Originally posted on Vancouver Actor’s Guide. -Revised on April 2011-
Pamela Wise, arriving from Montreal 18 years ago into the ‘early days’ of the Vancouver film scene, was inspired to pursue a career in casting. After realizing there is no straight road to success, she pieced together an education, studying acting, small business management, marketing & administration. She also took a production & A.D. courses; and networking & casting on every student film & low/med. budget Indie she could. Her break came when she was hired to work with a local casting director, Sid Kozak. She gained insight into the process of casting and carried that knowledge with her to the next chapter of her film career as a talent agent. She has had a successful & rewarding 10 years as owner of Coast Talent. Pamela is now an agent with Premiere Talent Management.
What made you want to become a Talent Agent?
Pamela Wise – I really respect the creative process, and it is exciting to make that vision come to life. I enjoy recognizing the current trends in marketing in Film & TV world is demanding and keeping my roster reflective. Mostly, I really like my talent, the trust, respect, communication I have in my relationship to them & to the industry, is very important to me. Lastly, I love watching my actors succeed, it is such a hit.
What advice would you give to actors looking to “break into the industry”?
My advice to actors trying to break in would learn the craft of acting, develop solid technique. Build tons of personal confidence, determine your own edge & style. Know the market. Be a business person. Agents & casting directors only respond to what the director/producers want. Keep up to date with what is current in looks & acting trends. I also think it is key to have a mentor type figure, perhaps an acting coach or a professional actor, that knows the pitfalls & can give you solid advice. Have a game plan, soak up every experience, have a vision, and have faith in yourself.
What advice would you give to experienced local actors?
For the represented actor, hopefully, your agent will guide you with sage advice. For the un-represented actor, I would have to advise to have a lot on the go. Create momentum. Network, ask questions, study both drama & comedy. Practice with other actors outside the classroom. Do respond to all casting calls-make your mistakes without the pressure of an agent & the ‘sometimes
unforgiving’ casting director watching, really hone your skills, develop mind/body & spirit, and if you are not having fun or are not truly inspired, re-evaluate.
If an actor wanted to get in your “good books”, what is the best thing they can send you?
Initially, to be in my “good books”, I wanted to be intrigued by their photo, it really has to capture their spirit on a good day! I say that because a peeve of mine, is the ‘angst ridden, killed in a past tragic life’, pose. Show me your character, smile. Include a resume. And be creative with the cover letter.
Address it to me personally. “Spoon feed me”, tell me about your range of characters, your goals as an actor. Once on board with my company, I trust that my talent will do their best to make us all look good, and create success with the ‘right’ project for them. I am impressed with an actor who stays fresh/keen, reviews how they could of done it better, and strives to improve their audition room skills.
Which actor do you admire most and why?
The actor I admire most would be, John Turturro ( check out imdb.com for his filmographies). I would see anything with him it. He is a brilliant character actor. He also writes & has directed some of his own scripts. The runners up are Stanley Tucci & Parker Posey.
Must see movies for actors?
I choose these specifically, because they are all about being a actor and quite illuminating. “A Midwinter’s Tale”, “Waiting for Guffman”, “Withnail & I”, “Girl 6”, and “Illuminata”, all available at Videomatica
If there was one thing about this industry that you could change, what would it be?
The general lack of respect for actors. The industry is based on a system of hierarchy, most in it are lovely & supportive, but there can be power misused and that, fueled with loads of ego, makes for a volatile mix. I think, that some agents & casting directors forget that we are only as good as the local talent. I hear horror stories from actors constantly, and I feel it is criminal to demean somebody, especially when they are putting themselves on the line creatively for you.
If the local film industry was like “Survivor”, who would you vote out and why?
The industry is like ‘Survivor’, those who should be voted off, either disqualify themselves quite naturally, or they stick it out and harden into an industry survivor.
Do you have any interesting or funny stories you’d like to share with us?
I am always amused by the caller who announces that he wants to be an actor, to whom I say my usual thing about what to mail, and then they say “well they have no specific acting experience, but they were the lead in a production in grade 8, they act every day on the job as sales person, and how hard could it be to deliver a line or two, it’s like faking or pretending-right?” I wonder if the same people call up a doctor’s office, inquiring about work as a Doctor on the premise that they sort of dress like a doctor, and they watch ER faithfully.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell the local acting community?
Good luck, and feel free to call me if you have any questions.