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Ask Tony: Career Advice from an LA Agent

Tony Martinez, a Los Angeles talent agent with Kazarian, Measures, Ruskin & Associates (KMR) and an FIU Theatre affiliated faculty member, answers questions from FIU Theatre majors and alumni about making it in the film/television industry. If you have a question for Tony, please send an email to theatre@fiu.edu and your question might be answered in a future column.

“What would you say to someone who has just arrived in LA to be an actor? What do they need to survive and potentially thrive?” -Luigi Sanchez, 1st year BFA actor

Every actor that arrives in LA makes the same mistake. They start looking for an agent right away. Sometimes, they start looking before their luggage shows up at baggage claim. This is a horrible idea. I’ve traveled all over the world and LA is one of the most unique cities I’ve ever seen. It takes time to understand how she works.  And trust me.  You’re not ready for representation. Yet.

If you’re making the move west, I would suggest you take time to get settled on both a personal and professional level. That means finding a place to live you can afford and buying a reliable car that will serve as your second home. Once that’s done, get out there and explore! Go see where all the major studios are located. Learn how the streets and freeways work. Figure out what makes West Hollywood different from North Hollywood. Doing this will make LA feel like a home. And that’s important because you need to be settled before you start pursuing your career.

On the professional side, you should get into an audition class right away. Try to pick one that’s known to the industry. That way, when you place the teacher’s name on your resume, it will show that you’re serious about your career. Being in class will also help you make some actor friends, the kind who have more combat experience than you do. Those people will help you find your footing. And they will help keep you sane.

And finally, please understand that actors don’t screw around here. They are laser-focused monsters who are intent on achieving their goals. That’s your competition. So be ready for that. Be talented. Be professional. And be ready.

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