Across the Board (ATB) Talent, founded in 2008 by entertainment professional and entrepreneur Guy Kochlani, is a full-service licensed Talent Agency. ATB represents its talent "across the board:" theatrically, commercially, in print, hosting, voiceovers and dance. The limited client roster and staff of 10 enables ATB to remain committed to the goal of developing high quality talent while providing the personalized atmosphere of a management company.

Across the Board’s talent has been seen on numerous TV shows, films, commercials and theatre productions. Their models and photographers have been a part of major fashion campaigns and have been seen across the pages of domestic and international magazines.

ATB is honored to announce its move up into the big leagues. Using talent from across the board, ATB is currently packaging a major feature film as well as television series. As the client list becomes larger and more high-profile projects are being tackled, founder and CEO Guy Kochlani avows: “No matter how much we expand, our original business model will always remain on point. We provide one-on-one care and service to each client, no matter what.”

ATB represents talent and models in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York, with offices in Los Angeles and New York-Times Square. There are plans to open offices in London, Paris, and Tel Aviv.

For more info, check us out at WWW.ATBTALENT.COM

Monday, October 22, 2012

RUSSELL MEANS: Saying Goodbye to a Friend

October 22, 2012

         Russell Means, represented by Across the Board Talent Agency, was a man who epitomized honor and dignity.  He was a constant inspiration, both through his incredible acting career and his political activism, and we are greatly saddened to have lost him.

         For ATB Talent, Russell was a beacon of potential.  His headshot, mounted on our wall, aged eyes of wisdom looking throughout the office, were our constant reminders of what we could accomplish.  Russell Means’ life was one ripe with adversity, yet he never let it beat him.  We turned that into our motto, using his life – and career – as our personal methodology.

Often controversial but never out of line, Russell leaves behind a legacy of enormous accomplishments.  As the first national director of the American Indian Movement from 1970 to 1973, he brought the issue of American Indian rights to the forefront of the political landscape.  He fought for the rights of his people, no matter the cost.

No wall was too high for Russell, and he chose to bypass the red tape and take his fight to the source: the President of the United States.  Our agents knew little of Russell’s political endeavors, so it was something of a surprise for us to learn that he ran, albeit unsuccessfully, for the Libertarian nomination in 1987.  He was always willing to put everything on the line to guarantee the rights of his people.

Russell’s career in acting was equally prolific, with his debut role in Michael Mann’s 1992 The Last of the Mohicans laying the groundwork for his eventual rise to cinema icon, with roles in Natural Born Killers, Pathfinder and Disney’s Pocahontas cementing that status.  He just completed work in a major feature film, starring alongside William Hurt, Jean Reno and Katie Holmes.  When producers needed a talented American Indian actor, Russell was their man.

Russell demonstrated his indissoluble loyalty to his people even when the night was at its darkest.  When he was unexpectedly diagnosed with cancer in August 2011, he made the choice to reject mainstream medical practice, opting instead to be treated as his ancestors: by his Oglala Sioux brothers at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.  Russell was a man of his people, and nothing, not even illness, would take that from him. 

Russell Means passed away this morning, one month before his 73rd birthday, fighting the fight of his ancestors.  His courage and integrity, as a political activist, actor, politician, husband and father, are set at standards that at first seem impossibly high.  Yet, when we take a moment to remember exactly who and what Russell was, we find the vision of empowerment that he so graciously projected. 

We’ll miss you Russell.  You were an astonishing inspiration, a client and, most importantly, a friend. 

By Alex Tafet

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

TV AHOY! It's Pilot Season and You Need to Get Ready

Well that didn't last long.
Guess what time of year it [almost] is?!  If you said Pilot Season, you’re right!  If you said Christmas, you’re…also right.  But not as much.  Gather around, kids.  Uncle Alex has some important career lessons, life advice and some good, old-fashioned know-how to share!

Pilot Season is that special time of year when all your favorite television networks start assembling their Fall and Spring slates.  This is when series regular casting for hit shows like Breaking Bad, Modern Family and Made in Jersey (wait…) happen, and it’s important to be totally on top of your game.  Stars are born in the span of what seems like minutes—land a lead role on the next hit show and your acting career is set for life.  Unless you’re Jason Alexander, but he’s cashing a $58,000 check for Seinfeld royalties right now, so it’s debatable how much he cares.

Remember these?
The first step towards getting ready for pilot season is STOP READING THIS AND START WORKING.  That career of yours won’t move itself, so wipe the potato chip crumbs off your stomach, put some pants on and go make some phone calls.  You know all those “industry contacts” you’re always boasting about?  Time to put your money where their mouth is.  The entertainment industry is built around the idea of favors, and, if you’re committed to getting the opportunity to audition for a “hit show of tomorrow,” you better be ready to get on your metaphorical knees and beg.  And if you aren’t fortunate to have a Rolodex of contacts, well, go read our previous AGENCY TIPS articles for everything you can do to make yourself more commercially attractive.  We offer some really great tips for what you can do to prepare yourself properly for this season.

It’s important to remember, of course, that an audition guarantees absolutely nothing (unless you’re one of the Mara kids, apparently).  For example, one of our well-connected clients without a credit to her name was called in for six – count ‘em, six – series regular auditions last season.  She read for the lead female role in the new CBS show Elementary (which is actually pretty good).  She didn’t get it, but guess who did?  Lucy “Charlie’s Badass Angel” Liu.  A no name versus a star…how cool is that?  It’s no shock why our girl didn’t get the role, but still—she went out there, worked her contacts, and got a foot in the door.
Sorry ladies...he's a stalker.

You’ve got your contact list ready—step one, check.  Emails are drafted, fruit baskets have been sent and you’re memorizing contacts schedules to “conveniently” bump into them at the local Coffee Bean (stalker).  Now it’s time to get an education.  Read the trades, both online and in print, to see what the networks are moving forward with (check out Hollywood Reporty, Variety and Deadline).  What show seems like it was molded to house your creative energy?  Are you a little more country or rock ‘n’ roll? 

He's got his eye on you. 

Let’s take a look at a couple of new shows that are already casting, S.H.I.E.L.D. and Bates MotelS.H.I.E.L.D. (or the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division for my fellow geeks out there) is, for the three of you who didn’t see The Avengers, the global peacekeeping spy/army force that occupies the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  In the movies (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, etc.) S.H.I.E.L.D. has been portrayed as a super Big Brother type of organization led by the mysterious badass mofo Nick Fury (white in the comics, black and Samuel L. Jackson in the movies).  They have their hands in every little pocket of everybody’s dirty business…and they’re coming to a television screen near you!  Make no mistake: this is THE show to get in on, especially after The Avengers became the third highest grossing film of all time.  Plus the film’s /director and TV alum Joss Whedon is acting as showrunner, which essentially prevents S.H.I.E.L.D. from being terrible.  Think of this show as the television equivalent of a “too big to fail” bank.  Disney has so much riding on the product they won’t allow it to be cancelled.  This is one horse I’m betting on, and so should you.

Hey, is that from Psycho or the Universal Backlot Tour?
Now Bates Motel, premiering on A&E, is a whole ‘nother ball game.  “Hmm, Bates Motel…that sounds so familiar.  I wonder why?”  Probably because it’s the name of the motel from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 Psycho, arguably one of the most famous, untouchable films ever made (see: Gus Van Sant’s 1998 remake).  Bates Motel is the prequel, starring Freddie Highmore in the Norman Bates role previously made immortal by Anthony Perkins. 

Ferris Bueller: this happened (with Jennifer Aniston!).
I don’t want to knock Bates Motel – it has a really interesting cast of talented actors (Nestor Carbonell, Mike Vogel, Vera Varmiga) – but come on.  A Psycho prequel?  Where were the screaming masses demanding that one?  Television history is very clear on what succeeds and what doesn’t.  The recent Charlie’s Angels, Blade: The Series and, yes, even a Ferris Bueller series all came and went.  Original programming always trumps remakes, reboots and prequels (remember, we’re only talking about TV here—these rules don’t apply to the movies).  Bates Motel may very well end up the being an incredibly innovative, unique spin on a timeless classic, but the odds of it finding an audience are not heavily in its favor.

The funky thing about pilots – and the entire television business – is that nothing is set in stone.  Being cast does not always equate success, no matter the size of the role.  The recently canned pilot Mockingbird Lane, the remake of the classic 1950s series The Munsters (hey look, another remake!) is a great example.  The show was stacked: Eddie Izzard, Portia de Rossi and Jerry O’Connell led the cast with Bryan Singer set as the director.  Everything was in this show’s favor, but for whatever reason it didn’t quite work.  Success in the entertainment industry is built on intangible variables, making hits nearly impossible to predict.

Ain't he just dreamy?
Another important factor to consider in terms of casting is that television shows evolve.  They’re not movies with a set amount of screen time.  Shows live, breath and change, and often times the producers will find the urge to bring in new and important characters.  One of my personal favorite shows, Dexter, is the prime example of this, as new series regular characters are constantly being introduced.  Some characters last a season or two before being killed in an (usually) emasculating sort of way, but other grow and thrive in the show’s universe. 

The single most important piece of advice I can impart on you is this: never give up.  Yes, they’ve already cast Sherlock and Watson in Elementary, but last I checked Sherlock’s brother Mycroft was noticeably absent.  That could be you, if you’re willing to work for it.  After all, this is your career on the line.  What are you prepared to do?

Lights, camera, action.

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Yeah, it's not as good as BBC's Sherlock, but I like it.

By Alex Tafet

Thursday, August 23, 2012

AWARDS TIME: The 11th Annual Heller Awards

            You know about the Oscars, right?  Pretty prestigious stuff.  Well in the world of agents and managers we have our own award show: the Heller Awards.

Since 2002, the Talent Managers Association Seymour Heller Awards have defined excellence in the fields of casting and management.  Co-founded in 1954 (and originally called the National Conference of Personal Managers), the TMA “supports and encourages high ethical business standards and practices” and is “self-regulating and is dedicated to raising the standards of the profession of talent management.”  The Heller Awards, which are voted on by members of the TMA, honor the Casting Director’s, Agents and Managers who have shown exemplary initiative and drive. 

While there are a eight categories of nominees in this year’s Awards, we’ll showcase the four that affect actors most directly: Feature Casting Director, Television Casting Director, Commercial Casting Director and Associate Casting Director.  We’re always writing about the CD’s and how awesome they are, so let’s take the time to give them their proper due!


Deb Aquila/Tricia Wood – Aquila/Wood Casting

Lisa Beach/Sarah Katzman – Beach/Katzman Casting

Randi Hiller – Disney Motion Pictures Casting

Ricki Maslar – Ricki Maslar Casting

Mary Vernieu – Betty Mae Casting


Sharon Bialy/Sherry Thomas – Bialy/Thomas Casting

Krisha Bullock – Krisha Bullock Casting

Scott David – Scott David Casting

David Rapaport – David Rapaport Casting

Dan Shaner/Michael Testa – Shaner/Testa Casting


Craig Colvin – Craig Colvin Casting

Alyson Horn – Alyson Horn Casting

Ross Lacy – Ross Lacy Casting

Michael Sanford – The Casting Underground

Francene Selkirk-Ackerman – Shooting from the Hip


Gina Gallego – Disney Motion Pictures Casting

Sherie Hernandez – Greenstein/Daniel Casting

Russell Scott – Bialy/Thomas Casting

Eric Souliere – Ulrich/Dawson/Kritzer Casting,

Jenny Treadwell – Krisha Bullock Casting

            Congratulations to all the Heller Awards nominees!  You guys earned it!

Lights, camera, action.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

AGENCY TIPS, VOL. IV: So, We Need to Talk...

            Communication is really an extraordinary thing.  Think about it for a second.  You type a message on your phone, click “SEND” and almost instantaneously your pal on the other side of the country is “lol-ing” with you.  Cyberspace has changed the way we think and function, and the idea of waiting has become something reserved solely for restaurants.  Everything needs to be now, now, now.

            But life doesn’t always work that way, does it?  Sometimes we’re faced with certain obstacles and decisions that are totally out of our control, and we have no choice but to sit and wait.  It can be an excruciating process, and we have to bite our collective lips and deal with it.

            The entertainment industry is no different.  In fact, I’d argue that its entire foundation is built on hard-earned patience, with the almost inevitable “no” at the end of that tunnel.  Still, we fight and push on, being as persistent as possible, never letting an “I’ll get back to you” find its way between success and us.  Except sometimes, that’s not quite how things work.  Sometimes we really do need to wait. 

            Here at the ATBlog we’ve been preaching nonstop about a good actor being a proactive actor…but there’s a very fine line between being a go-getter and being a nuisance.  For your reading pleasure, we’re providing a comprehensive list of everything the perfect client should never even consider doing.

“Have You Heard Anything?”

            Often times the dialogue between an actor and his or her representation will follow this track:

The audition went great, I just got out.  I spent more time with the Casting Director than the other actors, I think.  Yeah, the CD loved me, and started asking me all these questions!  Have you heard anything yet?”

“No, we haven’t,” your agent replies.  “You just left the room, give it some time.  Casting Directors need to marinate in what they saw for the day, and when they’re ready to pick actors they call us.”

This could be you.
            This is the sort of badgering that can really get to your agent.  Constant update requests will do nothing but sour the working relationship with your representation.  It doesn’t matter how “buddy buddy” you may think you guys are.  At the end of the day, your agents and managers WORK for you, and don’t want to be pestered with “Have you heard anything?” type of questions.  Take a chill pill.  Why on Earth would your agent not tell you about an audition or booking?!  It’s only in some weird alternate dimension that your representation would say, “Oh gosh, thank so much for calling!  Good thing, too, since you just booked a Recurring role on Mad Men!  I wasn’t going to tell you, so this sure was convenient!”  When Warner Bros. calls about casting you as the new Batman, you’ll know.

“Why Am I Not Going Out?”

Patience, baby.  Patience.
            Whenever I hear this one, I wonder what exactly the client wants to hear.  “Your headshots are bad.”  “You’re not what they’re looking for.”  “Maybe you should try another profession?”  The truth is, all we can ever really say is “I don’t know.”  We’re the agents, not the filmmakers or Casting Directors.  They know exactly what they’re looking for and, I’m sorry, sometimes you’re not it.  Your representation submits and pitches you for the proper roles and you need to trust them.  They – hopefully – have direct connections to the project, and will do whatever they can to get you an audition.  Like everything in this business, it’s a two way street—it’s the Casting Director who makes the initial audition schedule, and he or she needs to think you’re a potentially good fit for the role.

            You should never take any of this personally.  Maybe they just want the black guy instead.  Maybe your hair is long and curly and they wanted short and straight.  Maybe they only decided to see actors whose names start with the letter “S.”  There’s often little method to this madness, with most of it relying on pure instinct.

            A sub-question for this point that often comes up is, “Why is my friend/significant other going out for auditions but I’m stuck at home?”  The same rules apply.  Last month there were more roles available for women than men.  Guess which parent is going to have the busier days auditioning?  Again, and this point cannot be stressed enough, always keep in mind that sometimes, things are just out of your hands.  You just need to wait.

“I Have a Twenty-Five Year Age Range.”

Unless you're Abe Vigoda.  The dude doesn't age.
            No you don’t.  Stop and think about this one for a minute, okay?  If you’re forty-years-old you CAN NOT play a twenty-year-old.  These are facts of science.  See those crows’ feet coming out the corners of your eyes?  That’s age, friends.  Maybe it’s time to throw away the cheerleader pom-poms and the Varsity jacket.

It’s important that you’re realistic with your age range.  We recommend having a ten-year age range (i.e., twenty to thirty), which in most cases offers a fairly accurate representation of an actor.  When it comes to auditions it’s best for you to truthfully fit the role, especially when competing against others.  If you’re mid-forties and you want to read for a college age role, how ridiculous will you feel when you’re in the same room as a bunch of twenty-somethings?  The answer is “very.”

“I Can Speak Spanish.”

This is me.  I can't play Asian.
            So can I: le mie gambe sono coperte di nebbia.  There you go.  Granted, I have no clue what I just said, but it’s Spanish, right?  Look, when it comes to your “special skills,” just be honest.  Often times Casting Directors will be looking for actors with a very specific set of skills.  When you tell us that you “speak Russian” but really only know the word “dasvidaniya,” it makes you look like a fool. 

            The same goes for sports.  I can kick a ball around my backyard but that doesn’t make me David Beckham.  Think about that.  Know who you are, know what you do, and be true to yourself and your abilities. 

“Can You Submit Me For That Role That’s Exactly My Type?”

            What exactly do you think your agent/manager is doing?  Trust them.  They know you, and they know what sort of roles you’re perfect for.  So unless you’re a six-foot-three black-Portuguese male with one leg and a robot arm, and the Casting Director is looking for a six-foot-three black-Portuguese male with one leg and a robot arm, you don’t need to send your representation daily submission reminders.  They got it.  

In our experience a lot of actors don’t exactly know what they’re right for (please see age range).  Now sometimes a client may have an intimate relationship with the “powers that be” behind a specific project (producer, director, etc.), and in that case he or she should definitely let his or her representation know.  If not, keep your pants on—your representation has it under control.

“U Got Auditions 4 Me LOL”

            I love text messaging just as much as the next guy, but 1) that sentence isn’t English, and 2) it’s a privilege, not a right.  Your representation giving you his or her personal mobile number is not a veiled gesture for the texting floodgates to open.  You think they want to read a wall of text filled with questions and emoticons?  Think of texting as a 911 call: use it only for emergencies, and never abuse it.  When it comes to communication via text (or even email), always subscribe to Kelly Johnson’s KISS principle: “keep it simple, stupid.”

The Thin Red Line

            As iterated earlier, there’s a very fine line between proactivity and excessiveness, and it’s best to find the proper somewhere in the middle and stick the landing there.  Your representation needs his or her own space, and business has a way of working itself out.  Constantly asking questions and hounding for answers does nothing but waste time…time that your representation could better use to submit and pitch you.  Acting as a second shadow just makes things harder to see.

            Despite all that, communication is still vitally important to maintain a good client-agent relationship.  Checking in now and then, maybe every couple of months or so, is encouraged, but once a week?  That’s unnecessary.  If your representation has one hundred clients and each one calls once a week they’ll spend more time on the phone with them than with the Casting Directors.  How are they supposed to find the proper time to focus on getting those same clients work when they’re nothing but glorified administrative assistants?

            These “Agency Tips” blog posts usually end with some sort of anecdotal “You can do it!” paragraph, but this time we’re going to do things a bit differently.  Because this post is all about things you shouldn’t do.  This is a response, a big “Enough already!”  Acting is a serious job, and it requires time and effort on both sides of the contract.  It requires communication, tenacity and patience.  All you can do is act your heart out, cross your fingers, hope and never give up.  Ever.

Lights, camera, action.

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By Alex Tafet