The entertainment industry consists of talented and creative people in front of the camera, behind the camera, on stage and behind the stage. Today we go BTS (Behind The Scenes) to shine the spotlight on Lissa Lloyd (Agent/President of Lloyd Talent).
Lloyd Talent is a Licenced B.C. Agency, has operated since 1995 and represents talent for assignments in film, television, commercials, voice-over and print.
WHAT WAS YOUR JOURNEY TO BECOMING AN AGENT?
My passion has always been music and I was involved in musical theatre, live musical performance and studied voice, piano and flute with the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto starting at age six. While studying under wonderful coaches and teachers I also excelled in athletics and academically, and especially love team sports. My education continued at university in Vancouver and I fell in love with business, leading to a Degree in Business with minors in Music, Education and English. My love of both individual and team sports continues in currently being a competitive rower and distance runner.
The education and experiences in school, with music and competitive sports have provided me with the skills needed to be able to manage and navigate through the artistic side of our successful actor careers and to manage the business side of a talent’s career, in addition to the full-time operation of the business of an agency. I feel this combination has been perfect for me.
I opened Lloyd Talent in 1989 with my partner Thomas Gusway. We had both started in international model management and then opened the acting division of Lloyd Talent. The experience and knowledge of international management and business also provided an excellent base to operate a successful talent agency in the Vancouver market as Lloyd Talent Agency, and in Los Angeles as Lloyd Talent Management.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES ASSOCIATED WITH BEING AN AGENT AND RUNNING AN AGENCY?
An agency is a business and needs to function in all aspects as such but this is an industry like no other. We are challenged daily with finding the balance of managing people and their careers on both a personal level and a business level, and still continuing to be a leading and highly respected agency. We care and truly invest in the lives we touch so it’s hard to turn off the long days and hours required to achieve the best and high standards we strive for each day.
New and everchanging technology, social and new media demands means we have to learn to keep up with trends, yet still maintain old school values. And let’s not forget this is a very competitive industry so the competitive aspect alone keeps us on our toes and forever pushing our actors to excel.
Much of our success as a team with our actors is based on relationships. These need to be forged and nurtured which takes consistent hard work, time and excellent communication and organizational skills. It is also important to stay on top of connecting daily with those who are involved in the process such as producers, directors, casting directors, coaches, publicists, industry executives, studios and networks, etc. This is a busy industry and very hectic so you need to have a balance in your personal life with downtime to be able to function well, keep a cool and open mind and continue to have the stamina needed for a long term career.
This is a very social industry and we also need to attend functions, theatre performances for our actors, showcases to find new faces and volunteer our time to teach, keynote speak and to judge at industry events, with all of these activities demanding a great deal of time.
WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN NEW TALENT?
Successful actors need to have the “IT” factor! Yes it exists and the actor either has it or not. The IT factor cannot be articulated but after being in the industry for so long you develop acute instincts for choosing the right people and fit for us and for the industry overall. Also it’s imperative actors have drive, passion and strong work ethics, good communication and people skills and values to include loyalty, honesty and team spirit, patience, long term thinking and are easy to work with on a day to day basis. A successful career takes many, many years to build. Actors need to trust the team and trust the process.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE THAT PERFORMERS MAKE WHEN SUBMITTING TO YOU FOR REPRESENTATION? (OR MISTAKES PERFORMERS MAKE IN THE TALENT/AGENT RELATIONSHIP)
Omissions of materials…not including a recent headshot, an updated resume and a video attached to the submission. Agents need all of these materials to consider representing an actor. Video is so important. If an actor does not have a current demo reel then two contrasting scenes will work. All of these materials will always be needed for the internet based industry sites as well.
Spell the agent’s name correctly and the cover letter needs to be directed to the correct agency…not kidding. Always be well prepared for the audition process, don’t cancel at the last minute and never be a no-show.
Mistakes actors make in talent/agent relationship? Success is a team effort, the agent shares their relationships and skills with the actor, but agents are not administrative assistants. Be respectful of our downtime. Actors must keep up to date on all industry internet sites, headshots, resumes, training and build relationships whenever possible. Actors need to be in class, focus on their craft, let agents know as far in advance as possible when not available, and answer quickly to agents with confirmations of auditions, be prepared and don’t be late. Give your agent a Christmas gift at Christmas! seriously, it’s a small gesture that goes a long way.
HOW IMPORTANT ARE DEMO REELS?
Demo reels are incredibly important. Actors in the first stages of development should focus on good quality, independent film projects that can provide footage in lead roles to add to the demo.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING TALENT (OR THE PARENTS OF KIDS-IN-THE-BIZ)?
Find a good training facility with coaches you can trust, work on your on camera skills, forge good relationships you can depend on later for coaching. Work on increasing special skills. You never know when you might book something because you have martial arts ability for example or can play an instrument or speak several languages and have good skill in mastering accents that make sense to the nationality you can play. Create your own on-camera work, produce short films, have an active Youtube channel you contribute to weekly.
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON PERFORMERS WHO PROMOTE THEMSELVES USING SOCIAL MEDIA?
Social media in now a valuable and necessary tool for an acting career. However, the actor needs to make good decisions on content and keeping personal away from professional.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION OF AN AGENT’S ROLE?
The biggest are really three misconceptions…agents can create work automatically, agents get actors in the room and agents push certain actors ahead of others. Agents want their actors to work, but the ultimate decision in not in the control of the agent.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE CHANGE WITHIN THE CANADIAN ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY? (WHAT DO YOU THINK THE INDUSTRY CAN DO DIFFERENTLY IN ORDER TO GROW?)
A simple answer…equal opportunity for all large and lead roles and series leads.
WE ALL HAVE MENTORS … THE PEOPLE WHO GIVE US HOPE, INSPIRATION AND THE DRIVE TO KEEP GOING …IN THIS INDUSTRY, WHO ARE YOUR MENTORS AND WHY?
My most influential mentor has been my business partner Tom Gusway. I am so grateful for his sense of humor, intelligence, massive heart and gentle soul. As well my parents have given me tremendous values, morals and ethics by which are my daily guidelines to making tough decisions. My parents also provided excellent education and extracurricular activities and opportunities through my formative years that shaped my thinking, attitudes and business practices, and also how to earn respect and how to appreciate, enjoy and share success.
LLOYD TALENT LINKS:
IMDB PRO: https://pro.imdb.com/company/co0086257/
HOW TO SUBMIT TO LLOYD TALENT AGENCY
CLICK HERE FOR SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS