When I began working for the talent agency about five years ago, gathering a team was a challenge. There was a high turnover rate. It is not easy working from home or doing freelance work. You must to be motivated and determined. You cannot afford to passive, otherwise you will not make money. The entertainment business is a challenge to break ground, but once you create a solid foundation, it is a rewarding.
I started hiring people that I met from Algonquin College. They were determined with great work ethic, but lacked closing sales. Unfortunately, those promising individuals contact tapered off, and then appeared to fall off the face of the earth.
Luckily, Rivers and Lauren came on board my team.
Rivers is a well known local actress in town and helps me with admin work and the website. We have become very good friends over the years. I think our first interview was at Buster’s Bar and Grill in Britannia. She would talk so passionately about her dreams, and would love to help in any way with the agency. I snatched her up. She has been training extremely hard over the years and went from zero experience, to working with Christopher Plummer artistically. You may say that it is luck but it really is not. There is a lot of hard work involved. She never regrets an audition. One of my favorite moments is that I had her on call one weekend as I went up to a cottage with no reception. Typically, no one will get an audition on the weekend; however, that weekend we had eight audition calls. I instructed Joyce, trying to reach a signal by tip-toe at the edge of dock to get reception. I was surprised I did not lose my phone.
Although Lauren has moved on, she is a very good communicator. She could talk a casting director and convince them into seeing an actor. It was amazing. I also tasked to her many calls that I did not want to handle because she is a skilled sweet talker. Lauren did some amazing work and recruited some fabulous talent. I met Lauren when I was twelve in our grade seven orientation. She could not stop talking and neither could I. We were kindred spirits, and continue to be good friends today.
As my company began to grow and become more successful, my significant other at the time decided to quit his job and work for me. It did not work out as the greatest idea. But how could I say no? Just remember, being an agent is all about commission and if you are not good at sales, you will not bring in any money. I decided to put him in charge of sales; I should not have made that call because many of you know I am the ‘talker’. Perhaps I overstated how much money to anticipate coming into the business. Eventually he had to find another job, which I helped him find. I supported him by helping him find something that he loved, becoming a train conductor. We were relocated to northern British Columbia, Fort St. John which was unexpected but we looked at it as an adventure.
As I cringed on the idea of leaving, I know I am lucky that most of my work I can do from home. I packed up my bags, and prepared myself to live six hours from the Yukon. Who could run the operations in Ottawa and how would I accomplish this challenge?
Girls weekend came along; I love my ladies and we all decided to go camp out in a Yurt in the middle of nowhere. As I was drinking wine by the fire, I met Nicole Veins. Maybe a few glasses in I was explaining my situation to her. How am I going to manage the money when I live in the middle of nowhere? To which, Nicole quickly responded, “I love doing these things!” She was hired on the spot. I could not have been more grateful for all of her work in operations. She tracks payments and schedules like you would not imagine. She may be a super human. I am so grateful to find her as we have been increasing business since she has come on!
As the chapter in Fort St. John came to an end, I met some amazing people and friends for life. It has been a happy experience in this town, but grateful to come back to my home.
I ended up in Cochrane, Alberta. Where I started to expand my business. It was a great opportunity and we ended up doing some amazing bookings for Heart Land and Hell on Wheels. It was amazing an amazing experience and loved hiking through the mountains during the weekend. As I fell for another boy I ended up moving to a farm closer to Calgary. Pretty amazing to be surround by such beauty and horses, but something was missing.
When I came back to Ottawa and went to Digi60 Film Festival, Jith Paul talked about how we made a film almost 8 years ago. I love the Ottawa film community as small as it is. I missed it greatly and missed being close to my clients. The Calgary chapter was closing and I was packing with my friend Lorina, she labeled everything and made everything organized. I said that it was too bad that I cannot keep expanding out west since I started and she said, ‘I would be interested.’ She was hired then and there. She has been amazing to work with so far (I could tell she would be with her packing skills) and I am excited to see what she will do out west. She has already started to do her open casting calls and build her roster. It seems like I hire people either moving for a relationship or moving away from one. It seems to be the trick in finding the most amazing people to work with oddly enough.
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