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