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 Stephanie Porter (Agent/President of The Porter Group Talent Agency)
The Porter Group represents actors for Commercials, Film, Television, Theatre and Commercial Print. The agency does not represent actors for background work.
1. WHAT WAS YOUR JOURNEY TO BECOMING AN AGENT?
My journey was a complete fluke. I was 25 and arrived back in Canada from traveling. I needed a job and I found an ad for a PT talent agent assistant in the paper. Which is almost unheard of as most job postings are internal. From there, it blossomed into the career that I have today.
2. WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES ASSOCIATED WITH BEING AN AGENT (OR RUNNING AN AGENCY)?
My biggest challenge (and frustration) is knowing that I have some really solid actors on the roster that are often overlooked over the regular favorites that casting directors have. Every single actor’s end goal is film and TV and that is the hardest category to crack. Most actors will never make it and it would help if casting directors could be a little more open to new talent. Even an audition for a 2 line role is a challenge to get.
3. WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN NEW TALENT?
It’s hard to say. It depends on a few factors. One is that “it” factor that is difficult to describe. Other times, it’s a specific look or ethnicity that I need.
4. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE THAT PERFORMERS MAKE WHEN SUBMITTING TO YOU FOR REPRESENTATION? (OR THE BIGGEST MISTAKE PERFORMERS MAKE IN THE TALENT/AGENT RELATIONSHIP)
I would say that emailing me a selfie as a headshot or some other unflattering picture is a no-no. Sometimes a resume isn’t sent either. That’s an automatic delete into my trash folder.
5. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR TALENT TO HAVE A DEMO-REEL (WHEN SUBMITTING TO YOU FOR REPRESENTATION OR WHEN YOU ARE SUBMITTING THEM TO CASTING DIRECTORS)?
Demo reels are really important as it gives the CD and agents the chance to see you in actions. Which is something that a head shot can’t do. That said, it isn’t mandatory. Getting the right material for a demo reel takes time so it’s understandable if an actor doesn’t yet have one.
6. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING TALENT (OR THE PARENTS OF KIDS-IN-THE-BIZ)?
Be patient! That old cliche of “nothing happens overnight” applies.
7. WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON PERFORMERS WHO PROMOTE THEMSELVES USING SOCIAL MEDIA?
I think social media is great. The landscape has changed dramatically and social media is a great tool to market one’s self.
8. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION OF AN AGENT’S ROLE?
The biggest misconception is that agents create the roles. That isn’t the case. We only respond to the roles that are released from the casting director. Agents literally have no control over what is being cast. I’d like to add my biggest pet peeve as it sort of piggy backs off of this question. The one question that is slightly annoying is “are there any auditions coming up soon?”. That question requires agents to tell the future. The honest answer is that I honestly don’t know; and the reason why I don’t know is because I have no idea what roles are being released tomorrow, the day after or next week.
9. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE CHANGE WITHIN THE CANADIAN ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY?
Ha! Money. The Canadian industry doesn’t have the amount of money that the American industry does. I think that holds us back tremendously.
10. WE ALL HAVE MENTORS … THE PEOPLE WHO GIVE US HOPE, INSPIRATION AND THE DRIVE TO KEEP GOING … WHO ARE YOUR MENTORS AND WHY?
I don’t have any mentors. I just kinda do what I do and do it to the best of my abilities.
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(Please note – The Porter Group does NOT represent background talent)
FOLLOW STEPHANIE ON SOCIAL MEDIA