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Interview with Youth Talent Manager Corey Ralston: Part 3

Welcome back to The Actor’s Note and to Part Three

of my informative interview with Youth Talent Manager, Corey Ralston!

Stage and Screen

Ariana: It is a hard business. Let’s talk a bit about the difference between Broadway and the screen. We have two different acting styles here, but they can go hand in hand and we do have a lot of TV actors who end up on Broadway and a lot of Broadway actors who end up on TV. Laura Bell Bundy and Sutton Foster are great examples. So, how do you feel about someone who is gravitating towards one or the other? Is there a gift to having a simpatico relationship between the two?

Corey: Well, I probably have a couple of part answers to that. I mean first of all, Broadway and TV and film have started to merge a lot. We have more movie musicals than we’ve ever had before. We have shows like Glee. The world of TV and movie musicals is starting to bloom. It’s a matter who you have to reach. So, if there’s an the old lady in the back row, you’ve got to make sure that she can see you and hear you and understand what’s going and that requires a larger style of acting. But the same goes for a show like Friends where there’s a live audience and so you have to land that joke and make sure that it’s bigger.

When you’re doing TV/film you know there’s a camera in front of your face and boom mic right there so you don’t have to be that big. It needs to be more realistic and toned down. So kids need to learn how to differentiate that. It’s easier for younger kids but there are some kids who once they go through a certain amount of stage training it’s really, really hard to get them get the difference. It’s also confusing because a Disney TV show requires so much jazzed up expression and then the kid has to audition for a show like Law and Order and they just don’t know what to do, how to make the transition. The roles for Broadway are very strict for kids as well.

Ariana: So, if a child is going into the industry and comes to you looking for a manager would you suggest they take On-Camera acting classes and theater acting classes or would you steer them to the one over the other?

Corey: If the kid is interested in theater acting I would encourage both. I mean God bless the kid that is trying to be a Disney star and a Broadway actor at the same time because that could be a triple threat: singing, dancing and acting theater style and on camera. That’s a lot of work. So, kids eventually fall into one or the other. But there’s a lot of kids that do both. So, if I hear that they’re into musicals I might ask them what’s your favorite Broadway show so we could just talk shop for a while. But I love kids that are interested in both. It’s just that there’s a lot more TV and film opportunities than there are Broadway and regional touring companies. I’m game for kids to practice both as long as they have a good coach that can help them tone it down when they need to tone it down and know what is the appropriate tone for all these different styles and genres of entertainment.

Ariana: Yeah. And I love that you brought up that there are so many shows now with music and even shows like Glee that are heavily based in music. I’m loving the fact that there’s more music on TV shows now.

Corey: Every kid should sing. Disney still has a clause in their contract that if you land on one of their shows they have the option to cut an album for you whether you’re a singer or not. So whichever acting style you do, the music world is always underneath.

Finding a Manager

Ariana: How does someone find a reputable manager?

Corey: That is a good question because there are a lot of really bad people out there so there are some rules. There’s red flags that people can look for to tell if a manager or agent is on the up and up. So a manager or agent is never, ever, ever going to charge you a dime for anything and if you’re finding yourself with a company that says you need to pay us a monthly fee somethings wrong. There have been cases where management companies have charged parents five to ten grand just to have them sign with them. That’s always a big no, no. Any management or agency that is going to force you to take photos with their own people is also a no no.

The agency can recommend services and certainly our clients need us to, but you know it’s always off of a list. We’re not saying you have to use this person or whatever so that it looks like the manager or agent is getting profit from you using this service. That is not so great. I definitely have lists by state of companies that are reputable. There are some lists out there. Just do your research a bit and be careful because there’s offices that pop up out of nowhere!

Ariana: If you’re out there and let’s say you really do have talent, but then you end up in the wrong hands, it could end up really being detrimental to your career and leave a bad taste in your mouth. With that being said what are three top questions that a parent or actor could ask if they’re going into a manager meeting?

Corey: I think that it’s really smart to ask a talent rep what they see your type as being, what kind of actor are you, what type of roles and what type of shows they could see you on because sometimes those don’t match up and you want to know if your rep is really in tune with you. They should already know who you are marketing and branding yourself as.

Kids do have types but it’s not like they’re playing like a nurse or a cop or a criminal or a drug lord but there are bullies and nerds and for example, LGBT kids definitely have their own type. Right now the industry is so inclusive. In the past parents were afraid of their kid being different but they shouldn’t be because different is always good. I mean how many blond-haired, blue-eyed twelve-year-old girls are there trying to be actresses right now? But for non-gender conforming kids, this is the best time ever. Writers are writing roles just for these kids: it’s amazing. But you know, just make sure a rep’s on the same page as you. The last thing you would want is someone trying to shove a square peg in a round hole. That’s not you. You want to be comfortable. I think it’s important for parents to ask what a rep’s plan is for their child if they’re going to help them find an agency. You want to know what their communication style is. All those things really, really have to jive. Every talent rep has their own sort of limits. For example, maybe don’t want an out of state client because it’s too hard to balance. So it’s important for parents to ask what does that rep expect of them. Those are I think important things.

Ariana: That’s awesome. Thank you so much! And to wrap it up I want find out how people can get in touch with you for your classes and your workshops. I want parents to be informed.

Corey: The first thing I would do for any parents who want to know how to get involved in the entertainment industry and pursue this as a professional endeavor is to definitely find the Facebook group Child Actor 101 and make sure you fill out all the questions on the form. This is to ensure your safety on the site. We only allow actors and their parents to join. I moderate that group with about forty different talent managers, talent agents, casting directors and acting coaches so there’s a wealth of experience in there. Our goal is to answer questions in a very frank way. I’ve created what I call “evergreen” courses that are always there for parents to use as a resource, where you can find in-depth information about head shots, self tapes and demo clips. There are companies out there charging $4000 for creating demo clip which you can easily do yourself. There’s a demo clips course on my website which is very A to Z on how to write a scene, how to shoot a scene and how to edit a scene. You don’t want to wait years for some short film to be done when you never know how it’s going to turn out. You can create something amazing yourself. But I love giving information. I want everyone to succeed. There’s enough for everybody. There’s enough parts for everybody.

It’s a business but I feel blessed to help these kids and families everyday.

Ariana: I learned so much talking with you today and I know my readers will feel the same. Thank you so much for your time and knowledge.

Corey Ralston has been involved with entertainment since the age of seven as a child actor in L.A. He then went on to pursue talent management in 2000 and again in 2017. He is currently repping kids and young adults at Bohemia Group. Corey founded and runs a resource community for parents called Child Actor 101 which has dozens of agents, managers, and casting directors moderating discussions and giving frank free advice to those pursuing a career for their children. In addition to working as a child actor, he has put in time as an acting coach, headshot photographer, and theater director, giving him 30 years invested in the entertainment industry. His varied and extensive experience in these facets of “the biz” has prepared him to guide and develop young talent. Corey is married to an actor-elementary school teacher, Henry Allen Ralston, living a semi low-key existence with their fur babies. His production company, Ralston Entertainment, is currently developing family-friendly entertainment.

Ariana Fort is a professional screen and stage acting coach located in Oldwick,New Jersey. She has been involved in the theatre world since six and loves nothing more than helping fellow actors reach their goals!

Corey Ralston Talent Manager Bohemia Jr. - Youth Division Bohemia Group

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