Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wendy Curiel Explains the "Business of the Business" to HOLA Members

Wendy Curiel, talent agent and long-time HOLA associate, offered her knowledge to members in an HOLAfábrica Business of the Business seminar last Thursday, June 18th, 2009. She started her discussion with a thoughtful introduction explaining that she was a “one stop shop” when it came to finding talent for commercial gigs. She also emphasized that this talk was informal, so all attendees should feel comfortable asking her questions throughout the seminar. That being said, the questions began.

One of the first topics was about unionization. Since I am also new to this business, I benefited from this conversation. Wendy explained how to join a union, what to do once you’re in, and the benefits. She told actors that they needed to “be informed” and stay informed about union procedures, rules, and regulations. I think one of her most important points was that this business requires a huge amount of responsibility for the individual actor. No one is going to lead an actor by hand, one has to educate oneself and take on the responsibility for one’s own career.

Another important point Wendy discussed was the fact that no one can ask an actor what his or her ethnicity or nationality is. It is against the law to ask, and if this happens, answer politely that it is private information, or (especially if one booked the gig), respond with “talk to my agent.” This is important because, unfortunately, discrimination can follow. Wendy advised to always “be on your toes” when it comes to private information and one’s career.

Wendy presented the business in a very no nonsense manner. She explained that acting is a business, it is a job and it should be treated as such. Do not burn bridges with agents by not returning phone calls or by blowing off an audition. That is akin to not showing up for work or ignoring an assignment. It’s okay to have fun at one’s profession, but it is still a profession. After the seminar she collected headshots and resumes from those in attendance.

I want to thank Wendy for being so loyal to HOLA and providing her expertise to our members. Wendy also sang the praises of HOLA, remarking that all those in attendance who weren't members of HOLA should join and that she looks at the HOLA directory every day for potential talent. Spending almost two hours with her gave me more information about the business of acting than any website, book, or magazine could provide. So members, keep an eye out for other workshops with Wendy Curiel; it could be the best move for your career.

...Dahlia Valle Peterson

[Photo credits: All above photos except that of Ms. Valle Peterson taken by A.B. Lugo. Photo of Ms. Valle Peterson courtesy of the author.]

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