Do you have a realistic attitude when it comes to your acting career?

On her downtime, Hollywood talent manager Wendy Alane Wright likes to teach actors how to land jobs in TV, film, commercials, and print through her Youtube channel. With years of industry experience, Wright has authored seven books including Secrets of a Hollywood Talent Manager in which she emphasizes the business end of show business. Besides seeking performers with exceptional abilities, Wright insists agents and managers specifically want talent with realistic expectations.

During first interviews with potential clients, Wright says reps pay close attention to the way actors talk. “Is it realistic? Do you have reasonable expectations?” she asks. Wright is not impressed by convictions such as, “I know I’m going to succeed in this business.” After all, she argues, “Nobody can promise that they’re going to get hired or booked in this business. So when you start talking things like that, we know you’re not dealing with reality. We want to hear actors who understand the business and who are dealing with reality.”

So, what kinds of words reveal an actor is down-to-earth? Wright spells it out rather clearly:

“‘I’m training really hard, I’m doing everything I can to get my own work. Short films, student films, web series–I’m constantly submitting myself. I work really hard to make relationships with casting directors. And as I do workshops, I’ll let you know who I develop relationships with. I’m looking for an agent to work with as a partner. I’m going to show up and do my part. And I would really love to work for your agency.’”

But most importantly, Wright is adamant, actors must back up those words with action!

Agents love the challenge of finding promising actors and helping them to be seen by casting directors and watching them grow over time. The joy they feel when telling their clients they landed a gig can’t be beat. But Wright warns, once actors land an agent, they need to make the most of the opportunity rather than take it for granted. They must do their part. Showing up late for auditions, not being available or prepared, or exhibiting a less-than-professional attitude with individuals in the industry does not fare well. Because an actor’s success is an agent’s success, she urges talent to listen to their agent’s advice whether it be to attain new headshots, update their demo reel, be punctual, exhibit a consistently positive attitude, broaden their skills, or edit their social media to present themselves more professionally in both words and photos. While all of this might sound like common sense, Wright and other representatives are all too familiar with actors who say one thing but do not follow through with actions for one reason or another.

Reps don’t enjoy dropping their clients, but sometimes the relationship just isn’t working. “We drop people all year long because people demonstrate who they are by their actions,” Wright says. As agents have a lot of clients, competition can be ruthless. And while more productions are being made than ever, more actors than ever are competing for those roles. Therefore, it’s important for actors to take care of the business end to ensure they remain in the game and so they can focus on their creativity.

It’s true, some actors seemingly waltz into the industry. Teenaged Rosario Dawson was discovered while sitting on the stoop of an apartment building and landed the part of Ruby in Kids which served as her breakthrough role; Black Swan actress Natalie Portman was discovered at a pizza parlor; Charlize Theron caught the eye of a talent manager while she was arguing with a bank teller. It would be terrific if every actor was so lucky. But striving and growing and refining all aspects of your game over time is a great way to go too.

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