One of the most valuable skills a talent can possess isn’t actually talent! It’s the ability to follow directions consistently and carefully. And on average, this same skill is the detriment of 99% of the people who ever had potential and never made anything of it.
A talent will find themselves following someone else’s direction 100% of the time. It doesn’t stop with your mom or your agent! Be willing and prepared to take direction from casting assistants, production assistants, wardrobe stylists, makeup artists, camera operators, and even that intern delivering coffee to the director! Being a talent is a service-oriented business and requires a willingness to explore what the other creative (or administrative) minds envision.
Start with paperwork, for example. Talent are required to fill out paperwork almost every time they encounter the opportunity to work with someone. This paperwork is meant to be utilized by the agent, production team (an all-inclusive term for everyone on a set assisting the director/photographer), casting, the union, and even the IRS. Directions are frequently typed clearly above each space, but talent often miss them and fill out fields they were meant to leave blank (or leave spaces where they were meant to share information). If your agent doesn’t have your shoe size as requested, you may miss out on that major catalog deal.
A casting director, as another example, may ask that you submit a taped audition for a movie or television series. Their instructions noted a “written slate” which should include certain information. The talent who gets so caught up in their character and delivering a great read, but neglects to supply the necessary contact information as requested will likely never make it to the director’s room.
<a href=” http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0315041/”>Ricky Gervais</a must be one of my favorite comedians and his show <a href=” http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/extras/”>Extras </a portrays some of the ridiculous mistakes that naive talent make on and off set. The production team is referred to lovingly as “team” because they join together to make everything work. Undermining any aspect of that will put a talent in the “don’t use again” file very quickly.
Approach each person you encounter as a friend and business partner. Not all of your experiences will be star quality, but you will no doubt be on your way to becoming a star talent among the opinions that matter most!