Viral Agency: “Is this the future?”

It has officially begun, even if well, it isn’t so official…or professional rather. Recently I received an email from, a Hollywood talent agency accepting new talent for those, “Seeking Representation.” The agency is called H-V-N Talent So here is a little story by an actor regarding this new “LEGIT – Licensed” agency. In the words of the actor: “I sent the new agency an e-mail per their request but something seemed a little off though when I received an e-mail back from them today. They asked me to join NOW Casting (this is interesting since it is a FEE-Based online service and yet they were not asking me to join LA Casting or Actor’s Access. Don’t know if there is an unethical connection there but it was odd) if I haven’t already done so. Then at the bottom it says to add them as my agent and then let them know I’ve done so, so that they can schedule me in for an interview. I did contact them via phone to inquire about it and was told by the receptionist that it is the only way for the agent to access my profile and decide what to discuss when bringing me in, that I can delete them as representation at any time. It seems fishy but I am going forward to try to do some re-con here. I’ll get back to you Kevin when I know more.”

A little fishy? Ha, I would say so. Now here is the KEY point about this folks. As I stated before sharing this actor’s experience, I noted that this is a LEGIT – Licensed agency. A phrase I commonly use, once again, applies here: “…just because something is possible, doesn’t make it a good idea.” You see, I’ve been asked by 5,000 actors since 1991 as well as dozens and tons of parents from speaking across this nation regarding this simple question: “How do I know if an agency …is legitimate?” A great question, and quite frankly, these days…easily answered. If a business wants to be a talent agency in the State of CA, and they’ve acquired a State Agency’s license…then they’re considered LEGIT…well sort of. You see the OTHER aspect that makes most agencies considered legit is that they are either a SAG Franchised agency or an ATA/NATR non-franchised agency.

So this, once again, is where the rubber meets the road because ironically, HVN does NOT appear listed. Now, this doesn’t mean they’re not, cuz lord knows the wheels of bureaucracy move awfully slowly…and maybe these two entities (SAG and the ATA) have yet to update their websites BUT…for now, it is odd that they’re NOT listed. It is also odd that in 2012 we can have an agency basically pitch to have actors essentially align themselves with an agency without even so much as a phone call, meeting, or discussion of credentials. This is a very very bad sign for us all.

You see, I firmly get that working in “real film and tv” is a “dream or goal” for many, but what is the world you’re choosing to live in? Actors get constantly taken advantage of, constantly made fun of by folks on the other side of the desk, and constantly complain about being paranoid about “admitting they’re an actor” because of this scornful feeling that seems to come over the non-actor person they’re speaking with at the time. Well if you’re reading this, from anywhere in the world, and you’re bothered as well by how folks sometimes couch or view actors then realize that WE are responsible for most of our image. It is companies like this one, but more notably the CONCEPT, because being “blindly assigned an agent via the digital interface” is somehow…credible or REMOTELY professional. Our common issue is that we’re so desperate to “feel” a part of this industry or to be able to state that we ourselves are legit, we become vulnerable to such scenarios as this recent one put forth by this agency.

When you look at ANY industry in the world for how it is “done right” you don’t look at the bottom, you look at the top, and I assure you that the TOP 10% of this industry on all levels (writers, producers, directors etc.) don’t create phantom digital companies and accept a client list via an email and a wide open door to come aboard. I have spent a great deal of the last 20 years listening to actors complain and tell stories about “how they were done wrong” by so and so. The reality is, most of the time (not all), the situations we get ourselves in we PUT ourselves in because we want to either believe something that is not only too good to be true…but is simply illogical.

Can Hollywood be an overnight “Lottery Ticket?…YES. But there is a distinct difference between it being that, once in a BLUE moon…because it is possible, VERSUS realizing that something existing as a severe remote possibility does not make the “road to that possibility” an intelligent way to get to the top of the mountain of your chosen profession. My purposeful effort is to lessen the likelihood that my fellow peers are truly just floating through Hollywood in a dream state cloud. Note: I did NOT say to stop dreaming! But to view the professional protocol of a multi-billion dollar industry to be nothing more than sending a BLIND email, and having folks just “login and set up an account” as an actual form of professionalism…is well flat out ridiculous.

I only ask you to realize that it is. Not to avoid it, or never do it, but to realize…that ultimately it is likely…really ridiculous. At least that way, when it doesn’t work out, and there isn’t any professional result from this action over a fairly long period of time…then you won’t be upset or emotionally depressed. Actors don’t quit because it isn’t ok to dream, nor because we dont’ know that it is tough, we tend to quit because this business frustrates and depresses us. Hollywood is inherently that way, so please for the sake of your dream/goal to be a working actor, don’t HELP Hollywood out…but falling for such things. Always on your side.

Kevin E.

Follow Me: @TheKevinE

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