in a foreign country, working in US shouldn't be a problem.

CnA, I would recommand your friend to consult his talent agent (or a manager) to see if they have any association with other agencies in the US. If not, see if they can recommand any agencies. Because signing with a new talent agent through connection is much easier than doing mailing. It saves time and money.
As far as I know, most of the talents in Japan are usually sign under a "Management Agency." - Right? The talent deals with the manager more than talent agents. It won't hurt to have your friend's manager doing some reason for over-sea jobs.

There are talent agencies that do sponsor foreign talent. Or help the talent getting the paperworks done his/her working permit. But at this time, I don't have any references. (There is a modeling agency that hires international models for work in Taiwan)

Finding an agent takes time - so if you're friend is really interested in working in Hollywood, I'd advice him to plan a couple month vacation in Los Angeles. Do the mailing at least two weeks before he arrives in LA - so he can plan and schedule interviews with agencies that shown interest. (Pretty much 98% of the agencies perfer to meet the talent in person before signing any contract)

Your friend also needs a car and a place to stay. Unlike New York, from one agency to another may require 30 minutes of driving in Los Angeles. (In New York, pretty much everything's a subway ride away) I have had the experience of driving 1 hr and 40 minutes to North Hollywood for a 5 minute audition, then drove 1 hr and 40 minutes back home. (Did I mention that I'm originally from California?)

Here are two resources that will help any new talents avoiding scams:

Easy Background Check
Modeling Scams

I'm not sure if this help, but here are the management info of some well known Japanese actors who work in Hollywood:

Hiroyuki Sanada
Management 360
9111 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Phone: 310-272-7000

Youki Kudoh
Vincent Cirrincione Associates
1516 N. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Phone: 323-850-8080

Ken Watanabe
9701 Wilshire Blvd. 8th Floor
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Phone: 310-586-8222


1 comment:

CnA said...

*Hugs* OMFG!! YOU ARE AWESOME!!! Thank you so much for all the info! I'm actually going to print it out so I don't lose it. I'll also get a copy of the Ross Report as you suggested. He is working on getting a work permit.

I think since he's doing well in Japan he should stay there & get famous there. He doesn't want to wait that long. So I want to help him as much as I can.

This is SUCH a HUGE help. You are a wonderful person!

Next time I'm in the Big Apple I'd love to meet you & say thanks face to face.

Good luck & continued success in your career. ^_^

Thanks again!