Actor Beware! – Another Bad Apple Manager?

[UPDATE 5/11: The talent management company in question has since removed from the company website the quoted material below. Screen shots of the content taken 4/30/15 before the content’s removal follow the excised quotes.]

Cain Talent based in Long Island, NY states on their website that they’ll represent anyone…

“Who We Work With.

Anyone. Literally. We work with all ages, shapes, sizes, genders, ethnicities and so on. Just register and we will help you get started. It doesn’t matter if you have no experience at all, or if you’re a seasoned veteran…”

(4/30/15 screen shot)

Cain Talent’s target actor is preferably under the age of 18. While a seemingly wonderful opportunity for any mother who wishes her darling prodigy to be the next Disney Channel star Cain Talent will work with anyone but only after an upfront fee has been paid by the parent or actor as declared on Cain’s website:

“Before registering with Cain Talent, you must agree to the following terms…

You will pay a non-refundable registration fee in one of three ways. If you choose an installment plan, you will still be submitted for work immediately, but we will stop if you miss a payment. Your options are:

  1. a) $500 lump sum payment
  2. b)  $530 split in two payments of $265 now and $265 in four (4) weeks
  3. c) $560 split in four payments of $140 now and three payments of $140 every three (3) weeks for three (3) installments.”

(4/30/15 screen shot)

The starry-eyed may feel well looked after after handing over the upfront payment for representation. But that care by Cain Talent has a financial limit:

“You will remit 10% of all earnings obtained through Cain Talent after earning $750. You must notify Cain Talent of what your earnings are immediately upon receiving your check.”

(4/30/15 screen shot)

Cain Talent goes to great lengths stating in all caps that they are:

“CAIN TALENT IS A TALENT MANAGEMENT AND CONSULTATION COMPANY. WE ARE NOT A TALENT AGENCY. YOU SHOULD NEVER PAY MONEY TO SIGN ON WITH A TALENT AGENCY. CAIN CASTING IS NOT A TALENT AGENCY. WE ARE VERY DIFFERENT FROM A TALENT AGENCY.”

(4/30/15 screen shot)

Yes, Cain Talent is very different: if only by one word “agency.” Operated by Candice Cain (owner also of Candy Cain Travel and the defunct Wedding Lane by Candy Cain), Ms. Cain states on the Cain Talent website that they work the same as a talent agency:

“We open doors to casting directors, talent agents and more in order to help our talent land jobs.”

(4/30/15 screen shot)

Not only does Ms. Cain assert she can open doors for talent but she attests she can also assist in her talent in opening their wallets:

“We offer majorly discounted workshops and photo shoots specifically for our talent — To the tune of a mere $20 or $30, all of which are optional. We look out for our talent. We protect them. We help them grow. We make their dreams come true. Take a look at our list of services:

Resume services
Image building
Online profile maintenance
Coaching
Audition preparation
Discounted workshops
Discounted photo shoots
Representation
Introductions to agencies
Liaison between talent and casting directors
Contract negotiations
Assistance with SAG-AFTRA
Submissions for work in the entertainment industry
Travel planning

…And a whole lot more”

(4/30/15 screen shot)

Ms. Cain’s enthusiasm for her services may be of such excitement that she overlooked that the upfront fee of $500 (more if on the installment plan) plus the “mere $20 – $30.” for “Representation” and “Submissions for work in the entertainment industry” potentially violates New York ACA. LAW § 37.07 : NY Code – Section 37.07: Performing artists; ads for availability of employment. The code clearly states:

  1. It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, corporation, association, or agent or employee thereof, holding itself out to the public by any designation indicating a connection with show business including, but not limited to, talent agent, talent scout, personal manager, artist manager, impresario, casting director, public relations advisor or consultant, promotion advisor or consultant, to (a) Make, publish, disseminate, circulate or place before the public or cause directly or indirectly to be made, published, disseminated, circulated or placed before the public in this state an advertisement, solicitation, announcement, notice or statement which represents that such person, firm, corporation or association has employment available or is able to secure any employment in the field of show business, including, but not limited to, theatre, motion pictures, radio, television, phonograph records, commercials, opera, concerts, dance, modeling or any other entertainments, exhibitions or performances when an advance fee of any nature is a condition to such employment; or (b) Accept from a member of the public any fee, retainer, salary, advance payment or other compensation of any nature in return for services or otherwise, other than (i) repayment for advances or expenses actually incurred for or on behalf of such member of the public, or (ii) agreed commissions, royalties or similar compensation based upon payments received by or on behalf of such member of the public as a result of his employment in the field of show business.”

Ms. Cain emphatically states on her company’s WIX website that Cain Talent is: “NOT a casting agency nor a management company. Cain Talent is a talent management and consultation company.”

Ms. Cain need refer to Merriam-Webster for the definition of ‘management’ when she herself states that Cain Talent is not a management company but in the following sentence states Cain Talent manages talent.

Ms. Cain’s misunderstanding of the English language is further taxed when on her website in the Registration Terms she states:

“You will also receive a written agreement to sign, which Cain Talent will sign and return to you.  NOTE: THIS IS NOT A CONTRACT. THIS IS A TALENT AGREEMENT.”

(4/30/15 screen shot)

Perhaps Ms. Cain should reference a thesaurus for when she next updates her website which carries advertisements for creating a free WIX website.

Ms. Cain also places on her website her reasoning for creating Cain Talent. A former actress who she herself sought a “leg-up” in the industry. Answers for Actors could not find attributable acting credits on Actors Access (a division of Breakdown Services the predominate outlet for casting information between representation and casting) or elsewhere. Ms. Cain also states that she has access to “breakdowns and casting calls that not everyone has the opportunity to get.” Breakdown Services reports that Cain Talent is not a subscriber. How is Cain Talent getting Breakdowns?

Cain Talent targets the parents of aspiring child actors. Image2Youth who dream that they will be in the spotlight on Nickelodeon or The Disney Channel. Sadly both parent and child may be disappointed to discover that for their $500 “registration fee” and commissions, Ms. Cain most likely provides toll access for being a background actor (of which Cain Talent charges an additional $50 per month “Background Casting Service“). Ms. Cain lists her connections to major industry players but those players are extras casting offices. Screen work any civilian can nab on their own if their body type, face, race, and age match what is needed by an assistant director for the silent actors playing background to the principal actors. An exercise that we all do daily for free in our lives as we walk sidewalks, mall corridors, and the aisles of retail stores.

Ms. Cain may believe herself not to be a representative of talent but her words formerly on the Cain Talent website seemingly state differently; why then the change of content for her services to actors? (4/30/15 screen shot)

Address concerns regarding Cain Talent to: The New York State Attorney General.

[UPDATE 5/11/15: Cain Talent has a new website on which is now stated “Cain Talent Management does not charge a fee as a talent manager. There is no registration fee. Those on our talent roster remit 10% of their gross earnings once their check from production is received.”

The $500 registration fee remains payable for “Consultation Services.” A service which is prohibited in the New York code: “…indicating a connection with show business including, but not limited to, talent agent, talent scout, personal manager, artist manager, impresario, casting director, public relations advisor or consultant, promotion advisor or consultant,…”]

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Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Elon and Wright State University. He is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit www.PaulRussell.net.

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ACTING: Make It Your Business

Actor Email Addresses

This week: Actor Email Addresses Used in Addressing Entertainment Professionals

The pre-pubescent use of sexually suggestive, “personality expressive”, childish monikers misused and abused in e-mail addresses utilized for business correspondence has got to stop. Now. If you’ve read my book you know that I stress “this industry is all about image, image, image…” That’s not a mirror mantra for the narcissistic. It’s a reality of the entertainment industry.

Often as I go through the actor mail (hard copy and digital) I groan or sigh heavily in disbelief as I come across actors seeking professional work from a casting person or representation by an agent while utilizing e-mail addresses that are in no way professional.

Below is just a small sampling from the saturation of sophomoric e-mail addresses that I’ve found on actor resumes or spammed to my in-box. In order to spare these fools of flippant font further shame and protect the sillies from spam; the servers (Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc) have been removed.

dirtyprettyone2000 (The video prequel to nastynaughtyone2001?)

chinkychinese (Does this person have a severe case of self-loathing or are they utilizing  the addy as a dating advert to rice queens?)

AnnoyinActress

swishyfishy

foolishactor (Yes. Your e-mail address proves the message.)

instantactor (Just add bottled water!)

danceweasel (Shirtless, twitching twinks-with-drinks in hand comes to mind.)

puzled.one (If you can’t spell “puzzled”; yes… indeed, you are “puzled”.)

Grahammy_poo (Let’s not even envision to where this double entendre could lead.)

And….

pussylvr

Really? Are these people kidding or are they just insane, myopic morons? This is a business folks. A profession. If the e-mail address in use for your professional correspondence resembles a fifth grader’s ha-ha quotient (i.e. fart jokes and school yard nicknames) then I and others who hire will not take you seriously. Seriously.

For any professional, electronic correspondence an actor’s e-mail address should include the performer’s name or part of it. Such as:

NormaDesmond@whatever.com

N.Desmond@whatever.com

Norma_D@whatever.com

“IngénueForLife”, “MyManMax” or “IamBig” would not be appropriate, professional, e-mail address monikers for Ms. Desmond. (And if you’re wondering who Norma Desmond is… please hand in your acting and/or gay card. Now.)

Keep the silly and inane e-mail addys for friends and family who may be more forgiving than a business contact. Leverage your electronic loony-ness with them. Put a professional, digital image to your e-mail address when addressing professionals. Got it danceweasel? Good.

‘Nuff said.

AMIYB_AmazonRead advice from legendary talent agents,
plus Hollywood & Broadway actors in Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book ACTING: Make It Your Business!

Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Temple and the University of the Arts. He writes a column for Back Stage and is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit www.PaulRussell.net.

 

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Actors – How Not to Fail an Audition

Paul Russell
Visit Paul @ PaulRussell.net

We all make mistakes.

I’ve made plenty (even here openly on this intermesh thing).

After three decades of working with, and for actors, I’m still surprised by the career destroying fuck-ups that some actors will willingly and without-thought-to-consequences do with what little gray matter may pulse within in their cranium.

This week as I was sitting at a talent agency I witnessed a first-rate screw-up by an actor that jeopardized his relationship with a Broadway casting office, director, producer and agent all in one simultaneous, mind-blowing shoot-themselves-in-the-career crash. It also made me never want to work with the actor as well.

For this exercise we’ll tag him as Actor-Withholding-On-Logic; a.k.a. A.W.O.L.

A.W.O.L. dumped his agent, via a weekend e-mail missive, for he felt that his life was quote “boring” and he needed a change (no, that’s not the main mistake for my mussing here, although being bored and leaving your agent because the Prozac dosage is no longer controlling the mood swings could be considered a career careening crash).

As I was chatting in the talent agent’s office a call came from another casting director’s office (one that I once worked at). The casting director, along with a well-known director, choreographer and several producers were sitting curious at a casting session for an upcoming Broadway production. They were left waiting for an actor who had not shown up to his scheduled appointment for a leading role within the production. The M.I.A. actor? A.W.O.L.

A.W.O.L.’s former agent got off the phone with the now irritated casting director and called A.W.O.L. to ask why he had not shown up to the appointment he confirmed to attend. He had gotten the audition appointment via his agent well before trashing said talent rep. A.W.O.L. informed his former champion that he felt he no longer had to attend the audition because he had just left the agency. Excuse me?!?

So here was an unemployed actor who had just dumped his agent while also dumping upon a casting office and a production team for Broadway. Can someone explain to me, especially in this economic climate why such arrogance (and obvious ignorance) exists? Wait, I may have answered my question; arrogance and ignorance are close cousins.

BookMoreWork_TelseyQuoteWhat’s the moral here? No matter what your relationship with your representation, an actor is to keep their commitment to confirmed audition appointments. And not only audition appointments but also commitments to commissions on projects that your representation helped get you seen for and negotiated the contract(s). One of the few pardonable excuses on making a pass on a confirmed audition is passing, literally, as in six feet under or oven-ash time. Even then you’ll need a doctor’s written note.

Be considerate of others. Don’t become known as problematic. The number of people working in this industry is very small. We talk. We share stories. Don’t become a story that you would not want to be a part of.

My best,
Paul

AMIYB_AmazonRead advice from legendary talent agents,
plus Hollywood & Broadway actors in Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book ACTING: Make It Your Business!

Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Temple and the University of the Arts. He writes a column for Back Stage and is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit www.PaulRussell.net.

 

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