Actor Managers...

Getting IMDB Pro soon. Just realized they had a cool feature with it that gives you actors/crews manager/agency contact info. I've never done this before ( I'm not trying to hire Hollywoods best actors ;) ).
Just wondering how this generally works... You call the actors manager/agent and then they pass it down to them or the second agent?

And help would be appreciated! Thanks!
 
Manager/Agents the attaching talent nightmare

It is generally thought to be easier to get a script to an actor through a manager than an agent. Agents (these are all generalizations) worry about $$$, managers worry about careers. Both tend to act as buffers to crazies/bullshit. If you have a legitimate offer you can contact an agent but don't look to the almost non-existent "attached" for an indie, particularly with a first time director. Back in the day an actor would offer up a "letter of intent" so you could look for cash and name drop but those are pretty dead too. Your best bet is to write something amazing.
If you keep your feet firmly planted in reality you can attach "b minus stars" from TV who still dream of making it in movies but again, make it great. It doesn't take much to get yourself deemed a flake and have your queries and calls go unanswered so make sure you know 1) Who you want. 2) What you're offering and 3) WHEN you want it. Be polite and know that there were 20 companies that queried that actor that day.
You can sometimes get to an actor by asking friends/acquaintances for anyone with direct contacts you might know but be super careful and again be certain your shit is worthy cuz agents HATE this and will burn your ass in the future if it fails.

Good luck.
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
indiePRO
Just wondering how this generally works...
How it works depepnds on what you are offering.

When you call the first thing an agent or manager is going to ask
is who are you, how much are you paying and when is the shoot.
They will assume you are already a SAG signatory. If you are not,
you will need to mention this right away.

Are you ready to make a firm offer?
 
Thanks for the advice!

I am not a SAG signatory... yet! I'm not sure they let under 18's into the program?? Another thing I forgot to ask: Can you still go down this route if your under 18?
 
Well, SAG is an American thing anyway, so you don't need to worry about it in the UK.

The actor's union in the UK is Equity but no-one really abides by their 'guidelines' these days, so you needn't worry about that either.
 
And you basically have to have to have one of them to be taken seriously?

I could afford it but it's eating away at money I could be spending on other essential things.
 
And you basically have to have to have one of them to be taken seriously?

I could afford it but it's eating away at money I could be spending on other essential things.

Why do you have to have one of them to be taken seriously? All it'll give you is an email or postal address, no-one will ask you how you got that address.

To be honest, I'd say that at most levels they're almost entirely pointless. I've used Spotlight for a project and I ended up finding it easier (and getting the same applicants) by just putting out a standard casting call.

Almost every actor has an IMDB page but, unless they're George Clooney or any other star, just Google them and see if they have contact details listed on any other site.
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
indiePRO
And you basically have to have to have one of them to be taken seriously?

To be taken seriously you need to pay the actors.

I gather the guild/union issues are different in the UK than
in the States so agreeing to follow all the Equity guidelines
doesn't seem to be an issue. But I assume that actors in the
UK (those with managers or agents) expect to be paid to work.

I don't understand the way things work in the UK so I may
be wrong here. When you contact a manager or agent of an
actor are you offering them a paid job or are you asking them
to be in your movie for little or no money?

Nick, you know about these things in the UK. Can a filmmaker
make a movie with name actors and not follow the Equity
guidelines? Are their many name actors who are members of
Equity and are willing to work outside of the agreement?
 
To be taken seriously you need to pay the actors.

I gather the guild/union issues are different in the UK than
in the States so agreeing to follow all the Equity guidelines
doesn't seem to be an issue. But I assume that actors in the
UK (those with managers or agents) expect to be paid to work.

I don't understand the way things work in the UK so I may
be wrong here. When you contact a manager or agent of an
actor are you offering them a paid job or are you asking them
to be in your movie for little or no money?

Nick, you know about these things in the UK. Can a filmmaker
make a movie with name actors and not follow the Equity
guidelines? Are their many name actors who are members of
Equity and are willing to work outside of the agreement?

The Equity rules are really outdated and a lot of actors are not getting or not renewing their Equity card. I'm not sure that there was ever a requirement for production to actually follow the Equity rules anyway. It's a completely different kettle of fish to SAG.

But the idea behind Equity is to protect actors working for low pay. If you're going to get a name star then you're presumably going to be paying more than the minimum wage, thus the guidelines wouldn't be a problem. If you can convince a name star to act for a train ticket and a sandwich then great. More power you.

When we shot the Flight of the Flamingo promo the other week one of our actors was a guy called Adrian Bouchet. He's been in a few big films, had decent roles, won several short film acting awards- we got him for expenses and sandwiches.

I don't think I've worked with an actor on any of my few films who doesn't have representation and yet I've not paid any of them. These are desperate times to be a jobbing actor.
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
indiePRO
Thanks, Nick.

So getting a working actor (one with several credits) for no pay
is fairly easy in the UK? I understand that not all actors will work
for free - but it seems from what you say here than many will.

So all Ewan needs to do is contact the manager and ask? No need
to have a budget other than transportation and food?
 
Thanks, Nick.

So getting a working actor (one with several credits) for no pay
is fairly easy in the UK? I understand that not all actors will work
for free - but it seems from what you say here than many will.

So all Ewan needs to do is contact the manager and ask? No need
to have a budget other than transportation and food?

I'd say just go for it. I think it's better to post a casting call and have agents/managers/actors get back to you directly because then you can be sure that they're interested in the role and you waste the least amount of time but yeah, so long as there's travel expenses and food then you should be able to get yourself some good actors.
 
Thanks for clearing things up.

I don't have a lot of money to splash around so the pay won't be that good if there is any. I'll try get some actors that dying to star in some short films or whatever. I know that there's lots of actors out there who would work for free so they could get a place in a movie.
 
Hi Ewan,

I agree with most of the other posters, manager first, agent second. Managers can produce, agents can't, therefore they are more motivated to help the project as a whole. You will eventually have to deal with the agent as well.

You don't need to bother with Equity, however, if you hire an American actor to work in the UK or any actor who is a member of SAG, the agent will ask for SAG rates and dues, they have to operate by SAG's Global Rule One. You can opt out of this though as long as your budget under a certain amount, it was 12M USD when I exempted my film last year. They don't advertise this opt-out so you will need a good lawyer to do this for you. There is an exemption that SAG do promote but it is for film under 1.5M, approx.. Ignore it and go for the other one. The general rule is though, that you exempt the production from SAG but pay the actors Health and Pension. If you don't, the agent won't okay any deal.

Agents will want the budget as well as the actor's rate.
 
Excellent advice.

I'll add one thing, give them plenty of time to block out the actor's schedule. It is really difficult to get a busy actor, even B-, if you're calling up 1 month before.
 
It doesn't matter where you are if an actor is union they can only do a union projects. All professional actors are union. An actor that works outside of the union is flirting with getting kicked out of their union. No bueno.

I have both an agent and a manager and they work very similarly these days. Managers have less clients and focus more on individual actor's careers. They are usually available 24/7 to their actors. Agents typically have more clients and although the focus on their actors they tend to be more concerned with the bottom dollar. But they do care about the actors career. These days agents and managers do the exact same thing save one thing: Negotiations. It is illegal (at least in the state of california for a manager to negotiate a contract). They use lawyers to skip around these laws.

Its different if you contact an A lister's manager vs a guy with a couple of guest stars, obviously. The guy with a couple of guest stars is much more likely to at least hear about your project because their manager wants to get them more leads to show that they can carry a feature or a show. These are the people (recognizable faces but not recognizable names) that you are most likely to get. But again, your project will have to be union.
 
It doesn't matter where you are if an actor is union they can only do a union projects. All professional actors are union. An actor that works outside of the union is flirting with getting kicked out of their union. No bueno.

That is not correct. You can opt out of SAG/ Global Rule One as a production. They are perfectly valid and actors do not get kicked out unions for working on SAG opt-out movies. Talk to any media lawyer and they will tell you how it is done. I know this for a FACT.
 
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