WELCOME TO REN HANAMI'S BLOG
Now I can use Twitter to keep everyone up-to-date
January 8, 2009
I realize I haven't blogged in
a long, long time. I got started on it awhile ago and then just dropped
the ball. Well, I have two new wonderful things to blog about. I am
excited about my new commercial representation in Los Angeles and San
Francisco. My new LA agent is Pinnacle Commercial Talent. In San
Francisco for voice over and print I am now represented by Boom! Models
and Talent. Now I would love to have a Los Angeles voice over agent who
believes in me. Hopefully, that will come soon. In the meantime, I
would like to express my gratitude to Joan Messenger and Kim Muir
at Pinnacle and Denise at Boom! I am also very grateful for my long
time fabulous theatrical agent David Moss. What an amazing team!!!
THANK YOU NOTES
Q: I wanted to ask do you send
thank you notes after you have an audition?
Best Wishes, Tatiana
Yes, it is alway nice to send a
thank you note and it is a nice way for the casting director to
identify with you for a second time. Be sure to include a photo
business card and some way to identify your representation.
COMMERCIALS & VOICEOVERS
Q: Please give some advice on how to
get into commercials and voice overs.
Thanks and Best Wishes, Tatiana
and voice-overs are such a fun part of the entertainment business.
Getting into on-camera commericals is more similar to any on-camera
acting, but with a little different skill set than dramatic acting.
Voice-overs is a whole separate path with completely different players.
Michael Donovan teaches a really great commercial acting workshop. It
is practical and fun. You get time on camera with great feedback from a
top casting director and your classmates. Pictures for commercials are
more open, friendly, smiley than theatrical pictures. Watch a lot of
commercials. Find the roles you would see yourself in. Note what they
are wearing. Your picture and you should exude, "Happy, Healthy, Full
of Energy." That is what musical theater coach Carlos Noble use to say
about every musical
you walk into and I think it also applies to commercials. Most
commercial casting submissions are now done online at LA Casting so you
don't even have to print up many pictures anymore. Looking for an agent
is the same process as looking for a theatrical agent. Sometimes AFTRA
and SAG have agent workshops free to union members where you can meet
commercial and/or theatrical agents and many actors get signed through
those workshops. The one skill absolutely necessary for all acting, but
especially commercials and voice-overs is improvisation. You have to be
quick on your feet. Doing theater helps keep me sharp for voice-over,
especially comedy and musical comedy. Voice-over work is much more
physically demanding than people think. You physically have to create
the story so it reads in your voice. Afterall no one can see you. They
have to imagine you are picking up a 50 pound bowling ball or whatever.
The path to
a voice-over career is lots of workshops and experience. Bob Bergen has
a great animation workshop as does Sue Blue. Kalmenson and Kalmenson
has a terrific commercial workshop. There are on-going workout groups.
After lots and lots of hours in front of the microphone working out
characters and stories. Then you have to make a GREAT demo that truly
represents what you do. Most agents want to have a really specific way
to pitch you. So be a specialist. Be specific versus a jack of all
trades. In voice-over it is the standard to have a separate commercial
demo from animation demo. They can be on the same CD, but should be
clearly marked and the put into chapters with descriptions so agents,
casting directors and directors can quickly go to the track that
corresponds to what they are looking for. Most pros are on
voicebank.net. You can listen to demos of working voice-over actors and
gauge where you fit in.
Q: Your website is amazing.
WHO put it together? - Teresa
for the compliment. I DID! Yes, maybe that is the blessing that came
of my years away from acting and working as a Creative Designer and
Graphic Designer in Marketing. I do my own design, marketing and
promotions for Renworld I.N.C. We will eventually hire someone to do
updates, but for now, I really enjoy personalizing my website. As
another friend of mine wrote "went to your website... Looks
GREAT!! It really captures the essence of you." I think part of
my "essence" is that I like personally connecting and communicating
with people— like you! If you need help setting up your web site, send
me an email!
Q: I'm looking for a new theatrical
agent...I'm not going out at all theatrically. Any ideas for a
new agent? —Best regards, Doris
As for theatrical agents... As
with everything, I can only share what I have done and what has worked
for me. My first lesson was "stick with your first love." When you find
someone who believes in you, stay with them. Nurture that relationship
and don't be swayed by fast talking wheeler dealers who promise you the
moon. So after leaving the business for a long hiatus in marketing, I
am so happy to be back with my "almost" first agent. My very first
agent after I graduated from U.C.L.A. is in Heaven.
How I found my wonderful agent
David was through the traditional submissions. Even though there are
many more opportunites to meet agents through showcases and marketing
your projects, I found the old fashioned methods still work:
1. Pick up a copy of the Agency Book at Samuel French Bookstore and do
some research on the agencies. What categories are they currently
seeking? What do they specialize in? What size agency are they? What is
their reputation and how do they like to work with their clients?
2. Target the agency and agents. Make a list of your top 10. Then
another list of 10. Then the next list of 10. I found it easier to
focus on a small list each week instead of everyone at once.
3. Get personal referrals. Who do you know that is represented by the
agency? Call and ask them if you can use them as a referral. Since
busines is all about building relationships, personal referrals help
warm up the correspondence from being a cold call.
4. Write to an individual agent. Find out which agent would handle you
at the agency. Write a short cover letter about why you are interested
in their representation. Mention your friend and how you are
acquainted. Did you work with them in a play? Mention your marketing
niche. For instance, I am an Asian Pacific cross between Annette
Benning in American Dreams and
Goldie Hawn in Overboard. Mention
the work you are currently doing (keep it brief), and how enthusiastic
you are to meet with them.
5. Send your letter, picture and resume. Don't bother with a demo
unless they call and ask for one. Follow up in a week to make sure they
got the submission. Feel your way to the next step. You can tell if
there is interest or not.
6. Meet with those interested. Be prepared to ask questions about what
is important to you and carefully observe how you feel. Do you think
your styles of communication work well together? Does the agent have
ideas on how he/she will pitch you? Do his/her ideas match yours?
7. If you aren't sure about anyone, move on to list 2 and give yourself
time to think about everyone you have met with. When you do decide to
work with someone, give the relationship time to develop and keep doing
everything you can to promote yourself. This helps your agent. It's
That's enough to get you
started and I need a break. More later.