This week on Casting Frontier’s seventh episode, part two of The Curve, Burgandi and Govind continue chatting with the inspiring Stuart K. Robinson, CEO of BBR Talent. Robinson insists actors have “only two things” they should be doing with their time, he shares valuable insights into how agents think, and he speaks about acting in the advertising business.

The Acting Business vs. the Advertising Business

Among the performers who approach him about their careers, Robinson notices a common theme: Too many actors don’t understand the business aspect of acting. He says:

“If you’re a commercial actor, you’re not in the ‘acting’ business; you’re in the ‘advertising’ business. So if you don’t really know much about the advertising business and how it works and why they make the decisions that they make, how are you going to go into that room and answer their needs?”

He gives the example of long lines of actors, each of whom are asked to exclaim, “Mmm! This is delicious!” Robinson asks, “If you’re thinking you’re going to go into that room and give the best reading … how would that happen?” Casting and advertisers seek actors who are going to make viewers feel and think a certain way while watching the commercial as well as appeal to the masses. Robinson says, “When you have a greater understanding of that, you’ll make some choices about what you’re doing in this moment.”

Show your agent your earning potential

Robinson also speaks straightforwardly about the way agents regard talent. Making money is essential to any kind of business, and the same goes for the agent-actor relationship. If agents don’t see a way to profit off an actor, they’ll pass on him or her and instead bank on the talent who they perceive as having earning potential. So it’s essential for actors to demonstrate their ability to earn money. For starters, actors who say their type is the “surfer dude,” the “girl next door,” or the “first responder,” must have headshots demonstrating they fit that category. Actors must make it easy for their agent to see the roles they can convincingly fill.

The “Only Two Things” Actors Want to Be Doing

Robinson insists there are only two areas where actors should place their efforts. Firstly, instead of compiling reels that reveal “evidence of what you’ve been able to achieve,” he says to instead assemble “evidence of your greatness.” He asks, “What is the piece of work that I need to see you doing?” Once actors figure out what exactly makes them great, they can then create a one-minute 20-second reel showcasing those talents. “All the time, every day, tomorrow, you need to be looking at what you have and say, ‘How can I improve this? How can I find that magical stuff?’”

The second area actors need to place their time, Robinson insists, is learning how to work a room. He actually encourages actors to spend less time taking acting courses and instead use their resources building this important ability. Individuals who can work a room are at a distinct advantage. Robinson says, “As a casting director or an agency owner, I don’t know how talented you are. I only know how I feel. So when you come to me … it’s only how you make me feel.”

Robinson is a man of many hats: He’s an actor, composer, author, director, producer, career coach, motivational speaker, CEO,  and he’s widely regarded as one of the top professional acting instructors in Hollywood via the Robinson Creative Lab Actor’s Studio. And he wrote the self-help book It All Begins with “I”: The “New Rules of Thinking” and the Simple Secrets to Living a Rich, Joyous and Fulfilled Life.

Casting Frontier’s YouTube series The Curve is hosted by Burgandi Phoenix and Govind Kumar. Make sure to check out episode eight next week for more valuable tips from industry insiders.

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