With the launch of our new Acting Department, we thought what better time than to get to know the agent behind this scene! Josie Rollin talks us through how she got started as an Agent, tips for those trying to crack the industry, and what it would be like to be a momager to an elephant.
How did you get started as an agent?
I’ve always had a job that involved looking after talent in some aspect. One day I was back stage looking after a performer when I met their agent, I saw their interaction, the personal relationship, the trust & support and it all clicked. This is what I want to do. So I started looking for an Assistant position on the PMA, I got my first interview invitation with Boland and Reeve (now Collective Agents), got the job and worked my way up to Agent where I managed my incredibly talented and wonderful list before joining Excellent Talent.
What’s a typical ‘agenting’ day like for you?
I am not sure there is a typical ‘agenting’ day! But, with that said, I start it with a coffee and check my emails to see what has come through overnight and what is urgent, so I can facilitate those requests first. You do have to spend a lot of your day being reactive, and you have to be on hand and accessible for anything that comes your way. This could mean responding to an urgent casting for that day or a tape due in a matter of hours; you need to be available to put out fires, to be there if an issue on set arises and your client needs you, or for job offers that come through with a quick turnaround, or for clients wanting advice on their performance before a tape/audition. You can be needed for anything and it’s what makes this job so exhilarating; not any one day is the same.
What do you love about your job? [no pressure!]
Oh so many things, but most of all I love my clients. Not only are they incredibly talented, but they are wonderful people as well. This is an extremely difficult, high pressured industry, for both the Actors and Agents, so having a personal relationship with each other, I feel not only benefits both of us on a work level, but also makes it that much more enjoyable.
Of course as well, there is nothing quite like the feeling of telling a client THEY GOT THE JOB!!!!!! It doesn’t matter how big or small the role, the feeling of exhilaration, excitement, relief and pride does not change.
How did it feel the first time you saw a client on TV/in the cinema/on Stage?
I cried, and I still struggle not too. The first time you see a client performing is breathtaking. You hold your breath in anticipation, in hope, excitement, in awe and when the curtain comes down and they do their final bows or the credits roll, it’s tears of joy and pure pride because you know their journey and the hard work they have put into making this dream happen.
Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the acting industry?
- Make sure your Spotlight showcases the best of you. It’s your CV and used to sell you as a performer in every submission. It needs to highlight your versatility and skills and show Casting Directors why you should be considered for the role.
- Expect rejection and use it to positively move forward. This is a difficult and oversaturated industry where only one person can get the job. For a newbie the aim is to be on the Casting Directors radar so more opportunities will follow until the right one comes along. Every audition is an opportunity to learn and grow as performer.
- Keep working on your craft, acting is a muscle that needs to be used. Attend workshops, gain new skills, practice different accents, stay active within the industry and stay hungry.
Any hints as to what an actor can do to stand out to casting directors?
You never know what a Casting Director is looking for, and everyone has different tastes, but I personally love it when a client takes risks. I can’t imagine how many tapes or in person auditions Casting Directors have to consider from actors where it is the same material on repeat. Why not shake it up a little? It might not be what they’re looking for, but then again, they may love it!
For potential talent looking to submit for representation, what can they do to increase their chances for a positive response?
Firstly make sure your email is directed to the Agent(s) you are trying to get the attention of. I personally do not like ‘To whom it may concern’ or a blanket email where we have obviously been bcc’d in. It shows you have not done your research, and lets face it, Agents like to feel special and wanted too!
Highlight your USP – Unique Selling Point(s). And ALWAYS include a link to your spotlight.
What do you think makes for a successful client/agent relationship?
Honesty, communication and trust.
If you weren’t an agent, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?
I’ve tried everything, there is nothing else I want to do.
And, on a more serious note….
If you had a choice between two superpowers, being invisible or flying, which would you choose, and why?
INVISIBLE! 100%!! I love to know what’s going so this way I wouldn’t have to ask, I could just sneak in and no one would know. Also I could still fly, just jump on a plane whilst being invisible, so win win!
You’ve been given an elephant. You can’t give it away or sell it. What would you do with the elephant?
I’ll be it’s Momager and they’ll be the most in demand elephant on screen, so we will travel the world filming features and TV shows.