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Ms. Bubbette

Dear Ms. Bubbette: Note from Ms. Bubbette • Kudos from a reader • Houston actor looking for Austin agent • Broke actor wants to study at LA school • Stage Moms – is this a bad rap? • Arlington student wants Austin agent...
by Ms. Bubbette

January 2004

A Note from Ms. Bubbette:

To all my readers, thank you for having faith in my judgement calls and may every one of you have a fantastic 2004 especially in the acting world. I have been asked by various readers to expose my 'real self'. Some of the 'founding fathers' of this group know who I am and have kept my secret. But now I think It is time to reveal the 'real me' and I promise I will do that in the next publication along with my 'normal' headshot!!

I am also working on a FAQ (frequently asked questions) section to save you time when you need to know something quickly. So many of you have asked similar questions with the answers tucked away in my archives. So we'll make it easier for you. Once it is up and running I ask that you consult the FAQ first. If the answer you are seeking is not there, then please do write to Ms. Bubbette. I am planning on devoting most of my time this year to editing unfinished movies and completing unfinished books and screenplays, alongside teaching my film acting classes. So my time is going to be very limited. But I promise, I will always be there for you when you need my advice.

Now get out there and slay your audiences!

Warmest wishes,
Ms. Bubbette


Ms. Bubbette,

I am just awed and humbled and grateful for all the amazing work you have put into the column at AustinActors.net. To say that you have helped all of the Austin film industry would be an understatement. Hey, why don't you write a book?! You deserve to get paid something for this -- and this is the kind of information that would be great to get out in hard copy.

Thanks a gazillion!
Michele Déradune

Hi Michele,
I really appreciate the vote of confidence! This all started as a fun thing a few years ago and it escalated into a rather large project. If I've helped the new actors safely on their way, then the research and time involved has all been well worth the trouble. I say 'safely' as I fell into many a money trap as a novice actor many moons ago and I could have done with someone like 'Ms. Bubbette' to guide me out of troubled waters.

And yes, there is a book looming on the horizon called "Breaking Into Showbiz Without Getting Fleeced." It has been in the writing stages for quite some time and has had many upgrades, improvements and so on. It is specifically for the new actor and especially for child actors. There will be a chapter in the back with Q&A's from my Ms. Bubbette archives. I am hoping it will be available in every Texas Talent Agent's office by the end of the year?

Thanks again, Michele.
Ms. Bubbette


Dear Ms. Bubbette,

Hi, I am a Houston based actor with exclusive representation. I would like to get an agent in Austin to take better advantage of the film industry there. Who are the best and most reputable agents there; are there any non exclusive agencies who will represent me while I keep my representation in Houston?

Thank You,
Dave Maldonado

Dear Dave,

In my book an 'exclusive' agent is one who represents you, the actor, in any city in the United States - or at least in Texas! Unless they do can that they should have no objection to your having agents anywhere else. The rule of thumb used to be no more than one agent within a 50 mile radius. In other words you cannot have two agents in one city unless you live in LA and then you need to have one for commercials, another for film and so on.

Find out exactly where your agent represents you before signing up with new ones in other cities.
There was a time when I had an agent in Austin/San Antonio, in Dallas and in Houston. It became a conflict when more than one submitted me for the same job. Who would I pay the commission to? Again the rule of thumb is to give the commission to the one in the city of the shoot. Agent wars is not a favorite thing for Casting Directors who are trying to be equally fair to all Talent Agents. I have known some actors end up paying both agents who submitted them and then be out of pocket themselves. Not a good business arrangement would you say?

I solved that problem by going exclusively with the agent who worked the hardest to cover all bases for me in the Texas area.

If you still wish to go ahead with trying to get an Austin agent - and be warned that this could be fairly difficult now that Austin officially in 2003 became the Film Capital of Texas and agents are more swamped than ever - you could e-mail the Austin Film Commission gbond@austintexas.org and ask for a list of Austin Talent Agents. Or if you are really serious about being an actor in Texas I really recommend you buy a copy of the 'actors' Bible' The BIZ Directory which has everything you'll ever need to know about this business (including names, addresses and phone numbers of every Talent Agent in Texas and beyond!). Phone (512) 323-2090. Check it out on www.thebizonline.com Any actor worth their salt has this book next to their computer!

Good luck in your search Dave,
Ms. Bubbette


Dear Ms. Bubbette,

My love and passion in life is movies. I want a career in the film industry, but I know nothing! I am a creative and artistic but I feel like I know none of the technical side of movie making. I have decided to apply to the New York Film Academy (in Universal Studios, CA) but am scared to death that I will not make it in California. What scares me is that financially, I have always just scraped by. I barely make it month to month and this school is soooo expensive. It is also very demanding of the students time which means that I will only be able to get a night or part time job to pay rent, food, gas, etc...I have a bit saved that probably won't last long and no outside help from family...I want to take their one year filmmaking course so that I can decide on what area of filmmaking I would be best at (directing, editing, producing or even acting, etc. ) there are so many areas that I don't know anything about and I can't put off my dream any longer ( I hate the dead end job I'm at now ) I want a career of my own, one that I can be proud of.
Do you know of any financial aid that I might be able to get or of any places in the Los Angeles, Universal City area that I might find a good paying part time job?? I'm looking to make the move in Feb. 2004, get my education and maybe move back to Austin to start my career (if it's too hard in CA) ...ANY help you can provide would be truly appreciated...Thanks!

Seriously Broke Sara
22 yrs, San Antonio, TEXAS

Dear Seriously Broke Sara,

Red flags going up! Just by the adjectives with your name! "Seriously Broke" Ouch! Why travel to CA where everything costs 2-3 times more than here, when you can get some of the best training right here in Texas? And at a fraction of the cost. Let me quote the hottest late news: "I think we've turned a corner here," said Tom Copeland, head of the Texas Film Commission. "I see Austin as being something more than just alocation for film. We're seeing lot of people who not only want to be here, but they want to put their base of operations here."

"That could mean that even with fewer gaudy film budgets in the future, more crew jobs could go to locals over Hollywood imports, and filmmakers staying in town for post-production work like editing. "Suzanne Quinn, director of Austin Studios, agrees. "Austin's hot. It's building on itself more and more through word of mouth. We've turned a corner in the industry. We're not dependent on Hollywood anymore. We have so much local talent that we can weather a slowdown." "That talent includes enough crew to handle at least three major projects at one time, and the usual suspects: "Spy Kids" director Robert Rodriguez and his producing partner/wife Elizabeth Avell‡n, the world's hardest working "Slacker" Richard Linklater, TV animation's "King of the Hill" Judge and screenwriter turned director Tim McCanlies.

"But 2003 was not a normal year. It started with "The Alamo" and its record budget for a Texas film (state figures put it at $90 million) shooting simultaneously in the Austin area with Rodriguez's "Spy Kids 3D: Game Over." They were followed by Luke Wilson's "The Wendell Baker Story," Tommy Lee Jones comedy "Cheer Up" and Johnny Knoxville's "The Ringer"-all in Austin." end quote.

Texas is in a league of its own and can handle anything Hollywood can handle. Living in San Antonio you are only a stone's throw away from the Austin action. If you read back through my archives you will find the best teachers available, how to get almost free training in state-of-the-art editing suites, attending directing and producing classes at your local access cable TV stations. This is how I started before becoming an independent producer and director of my own video series for children "Once Upon a Wish". The Austin Film Commission (address in the prior letter) may have a booklet that will help you. I have never heard of any financial aid for budding actors but you could ask them. The Austin Film Society does award scholarship monies for independent producer/directors who have proven their worth first.

I would strongly advise you against going to LA, not knowing anything about the industry. They have hundreds of thousands of hopeful actors waiting in lines just to do extra work on a soap or sit com. At least in Texas, once you've mastered the trade you have a much better chance of landing a principal role, or working as a crew member on the many movies and commercials coming this way.

I'm sure all my readers will be interested in what you decide so we'd love to hear a follow-up from you.

Take care wherever you go and good luck.
Ms. Bubbette


Dear Ms. Bubbete,
I'm somewhat interested in this whole concept of stage mom. Could it be that these women have, to say the least ,a bad rap and that perhaps their are some moms out there that really do believe in their children's talent and want to channel their energy in the right direction. I'm just postulating a theory here and suggesting that maybe the whole concept of being a stage mom has been misconstrued for too long.

Your thoughts.
A local caring mom

Dear Local Caring Mom,
Yes, there are caring moms out there who put their children first , sacrificing their own private lives. These are the mothers who know their child really, really wants to do this and they are prepared to finance their classes and headshots and to be their personal taxi to auditions and so on. In the industry these are not labeled 'stage moms'.

The ones who get that label are pushing their children into situations the child does not want - it's the mother who wants it and is trying to live her life through her child, no matter what the consequence. And I'm talking here through having experienced this tragedy firsthand time and again.. When I was working in casting it was very upsetting to see these 'stage moms' pushing a crying child into an audition room , ignoring their pleas of "But I don't want to do this." The mom would say something like "I didn't spend hours getting you ready, for you to do this to me - get in there or else..." It was gratifying to see the casting director bring the child out and talk quietly but firmly to the parent. "Please take him home - he does not want to do this." If the parent argued the CD would shake her head and say "You are wasting everyone's time and hurting your child. - Do not bring him back." Then when I used to shoot the Miss American USA pageants - now those were the pushiest stage moms I've ever seen. Lord help us! They screamed at their child, they screamed at the judges and they even flung things at other contestants - while their miserable, over made-up, primped in a -thousand-dollar-dress child sulked and cried These are the moms who have ruined it for those conscientious ones with only their child's well-being at heart.

So there you have it! If you are furthering your child's talent unselfishly, you will never be labeled a 'stage mom'.

Keep being a caring mom and the industry will respect you greatly!
Ms. Bubbette


Dear Ms. Bubbette,

I'm an actress in the Arlington and I'm enrolled at UTA as a theatre major. Recently I attended an SWTA conference and became acquainted with a casting director (also a grad prof at Cal State Fullerton) who advised me to get an agent in the Austin area and not in Dallas. He told me not to waste my time with TV and to go for film...he felt there was more film work to be had in Austin than in Dallas.

Here's the deal....I used to work many moons ago for some very high powered agents in L.A. in the late 70"s (yes, I'm a returning student) and am very familiar with that side of the business. My feelings in general towards them is a little jaundiced, but I also know that there are some good people out there as well. I'm not familiar with the Austin 'scene', and I was wondering if you might have any recommendations for me.
Thanks ever so much!
Moe S.

Dear Moe,
Welcome back to the student scene. It's always fun to learn. Please do not judge Texas talent agents by the LA ones. The high stress and cut-throat business out there is enough to jade even the sweetest talent agent. If you've read the previous letters today you will see the latest on the Austin movie scene. It's very encouraging and it's gratifying to know people like Sandra Bullock have opted to leave La-la-land to settle in this area. I have not met a vindictive Texas talent agent yet and working in casting I dealt with them all. It's true Austin is heavy into movies and if that's your preference and you have the talent and training and desire, then you should heed the casting director's advice. At least you'll have much more chance in Texas to land a speaking role.

Check out the e-mail address in Dave's letter above. If the Austin Film Commission can't help (and I'm sure they can) e-mail film@governor.state.tx.us which is also in Austin, and ask for a talent agents' list.

Break a leg! And welcome to the Texas film scene.
Ms. Bubbette.

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