“To be, or not to be… Exclusive”

By Lawrence Buchér

As I embark on the recent opportunity presented to me to write for Callback News, I thought how fitting it would be to cover the events that took place this past May--a campaign from agent(s) to try (once again) exclusivity of talent representation in Nevada. This was spearheaded by Dave Brown, President of the NCTA, and owner of the Remington Agency, who is all for doing it the “Hollywood way.”  And yes, I get it.  I truly do.  I get it from all perspectives, too, as I play devil's advocate to the many back-and-forth discussions that play out, be it at a meet-up group, listening to an agent or CD, or simply over coffee at a too common coffee house, hearing an actor go on and on about what BS it is; and yes, I get the actor's point, too.

Yes, Vegas is simply a mess when it comes to casting an actor, as the actor is (generally) being submitted by all his/her agents simultaneously, and the CD is going, “What the heck?!”

However, the real question to all the ‘hoopla’ is, “why?”  Why would you (the actor) want to predispose yourself to all the craziness (multiple representation), when you should know that multiple submissions can only hurt you and never (for the most part) help?  I simply don’t have enough column space to explain it all.

Secondly, why does it come down to those with agendas (agents) forcing your hand to do something that you should be doing on your own, i.e., building alliances?  I don’t know.  Maybe the talent here truly thinks that running a splatter campaign with a ‘multiple submissions’ mentality is beneficial.  Maybe the talent in Vegas just doesn’t care.  Maybe the talent here is simply incapable of seeing that reducing oneself to being nothing other than gum thrown at a wall is neither flattering nor helpful to one's career. As an actor, you should have enough common sense to stick to an agent here with whom you have a concrete, solid relationship with--one who you can trust, who sees the Vegas market for what it is, and build from that.

On the other hand, though, why do the select few (agents) want to embark on the “exclusive” campaign? To me, this is where the true sub-text lies. Is the actor being asked to go exclusive to build alliances, or is it for those particulars to better monopolize an all too limited market? Personally, I feel it to be the latter, as the smell of agenda on this particular issue stinks to high heaven.

Let’s say, for instance, Nevada came to be the next casting location like New Mexico. Even so, we are still dealing with the bottom of the barrel in terms of the casting process, as all principle roles are done, and into the year 3000 AD (we are all dead by then), will be done in LA/NY.  Why is this so hard to comprehend?  Even if this exclusive thing does fly here, and “they” sell you the whole meat-wagon as to how this will be the biggest change ever to hit Nevada (so be it), Vegas will still only be a secondary market, people.

Vegas is not LA/NY and NEVER will be. And regardless of what the agents want to pass, or lead everyone to believe with their useless comparisons of operating like the Hollywood Houses (laughable) after such exclusivity passes (or not), will still change nothing.

… Now I feel bad.  I come out of the gates writing my first column, breaking off the unpleasantness on you, but it’s as if many here have blinders on, and I simply hate to see my fellow thespians lost and caught up in this mess.  However, if you and your agent are smart, you two will push together to get your campaign Hollywood-ready by building your reel, and utilizing what passes through Vegas for the experience.  If you’re lucky, you might even make a little bit of money.

Vegas can have wonderful opportunity, especially for an actor, since it yields such great proximity to LA.  It's only a one-hour flight or a four-hour drive.  So Vegas can be a great market to break into LA, but please, don’t be sold on the notion of Nevada having the proposed ‘Las Vegas Breakdowns,’ is some how going to re-invent the market here, cuz it ain’t gonna happen, people. Simply utilize Vegas; build alliances with other local-based talent and an agent, sparing the expense of living in LA.  And if you are that serious actor I know you are, you and your agent will keep your eye on the ball (Hollywood), and steer the course of the long, windy, and most certain bumpy road to “Tinsel Town.”

In my next column I’ll be sitting down with Sean Jackson and Mitchell Ebert of Somnium & Gorilla Suit Productions. These two definitely have their eye on the ball--a production duo who are, without question, ones to watch in the year to come. Break a leg, people. - Lawrence Buchér

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Callback News.