Welcome to Column 41 of Ask Bob Blume. I am the host and president of Step Forward Entertainment, a bi-coastal talent management and entertainment production company.
This column is a benefit for The Actors Fund Covid 19 relief effort which is helping all in entertainment to help weather the financial hardships caused by the virus. Should you be so inclined and can afford it, below is a link to donate.
Today’s topic is the acting & modeling competition-workshop event. There are many held throughout the United States. There is still much debate whether these types of events are worth it and if they can make a difference in launching a career.
I believe that an undiscovered actor or model who is a “wanna to be” attends the right event from the right organization at the right price can be showcased to major industry representatives, is a valuable way to get a career launched.
For almost 10 years since its inception, I personally have attended and continue to attend the national events of The Industry Network out of Los Angeles.
I have found them to be integrous and valuable if used by the client, properly with real expectations. I have signed numerous clients showcased over the years.
They do give out scholarships and work in conjunction with major acting conservatories and schools.
The Industry Network does small local competitions around the country and has two national competition -workshop events in Los Angeles each year in late June and mid-January
To get into the ‘national competitions’ the talent must be vetted in advance by either a known agent or manager and a talent representative from the company itself and they usually come through specific schools or talent scouts throughout the US.
Those selected have to be at a level to be potentially signed by professional representatives and because of these stricter requirements, The Industry Network will attract some larger more well-known agencies and managers than other similar competitions. I understand their fees to be very reasonable considering it is a smaller boutique competition and workshop. The owner, Tiffany Rochel, has stated that this is on purpose so it can be affordable to anyone who is serious and has talent.
In this column, I interviewed Allison Gilbert, one of the key people behind The Industry Network organization based in Los Angeles.
The Industry Network on its website describes itself as:
“the country’s leading boutique talent convention designed to promote emerging talent to leading Agents, Managers, and Casting Directors. Industry Network Talent Scouts and Member Academies, within the United States only, search for stand-out talent ready to perform.”
They do an Awards Show with prizes based on judges scores and showcase all their talent to the industry reps that attend. Upon the conclusion of the event, agents, managers and casting directors can then meet with those that impressed with their talents, to give feedback to help them in the industry.
There is also an Awards gala where medals and prizes are awarded to those who achieved the honor gathered from the ratings of the attending professional VIPs.
Now that you have the background, let us meet Allison Gilbert from The Industry Network.
Virtual Judging Event in January, 2021
Bob: Hi Allison. Thanks for your time as I know you are right in the middle of your January event now virtual this year due to Covid.
What is there about The Industry Network that makes it better and different from the other talent competitions and workshops throughout the US?
Allison: We do regional searches and provide some training for young talent that have had some training and want to get in the business, but may not have all the tools they need to get a job, as well as the connections that we have. We put them on camera, work on their interviewing techniques and we give them confidence. We also guarantee them an agent/manager on the local training/competition will see them. Of course, if they make ‘nationals’ in Los Angeles, they are seen by over 80 major representatives.
Bob: I have been ‘the representative’ to see the talent at some of the local events on the east coast and I was impressed with the quality of talent, how it was presented after they had 4 days of training and how strict your company is as to who gets invited to ‘nationals.’
Allison: We do not want to waste the time of the professionals or the talents. Those that are not ready, we don’t want to shut the door on anyone, but we advise them to go to get local coaching or do school plays, etc. Then if they still want it and have improved significantly, they can come back to us.
Bob: Can you tell us about some of the workshops that you do during both the local and national competitions to help these young performers?
Allison: Locally, we focus on the interviewing techniques.Obviously, we want the performers to be successful and get signed, We want them to get to the level where the agent will want them. We do not teach acting from the ground up, but our goal is to get them to the next level. Polish them
Bob: Please give me an example of any of the workshops you have and off the top of your head, give me an example of a recent success story. I know there are many, as I have seen them at your events.
Allison: The workshops we teach are monologues, TV commercials, scene study and modeling….the basics. If they get those down, it will help them a lot to get closer to achieving their goals.
Also, I can relate the success story of Justin Sanchez who I found in NYC in a local search. He went to regionals, nationals, was signed by an agent and is now a regular on a TV show. We stay close and he is now part of our ‘family’. He does go to our ‘nationals’ to speak and motivate to them as he was where they are. I am very proud.
Bob: I have signed many clients from attending your events. Included among them is a 20 year old who has been on covers as a model and appeared on Katy Keene (CW) and worked with JLo on a recent film; another was featured as a 14 year old in a concert in New York. I have had success as I have been attending for the 10 years this has been going on.
Allison: Yes, we are a way for them to get into the business and if their talent warrants it, perform for over 80 agents.
Bob: You do get the high level agents and managers at your event because of the quality of your talent and the integrity of the organization. It has been good for me.
Allison: Although we are LA centric as far as our staff and offices go, we are all over the country!
Bob: Thank-you so much.
To Contact Allison for information: email@example.com
The Industry Network website: www.theindustrynetwork.com
Bob Blume’s company site is www.StepForwardEntertainment.com
To Donate to The Actors Fund: www.actorsfund.org/stepforward
To Send in a question: firstname.lastname@example.org
To see ALL of the prior columns: ASK BOB BLUME columns