(Part 2 of a group interview with Tina McDonald, Abby Johnson, and Sherry Kayne, the women of The Green Room talent management company… Read Part 1 here)
What is something that makes your job easier that actors don’t do enough?
A: “Honestly, to randomly get a genuine thank you from actors absolutely makes our day. We don’t hear that very often at all! Same goes for casting directors! But just saying thank you every once in awhile… you have no idea how happy that makes us.”
Any quick tips for actors submitting for representation?
T: “Most representatives are not going to look at blind submissions at all. If you are sending cold emails to representation, you MAY get a response because they want to help a new actor out with some advice, but usually the relationships you’re going to make are from showcases or plays and shows, or if you have enough credits to the point where it’s getting you attention. And that you have to get yourself! Try to build your student film and co-star credits. So ultimately, you’re more likely to get an agent if someone is reaching out to you, or a friend refers you.”
A: “I hear this all the time from actors: “It’s a catch-22! I can’t get credits without an agent and I can’t get an agent without credits!” But I don’t think that’s true at all. Even when you have an agent, you’re not safe. Be out there creating your own content, auditioning for student films, building your reel. You should be hustling even more than your agents. Also, if you are blind submitting, do not use the word “quirky”. It’s more overused than you would even know.”
T: “Also, when you’re in a program or acting class and they give you a submission template, everyone in that class is sending out that same template and therefore you become unoriginal. It happens all the time. Please, do yourself a favor and make it original! Put it in your own words!”
Sherry, do you have anything to add?
S: “Make sure you attach everything that relates to you and your work in the business. An email telling me that you’re interested in working with our company isn’t enough. I need headshots, resume, reel- if you don’t have reel, maybe an audition clip. Make it easy for me to see who you are and what you bring to the table.”
As women in the entertainment industry, do you feel you experience any advantages or disadvantages?
T: “On an average day, you don’t feel like there’s too much of a bias, but Hollywood is a boy’s club. I mean, if you can’t go play basketball or head out to the golf course, that limits how much you can network! That being said, on the casting front, that tends to be a very female-dominated area of the industry. But it also depends case-by-case, since some women respond better to male authority, and others feel more comfortable interacting with other women. While today’s industry is much more progressive than it was back in the day, there are still areas where we have to work double to make and maintain relationships simply due to things like not being able to shoot hoops with producers and directors, which is actually a thing.”
A: “I also think there’s an issue with women being perceived as blunt or harsh when communicating authoritatively and to-the-point… when a majority of men speak like that and are assumed to be good businessmen. This is the case in almost all industries, not just the entertainment industry.”
S: “I think this is one industry where women are continually making strides and gaining respect. But it is sad still that female actresses earn less than their male counterparts. That makes no sense to me.”
Have you ever felt like you’ve needed to work harder to be taken seriously because of your age and gender?
A: “I definitely feel like I have to prove myself more. When I first started my career in my early 20’s, I did not fit, and still don’t, the stereotype of age or look of a typical talent manager. As a young girl, people assumed I wasn’t aggressive enough. It does makes you work harder though!”
T: “In this particular field when you’re young and female, people expect you to prove your worth and to defend your position. I sometimes catch myself feeling obligated to say, “Well, I’m [blank age]!” as if I need to qualify my profession.
Lastly, the ever-cheesy, what do you enjoy MOST about working for The Green Room?
All: “[We] love that we all really work as a team. We’re like-minded individuals all from bigger agency backgrounds, who all got to the point where we weren’t happy with the old system, so we created The Green Room to bring together amazing actors and give them a chance at making it in Hollywood. We love to learn about each other’s successes and enjoy knowing and hearing about each other’s clients- it’s a very positive atmosphere. This company was built in a little over a year from one location and 4 managers to now having New York City, Los Angeles & UK offices with 7 managers (and counting). We wanted to give everyone a space that was both friendly and safe as well as professional and highly effective. Check out our links below if you want to know more!”