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

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TABLE, Vol. II: Casting Directors Speak Out

If you’ve been reading this blog consistently, you know two things: we love to give you advice, and we have a [weird?] obsession with superheroes.  Today all of that changes.  We’re giving you an exclusive look into the vicious world of auditioning through the eyes of two Casting Directors.

Though theatrical and commercial acting may seem like two totally different playing fields, the principles of casting behind them remain the same.  At the end of the day, everything boils down to one, simple thing: talent.  If you have it, you’ll get out there.  If not, well…

Welcome to The Other Side of the Table.

Kara Sullivan

Danielle Eskinazi

This week we’ll be spotlighting two Casting Directors whom we had the pleasure of speaking with.  Kara Sullivan began working as a full CD in 2003, founding her company Kara Sullivan Casting.  She has worked on a number of feature films and webisodes, including That’s Revolting and A Lesson of Love

Danielle Eskinazi is an award-winning commercial CD who has worked on campaigns for every product from Absolut Vodka to Yahoo!, and has worked with high-profile actors such as David Bowie, Woody Harrelson and Milla Jovovich.  In the world of commercials, Ms. Eskinazi is it.

Now how about some timeless words of wisdom?

Headshots Get You Ahead

Mr. Bateman never gets called in to audition...I wonder why?
The headshot is your first line of offense.  It’s what gets you noticed and in through the door, and yet so many actors skimp on them.  Both Mss. Sullivan and Eskinazi personally look and analyze the submitted headshots they receive.  They make the decision on whether or not you get the thumbs up or thumbs down.

Your headshot should represent who you are as an actor.  The image should be able to translate your skills and style.  Are you a comedy actor, or is drama more your thing?  Show that range in your headshot.

And one more thing: never forget that your headshot is the single best representation of who you are, and it should always reflect your current look.  If you have a big freaking mustache in your headshot but don’t in real life (or vice versa), guess what?  You’re about to meet one very disappointed CD.

I'd cast Dr. Banner.  
It’s All in the Eyes

I asked Ms. Eskinazi directly what is it about a headshot that really stands out to her, and she immediately told me “the eyes.”  Your eyes are your moneymakers.  They’re the most inviting, soulful part of your body.  Eyes translate emotion, and in the words of Henry David Thoreau, “The eye is the jewel of the body.”

So forget about the sunglasses, kids.  Let’s see those baby blues!

The 3 P’s: Punctuality, Positivity, Proactivity

You got the message: audition time!  Now what?  If there’s one thing these CD’s appreciate, it’s for you to be prepared in every way.  To help you out, here are three important guidelines (all conveniently beginning with the letter “p”) to live your acting life by.

1.  Punctuality
Do you remember that time in third grade when you forgot to hand your homework in on time and your teacher was really disappointed in you, and then you had to go home and ask your mom to sign a piece of paper letting her know just how disappointing you were?  Dealing with CD’s is the exact same thing.  If they give you an audition time, STICK TO IT.  That 2:15PM call time ain’t a suggestion…it’s a formal demand.

Punctuality is very, very important.
The first sign of professionalism is being able to honor your commitments, and that’s what the CD’s are looking for.  Asking for a time change every now and then is fine.  They understand; everybody has things going on in life, and sometimes it’s tough to drop everything on short notice.  But needing to change times – or not even bother to show up – every time?  That is, as Ms. Eskinazi says, a one-way ticket to her “shit list.”

So please, do your agent, the CD and your career a favor: be punctual.

2.  Positivity
Nobody likes a Negative Nancy.  They’re always all down with this “woe is me” attitude.  Turn that frown upside down, because the last thing a CD wants to see is some miserable actor walk through the doors.  You’re trying to live the dream of being a professional actor!  Have some excitement!

Don't worry, the 3 P's are easy to master!
According to Ms. Sullivan, the most important thing for an actor to have (other than talent) is optimism.  If an actor auditions in front of her and has this Debbie Downer attitude, guess what?  A callback probably isn’t in his or her future.  Acting is a passion job: you have to really want it, and you need to be willing to do whatever you can to make your dreams a reality.

3.  Proactivity
Okay, so “proactivity” is a bit of a vague one.  How exactly do you stay proactive in terms of dealing with CD’s?  Here’s a start: confirmations.  When you get an audition notification, let your agent know if you can or can’t make it.  The last thing a CD wants is to be left hanging with an open time slot…in fact, they hate it (SIDENOTE: Ms. Eskinazi went on a five-minute rant on the subject, but I’ll spare the gruesome details).  Take charge of your life and get on top of things!

Listen to the Biebs: that's proactive with an "e."
From an agency standpoint, we can’t stand dealing with unconfirmed anything.  When an actor doesn’t respond to our messages, we can’t get back to the CD.  That makes you look bad, that makes us look bad, that makes the CD feel bad, and let me assure you—the CD feeling bad=no role.  Remember: this is your career and, more than anybody else, you need to fight for it.

You Are Essential

Movies don’t work without actors.  That’s a fact of science, folks.  At the end of the day, you – the actor – are an essential part of the filmmaking process, and guess what?  The CDs know that, too.  They genuinely root for you to succeed and knock their socks clean off.  Every CD in town wants to find the next big superstar.  What’s to stop that from being you?

Keep at it and they'll really like you, too.
Now let’s take a minute to talk about the last step—callbacks.  They’re often the toughest part of the job, and can induce more nervousness than anything else because really, all you can do is sit by the phone and wait.  Make no mistake, though: a callback is an honor.  It means that the CD sees something in you.  “A callback is practically like a booking,” Ms. Eskinazi says.  “If I like you enough to bring you back, then that means you’re a good choice for the job.”

Always keep in mind that your life is not always your to control, and that goes double for actors.  The entertainment industry is built around the concept of people making decisions for other people.  All you can do is maintain a positive outlook and keep trucking.  Never give up.  Never forget who you are as an actor, an artist and a person.  If you don’t have your integrity, you have nothing.

Lights, camera, action.

For more information on Kara Sullivan, please visit her website:

For more information on Danielle Eskinazi, please visit her website:
You can also visit Ms. Eskinazi's Casting Director blog for more exclusive advice:

Got something to say about this?  Have any questions?  Comment below! 
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By Alex Tafet