By: Jess Canty
As they say, this biz is all about who you know, right? Well my own goal for 2019 was to increase the "who Cinterra knows / who knows Cinterra" and I can proudly say that I definitely accomplished that goal.
From having Sarah Baker Grillo and Bay Dariz to join the company, to attending major showcases, to being added into two awesome tracking boards - the amount of knowledge and insight and relationships for the company has increased exponentially since this time last year.
One of the groups I am now actively participating in, as many of you know from our goals meetings, is a facebook group with a number of other boutique agents and managers.
It is pretty awesome to see everyone, who is ostensibly competing with each other, band together to share information and help prop each other up. Check out one story that is typical of many posted this season:
"Casting shot down my pitch saying the role had an offer out and my client was too old and they weren't reading blah blah blah. Then the manager sent an audition appointment for the same role I pitched for the same client the next morning..."
It is a great place not only to vent, but to see that this is insanely hard for EVERYONE!
Almost everyone in this group agrees that this has been a VERY competitive pilot season - and a crazy busy one with all of the extra streaming networks looking for content.
Almost everyone in the group has a story of not being told the absolute 100% truth by casting either out of expedience or because they have an offer out on a role that they can't yet talk about (to name two reasons).
I wanted to highlight this post because what this group has given me more than anything is just how much work is going on to get you that audition.
I mean I know how hard we work here at Cinterra, but your agents, for the most part, are working just as hard (and if we have already discussed moving agencies for you because we don't feel like your agent is cutting the mustard don't worry we are on top of it, but we do need your patience). And you know what the outcome of most of this hard work is? Deadline articles announcing that David Allen Grier, Maura Tierny, Thomas Middleditch and Julie Bowen have booked these pilots.
I say this not to dishearten anyone, but rather remind you just HOW competitive this season has been. Oh - and those shows? Few of them are guaranteed to be picked up. So any one of those actors I just mentioned may also find themselves without a show come September.
As you know we like to focus on the positive here at Cinterra so what are the positives here?
If you have booked, called back, auditioned or taped for a pilot so far this season, in ANY capacity congratulations you are in great company. You have successfully been pitched to casting and they saw you in the role. This probably happened after your agent or manager read the script and saw you in the role. That means you're doing a great job of making them understand your skills and what you bring to the table. Just being in the room at this level IS the win - and rest is icing. Think about it - you just taped for an office (or went in) and someone has seen you at the series regular or recurring level. At the very least your agent does. Pretty great milestone.
If you have not yet been out yet this pilot season - guess what? There is still another month to go. What is amazing about these streaming services is that they are spending tons of money on content. That means that these pilots are chock full of characters - because budgets aren't dictating otherwise. And guess what? The networks have to do the same to follow suit. There are still series reg roles that aren't cast. We are just starting to now see the fractional series regular, guest and co-star roles in these pilots be posted.All of which brings me to - are you prepared for success?
You could get an email next week for the biggest audition of your life. And you may not even know it. I can't tell you how many projects this season are working under pseudonyms. It may seem like a "nothing" little project, but some of that lack of information may be to hide the fact that it is actually a HUGE project.
A few weeks ago a project listed as Athena Ep. 201/202 popped up on the breakdowns. Weird right? Have you heard of a show called Athena that had a first season? Turns out it is a pseudonym for a certain AppleTV+ show that may or may not rhyme with "Warning Flow."
You may be in a room or asked to tape for a pilot directed by Taika Waititi. Or written by David E. Kelly, Vanessa Bayer or Amy Schumer (to name a few).
You may only have a day or two to prepare for that new office who has never seen you before, or put that tape together that was pitched on Friday and due on Monday.
Do you have your coach lined up?
Are you eating right, sleeping right?
Going to the gym?
Do you look your best?
Are you moisturizing?
Are you meditating and in a good head-space?
Are you READY.
And better yet remember - there WILL be these big opportunities all year long. Between Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max and Peacock there are three more players that didn't exist last year. They are all in desperate need of content to justify their monthly subscription prices. And they have deep pockets.
So... our message this mid-season... keep on trucking.
Keep doing great work in class.
Keep being responsive to your agents and managers - they may actually need your immediate reply to an appointment they have been working a week to secure for you.
And the best advice I have seen this pilot season - that is true for ANY audition ever - directly from an EP on one of the shows being made right now:
"Don't give us what you think we want, we don't know what we want. Give us YOUR take on the character."
I couldn't have said it better myself.
Keep your head up.
I know I am.