Pilot season is in full gear and no it has nothing to do with flying! It is the time of the year from Jan. to May when many TV pilots and other projects in film and media are cast and shot in LA. Actors flood into LA hoping to get their big break.
Kim Dorr is the former co-owner and founder of Defining Artists Agency and has worked in the entertainment industry for over 25 years. She is also an ordained minister the entertainment pastor at Bel Air Church in Los Angeles. She believes that Hollywood has the ability to transform culture and Christians must have a voice in this marketplace. Kim is passionate about the industry. Her insights come from 1st being an actress herself, and 2ndly from working both as a casting agent and talent agency owner.
Here’s an interview I did with her:
Kim, what do actors need to know when coming to Hollywood?
“I’m from Denver, Colorado and I had two formative experiences: One, when I was 10, I was watching “Love Story” and I became more aware of the audience than I was of the film. I remember thinking that I wanted to do something that impacts people that way. That was the first “Aha.” The second was when I did my first play in the 8th grade. I just fell in love with acting. Studying acting, the one drawback was the uncertainty of it, and the times of plenty and the times of nothing…I don’t think my personality was cut out for that. I will tell everyone out there, if you love acting and those doors aren’t opening for you, consider working in casting or as a manager. I would tell actors the two following things if they are considering coming and working in Hollywood.
1. Talent. It’s not just training. There are people that have real emotional depth because of what they have been through. In Hollywood, the medium and method is very intimate. It’s going there, experiencing that emotion and the sense of being emotionally honest.
2. Marketability. Knowing who you are in the market. When you look at yourself in the mirror, are you gorgeous? Are you a leading lady or man? If you aren’t, that means you are going to be the sidekick and you need to embrace it. Look at yourself honestly, and find where you are going to land in the market. Make that your brand until you have been discovered and people know what you are capable of doing. It’s also about having a great headshot. You cannot afford to save money on your headshots. You need to find a good photographer from the get-go, or you’ll be wasting time. Do your homework, go and look at the photographers’ book, and save your money to buy really good headshots. Go to someone that is professional and get the right shot.
You also need to have a sense of integrity, a “can do” mentality. Actors who know how to get sides (sections of a script for audition purposes) on their own or directions, man we love actors like that because they are taking care of their careers. I don’t think it’s a good thing to give everything over to your agent or manager. Also, take the time to find a right agent or manager. Find someone who is passionate about you.
I would add, as an executive working in industry, that you need to have good roots. That is “rooted in the Word of God” and someone who will support you in prayer and conversation. The industry can be a roller coaster ride. You need to be prepared and have others that can ride it with you.