The Pre-Production : Interview with my agent – Karen Kay

I wanted to create an online resource for Actors. I will be interviewing Directors  Agents, Managers, Actors Casting Directors and Producers I have worked with and love. The goal is to help you be informed and get some great tips and tricks to help you navigate this industry. 

Karen has been my agent for the best part of a decade so she seemed like the perfect person to sit down and chat to. Thank you Karen! 

What are your pet peeves with Actors?

When auditions aren’t treasured or treated as they should be. They are so vital to an actor’s career and should be handled with the same importance throughout, regardless of the type of project or role they are auditioning for. Also, one should never take feedback too personally. Every person, no matter which stage in their life they’re in, should always look to continuously improve and be the best they can.

What would be your advice for an Actor who is looking for representation?

Email your headshots, full acting resume and any on screen acting material you may have to agents. If you have no acting on screen, we encourage actors to choose a TV/Film scene and self-tape it. Agencies need to see on screen presence prior so they know how to market you and where you fit on their roster.

We also advise actors to seek out an agency that is the best fit for them so they can have a productive and successful partnership. We pride ourselves on a personal management approach and ensure each client is valued.

Describe your ideal client?

Every client is ideal in their own unique way! Nonetheless, like you Kimberley. Clients who regularly communicate, are hard-working, actively research and prepare for their auditions, continuously look to up skill and show integrity and loyalty. Also appreciation of how hard agents work for their clients! Respect for each other is incredibly important.

How important is it for an Actor to be pro-active?

Being pro-active should be second nature to actors.  They should always look at ways to hone in on their acting techniques so they can be prepared for any auditions that come their way and ensure they stand out from the competition! Networking is also key – who knows what opportunities can arise from the people you meet.

Acting is a professional business and we encourage all actors to invest in all tools necessary for agents to market them successfully. An Actor’s online presence is essential, so they need to ensure they have up to date headshots, showreels and resumes on all online profiles.

What challenges to you face in your role an agent?

 I could write a book on the stories and challenges I have experienced over the past 28 years! Challenges can be stressful at the time, though worthwhile upon reflection. They all contribute to one’s attitude, determination and success.

A recurring challenge is the juggling of actors’ schedules. It’s always positive when they have more than one project shooting at the same time, though can be tricky. There is so much relief when it all comes together!

Another challenge is throwing ourselves into uncomfortable situations in order to protect our clients. We always make sure our actors are protected.

What are some classes / skills that you think are VITAL for Actors to have in their skill set in 2016 / 2017?

It is absolutely vital for all actors to perfect their standard American, English RP and Australian accents. Cannot stress this enough! There are accent coaches and plenty of tutorials online. We also encourage actors to research and attend acting classes to continually develop their craft.

What do you look for when you are seeking out new talent?

We look for an x-factor, incredible talent and an attitude of determination and persistence. If we are determined for our clients’ career, we expect to see the same determination and commitment from them too.

How do you like your clients to communicate with you?

We encourage active and open communication – whether that be via email, phone or in person. We always care for our clients and are there to listen. We value friendliness and honesty and place huge importance on our on-going relationships with clients.

Beyond a headshot, resume and reel – what else do you need as an Agent to really help pitch a Client to Casting?

It is important for actors to have unique selling points to set them aside from the pool of actors. As mentioned previously, accents are essential. You never know when a project may come along that needs a different accent to your own and actors have to always be prepared. Extra skills are great too – stunts, horse riding, stage combat etc!



Karen’s Top Tips for Actors

1) The quality of your headshots are everything. They are your primary piece of marketing material (along with a reel) that is used to pitch you and they need to be strong so Casting Directors don’t look past you. With our input we ensure this doesn’t happen, though that’s no excuse to not have updated headshots!

2) Communication with your agent is key. It’s important we know when you are available or out of town.

3) Treasure auditions and be prepared and researched. Determination and tenacity goes a long way.

Follow Karen Kay Management on social @Karenkaymgmt

If you have any questions about the industry you want answered make sure you email [email protected] and I will do my best to answer them or find the best person to interview on your behalf.




Kimberley Crossman

Kimberley Crossman is a kiwi actress, author, and presenter. Oh and you are currently on her website reading a blog she has written.