Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Agent Exclusivity Agreement for Las Vegas Market

Breakdown services for Las Vegas, agency cooperation on submissions and exclusive contracts for all talent are the provisions in new rules being imposed by the Nevada Coalition of Talent Agnes (NCTA).

See also Agents try to go exclusive, again.

The following is a press release from the Las Vegas Agency Coalition. I have not heard from SAG if the new "contracts" are acceptable for SAG members, but they appear to mirror the SAG Aabbreviated contacts in use. If this plan works, there may be more work for all of us, or it could be an elite few in the market will dominate the work. Remember that agents work for you, but they are also out to keep their doors open and earn profits for themselves and their investors. It is up to you to study, keep your tools sharp and understand the business. Agents currently earn percent on SAG approved revenue, not on all income or non-related income. Keep your eyes and ears peeled and pens at the ready.

Historic Movement Underway in
Las Vegas Entertainment Industry!

LAS VEGAS – It was announced here today that, as a result of last night’s meeting of the Nevada Coalition of Talent Agents (NCTA), Las Vegas is on the verge of making an historic change to the way Talent Agencies operate in Southern Nevada . A transition is taking place, with a target-date of August 1st for completion, that will see the area’s top Talent Agencies joining together to make each of their respective agencies exclusive for their actors.

This change means that each actor will have to choose a single agent to represent them, as opposed to the current system, whereby, often, actors are “registered” with as many as half-a-dozen different agencies.

“ Las Vegas is one of the last film destinations in America that does not handle its actors in an exclusive manner,” stated David Brown, President of the NCTA. “When major networks or film companies come to Las Vegas ,” he continued, “The casting directors are appalled at the lack of organization and consistency Las Vegas offers. And one of their top complaints has always been that, when they ask for submissions from a number of different talent agencies, looking for talent, they often find the same actor being submitted by four or five different agencies.

“Even if the actor is right for the part, most casting companies will discard all of the submissions for that actor, simply because the casting director does not want to get involved in the fight which will ensue, between the agencies, over which one will get the commission if that actor is hired.”

Los Angeles , the Crown-Jewel of the Film Industry, has been exclusive for decades. And most cities around the country, that hope to attract film and television projects, have conformed to “LA-Standards,” including exclusive agency representation.

Brown states that the biggest obstacle to agencies going exclusive here has been the lack of a central posting service for film and television projects. In Los Angeles , Breakdown Services is the largest and most successful business listing projects, which are available to any approved talent agency in Southern California . This service lists more than 100 film and television projects per day, which have become known as “The LA Breakdowns.”

Without such a service, agencies in places like Las Vegas , have often intentionally kept projects a secret when they are contacted by a casting or production company. This allows that agency to submit their actors in advance of any other agency, and even exclude certain agencies from submitting at all on the project. And in order to not be excluded, actors had to register with every agency they could, so no matter who had the “secret project” the actor would be included for consideration.

Last night, all that changed. Gary Marsh, owner of Breakdown Services in Los Angeles addressed a crowd of Las Vegas talent agencies, casting directors, local film producers and other industry professionals, and introduced what will become the “Las Vegas Breakdowns.” Mr. Marsh gave a slide-show and interactive computer presentation, demonstrating how Breakdown Services works in Los Angeles , and how Las Vegas will soon be set up to accept projects, both locally and nationally, for any project filmed in Las Vegas .

“Mr. Marsh has generously donated his time and efforts to help bring Las Vegas into the 21st century,” Brown stated. “The Las Vegas Breakdowns will be offered at no cost to the agencies, and at no cost to the actors. And now, finally, agencies here can stop hoarding and fighting over projects… which will make Las Vegas much more professional and allow us to offer services in a manner similar to those offered in L.A. ”

Megan Foley, a Los Angeles casting director who attended last night’s meeting of the NCTA, gave her opinion of the proposed changes and the past system, or “lack of a system.” She indicated that one of the reasons so many casting companies refuse to even consider Las Vegas talent for principal, or speaking, roles is that they do not want to have to learn the “Las Vegas System.” Instead, they have traditionally cast all of the principal roles in Los Angeles , for projects filming in Las Vegas . They then come here only to hire local actors for low-paying background work as extras. By incorporating a central listing service for projects, and an environment of primarily exclusive talent agencies, Las Vegas will become a casting destination for principal roles.

In today’s economy, even the large networks and film companies have become very budget-conscious. The cost of hiring an actor in L.A. , paying their travel and per diem, hotel and transportation costs, has become a serious consideration. It will be so much less expensive to hire local actors for even the largest roles, and now that the Las Vegas Breakdowns will become a reality, and the major Las Vegas talent agencies have agreed to go exclusive with their acting clients, the door will be open for principal casting in Las Vegas .

“This could not have come at a more opportune time,” Brown stated. “Last month, the CBS pilot for ‘The Odds’ was filmed here in Las Vegas . It looks very promising that this show will be picked up as a regular series, and if it is, they will shoot half of each episode here in Las Vegas , and the other half will be filmed in studio-locations in New Mexico .

“In addition to The Odds, there have also been several other network and cable pilots filmed here recently, any one of which could be turned into a regular weekly series on television,” Brown continued. “By changing the way we do this business here, now, we can establish from the very beginning, with the networks, that Las Vegas does, in fact, have capable and talented actors for every role, including series-regulars, guest stars, recurring characters and co-stars, as well as continuing to provide background work for many other actors.”

Las Vegas has not seen a regular series filmed here for many decades, and by creating a familiar environment to Los Angeles casting and production companies, there will be many lucrative opportunities for actors and agencies alike. Any talent agency can now participate in the “Las Vegas Breakdowns,” and offer exclusive representation to their actors. This will not only align Las Vegas with the Los Angeles industry standard, but will also foster much more open and friendly relationships between the talent agencies here in Southern Nevada .

“By participating in the ‘Las Vegas Breakdowns,’ and representing exclusive acting clients,” Brown stated, “agents here will no longer have to fight to be the first to know about a ‘secret project,’ or to argue over which agency was the first to submit a certain actor for a role. Since every actor will have only one agent, and since every agent will have equal access to the projects, the only time we’ll have to fight, is over who is going to pick up the check at lunch!”

“For the first time in my life,” Brown said candidly, “I am proud to tell people in this industry that I am from Las Vegas . All of our agencies are stepping up, joining hands, and making very positive changes to the way we do business. And that will, in turn, change the way Los Angeles , and the world, will view our city, as it relates to the film industry. And that is something we can all be proud of!”

* * * * * * * * * *

ACTORS: Contact the agency you wish to represent you exclusively for details of the transition to Exclusive Representation, and notify in writing all other agencies you are registered with to let them know you will no longer be represented by them.

TALENT AGENTS: If you need help with wording exclusive contracts, or if you want help composing letters or emails to your clients which will explain to them the new procedures, please contact David Brown at There will soon be a draft available of a letter you can send out to your roster, as well as a draft letter the talent can use to notify all their other agents that they are now exclusive with you.  ALSO, the NCTA will soon be posting step-by-step instructions on how to sign up for and develop the Las Vegas Breakdowns for your office.

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