• TWC Weather
  • CNN News
  • Kathryn
  • Contact Kathryn
  • Kathryn's Korner

    Progressive Artists Agency and a Photo Shoot

    When I was living in Los Angeles, I tried doggedly to get the Progressive Artists Agency to represent me. I can’t remember the guy’s name, but I sent a picture and resume in hopes that would be enough of an in to get me an interview.

    I had done this hundreds of times as any actor trying to get an agent does. There is a small coveted green paper-back book called the Ross Reports. This dynamo magazine had every agent in town listed along with their address and phone numbers.

    The first step is finding a photographer to shoot professional head shots for you. I used a girl named Erin Flynn. Some friends had great pictures made by her and referred me to her.

    So I went in for the shoot. She asked me to bring music that I really liked to relax me and I brought in some James Taylor.

    Before going to the shoot, I had to get professionally made up. A friend of mine did it for me because I couldn’t afford a professional make-up artist and I didn’t really know anyone to do it anyway.

    Next came meeting with Erin in her studio and setting up lighting for each shot. Erin and I talked in great detail about the kind of picture I wanted in terms of how I wanted to portray myself. I wasn’t interested in looking for “glam” shots. More, I wanted a down-to-earth, “real” looking pictures.

    Getting to achieve this is very difficult when you are in front of lights and a camera.  After the shoot, you get what’s called a “contact sheet” which has all the photographs on one long continuous piece of photo paper.

    Upon selecting a picture, I went to a photo reproduction place where I could choose the font and placement of my name on the head shot.

    This all cost a lot of money, so I cut corners wherever I could.

    Finally a box of 100 to 200 pictures came in the mail and then begins the process of attaching a theatrical resume to the back and mailing them to potential agents and or producers.

    You didn’t include a cover letter, as the picture and resume spoke for itself.

    I was delighted when Progressive Artists Agency phoned my after receiving my packet. They were a very reputable agency and known for taking on unknowns.

    Bottom line was, I met with a guy who talked in pretty great detail about my career goals and I really thought he was going to take me on as a client.

    But as with so many interviews, this one went nowhere.

    I was just one of hundreds of nameless-faceless interviews he had and sadly he didn’t take me on as a client. I had no real explanation. Unfortunately that was the norm for out there.

    In comparison, when a singer tries out for American Idol, they are given immediate feedback, which is something I really missed when I lived in L.A. There were a lot of smiles and “Thank yous” without any real response that would be helpful-no constructive criticism or any idea what to do differently.

    Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com