How To Treat Acting Like A Business–And Find A Team That Will Help You Succeed
By Meeta Vengapally
I’m an entrepreneur and “momager” of two amazing and talented kids. Now that I’m living the L.A. lifestyle, I’ve found there’s a lot to learn about the ins and outs of the entertainment industry. Luckily, coming from the startup world means that I am well equipped to take on this journey head-on and can share some hard-earned lessons that I’ve learned over the years.
In the performing arts, as in business, you need to find the right team. Instead of asking how to take your career to new heights, ask who can help you get there. Actors require agents and managers, and these professionals can make or break any career, just like your business team can make or break your business.
Your Team Should Believe in You
Finding people to represent you in the performing arts is not just about signing with someone, it’s about finding that individual who is going to be there for you, believe in you, and at the end of the day, be obsessed with getting you booked. Let’s look at this from a business angle. If you’re an entrepreneur selling a product, you’re probably asking yourself how you’re going to reach your sales goals. But the question isn’t how, it’s who is going to do it for you and do they believe in the product enough to sell with conviction?
An agent or manager should always have you on their radar. You should be in the back of their mind whenever breakdowns come onto their computer. If you’re with an agency so big that you or your child’s face are just a passing thought, you haven’t found your team. You haven’t found the person that believes in you so much they’re willing to do the work.
Your Team Should Work Just as Hard as You Do
If you’re working hard and your agent or manager believes in you, but they aren’t doing the work, you haven’t found your team. If you’re putting in the work for the career of your dreams, the right team should work just as hard as you or harder.
In the business sector, I’ve seen employees who believe in the business, enjoy their team, and are good people, but their work ethic isn’t where it should be. Sadly, you don’t want this person on your team, even if you like them. In the entertainment industry, it can be hard to turn down representation. Maybe you’ve had the same agent for years and you have a rapport, but if they’re just not putting in the work to help you book jobs, you have the wrong team member.
Have the courage to turn down any representation or mentor who is not working hard for you. It’s stalling your career. Pick individuals that believe in your talent, lift you up, and put in the hard work to get you where you want to be. This relationship should be mutually beneficial after all, so if representation isn’t putting in the work, it’s a huge red flag.
Your Team Should Know Their Game
This seems like a no-brainer, but your agent or manager might believe in you, work hard, and at the end of the day, not have the industry savvy that is required.
As in any business, you need to find team members who know the game and can guide you with wisdom. Matt Ilczuk, who heads the talent management company Entertainment Lab with cofounder Sean Dubravac, says, “We observe industry trends, learn which types of actors sell and which don’t, and then seek out the “sellable” types in showcases, events and even out on the street.” Hollywood can be a daunting place and if you’re just starting out, there are a lot of things to learn. Instead of asking yourself how to succeed in the game, ask yourself who has the experience to take you there faster.
This is the same for all aspects of the entertainment industry. Acting coaches, PR people, and even consultants will fast-track you where you want to go because they have precious knowledge that you don’t. Ask yourself, does everyone on your team have the experience and skills to take you where you want to go?
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Does Your Team Have a Vision?
Vision is the secret ingredient you want on your team. A3 Artists Agency Chairman Adam Bold says, “In the entertainment business, we have the power to affect society. People are affected by what they see on television, movies, YouTube, and Instagram. By giving a voice and putting incredibly wonderful talented people out there who are different, yet special and incredible artists, I think we’re making a difference.”
As a mother of children of color, this makes me glow. Can you imagine having someone like this on your team—someone with an amazing vision for what the entertainment industry could be? This is, pardon the pun, bold vision at its finest.
Be the CEO of Your Own Acting Business
Talent manager and acting coach Wendy Alane Wright puts it this way: “…as an actor, you are the owner & CEO of your own business. Either you have a business plan to succeed or you have a plan to fail.”
If you’re a dynamic young performer with artistry, passion, and work ethic, you can’t get there alone. You are your own business, and your business thrives with team members who believe in you, put in the work, know the industry, and have a dynamic vision for your future and the future of Hollywood.
Find the teachers, mentors, representation, and collaborators who take you to the next level. You’re worth it as a performer. As your own CEO, you need to find the employees who make a difference.
About the Author
Meeta Vengapally is founder and CEO of Garnysh and a Top Influencer on social media, where she is a spokesperson for over 700 brands. Follow Meeta on Instagram, read her profile on Forbes, and see her articles and full bio at AllBusiness.com.