This is Our Story

We're the Sprayberrys and we moved to Los Angeles about four years ago to have our go at Hollywood. When we met the folks at Children In Film, they thought it would be a great idea if we documented our story. After all, our failures and successes (hopefully more the latter than the former) can be your lesson book.

So here you have it - Dylan and Ellery working through the ups and downs of being child actors - their mother and I working hard every day to ensure their success not only as actors, but also as well-adjusted members of society.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Leadership Changes

When it comes to making changes, or considering changes, to your current agency or management situation, the subject is less than simple. In fact, it can be a very touchy and sensitive point of discussion.

I will start off by saying that Ellery and Dylan are represented by the very finest team of agents and managers. They have worked very hard to earn their representation. As for many others in the business, this did not come easily for our family. It required a lot of work to find the outstanding team with whom we are now in partnership.

Without getting into all the details, I will express that things happen at the time they should happen when we as entertainment families logically understand the big picture. The flip side to this is that we must hold ourselves accountable for our part of the deal, thus placing ourselves in a position to make a good and strategic decision once a change is in mind.

Contemplating the Change:

The thought process is this: is a move even necessary or (the reverse) have we waited too long to change? I have friends who moved too quickly and friends who have waited years too long. Because timing is everything, you want to make sure you aren't jumping the gun or waiting until it is too late.

When we enter into constructive conversations on this important matter we realize there is no easy answer to this vital process of timing.

Here is how our family views this topic: (keep in mind that one could actually write a book or a few chapters on this subject matter. I will attempt to make it quick & easy from my point of view.)

The real responsibility for making the decision as to whether or not to change representation lies in the hands of the parents and the young actors; remember this is a business and as much as it is personal you can't take it personally. You cannot wait on your representation to give you some sort of sign that it is time to move on, nor can you fear the confrontation involved in discussing a change with your reps.

How to Assess Your Situation:

First, we have learned to take on the responsibility of viewing each audition as a privilege and opportunity where we prepare accordingly. Once it’s over its over. Our gauge is simply good feedback, callbacks, then bookings. If you are receiving callbacks you are doing great; booking the job is simply the bonus.

Second, we get that agents and managers make their living from bookings. They care for everyone, but we must realize there is only so much time in a day to give. Their job is to facilitate bookings and support growing talent. We must, however, earn our position in their list of priorities; this is done through a quality talent growth process that takes time.

We believe presenting our family as a good business partner and non-troublesome family yields a very good relationship builder. If there is a shortcut, it is simply being busy with bookings, and thus creating a natural presence in the day-to-day lives of our reps. But, as you know, keeping busy with bookings is much easier said than done.

So how do the previous paragraphs fit into deciding whether or not to make a leadership change? When you are determining whether or not to change your representation, you have to make sure you'd be leaving your current representation for the right reasons. Ask yourself if you're considering leaving because you aren't booking enough jobs. This may not be the right reason to leave. Also, are you being a good team member to your agent and/or manager? Are you doing your part? Do you know what your part is? Have you had discussions with your reps on this matter?

If you are at a talent level where you are receiving callbacks and bookings and you don’t feel the agent/manager connection, call your manager and work through your thoughts. Ask for the truth but always be prepared to logically receive it.

We recognize that sometimes people don’t really connect, and as a result a relationship doesn’t materialize which could be a big part of the puzzle.

If you are confident that your family has logically evaluated the various aspects of your situation, take another check and reach out to a non-entertainment friend or colleague who posses a strong business acumen. Doing this can be a good sounding board; sometimes we just don’t see the bigger picture and need help.

We learned this lesson the hard way a long time ago and are often challenged to remember the “Entertainment Rules of Emotion and/or Logic.” As I said before, as much as this business is personal, you can't take it personally. This, of course, is not easy especially when our children are involved.

Risks and Results:

When we discuss family business changes, risks are always involved and change is often a good thing when thought through.

Needless to say, how one handles a change such as this is very important. We are always respectful with change as we are the ones who live with the end result of our decisions and how we’ve conveyed them to others.

For us communication is king; quality work is imperative. Add this to the kids having fun ... and success is around the corner!


1 comment:

arielcar said...

Great information, especially someone new to the biz like we are. At it for three months and one callback so far, and some great auditions. It's tough out there!