I’m so excited to be publishing Part-One of my interview with LA based Youth Talented Manager, Corey Ralston.
Please check back later for the rest of this amazing interview in which Corey will give us more insight into the world of professional youth acting and management!
Ariana: Hi, I’m Ariana Fort. Welcome to The Actor’s Note. Today I’m here with Corey Ralston who is a youth talent manager and he is going to give us the low down on his life in the business, how he got there and some tricks of the trade for any parent of a youth actor! Hello Corey! How’s it going?
Corey: I’m good. How are you?
Ariana: I’m good. So I just have a few questions and I can’t wait to hear your answers. Let’s get started! How would you describe what you do to a new actor or potentially, to a parent who has a child who wants to go into professional acting?
Corey: Well, more often than not, managers like to take people who are in the infant stages of knowing how to navigate all of this and so more often than not, I choose actors that don’t have an agent yet. I begin by helping them find an agent, getting them into training, guide them to getting great headshots and helping them make demo clips and all of that stuff. There’s a lot of hand holding that goes into this process. This is one of the reasons I created a Facebook community called Child Actor 101 which steers people away from all of the scamy stuff that’s out there because there’s a lot of that.
Ariana: Yeah, I mean I think we all can remember being approached by these people in the mall that come over to you and tell you for a fee they will make you famous. It’s important to find safe and reliable information. We have all seen people going up during awards shows lovingly thanking their agency and managers. Why are managers important and what’s the difference between a manager and an agent?
Corey: A manager and an agent both send out their clients for casting opportunities and pitch clients to casting directors, but the major difference is that agencies work in bulk. They have a lot of talent. An agency may serve five hundred, a thousand or more clients, where managers will often have a roster of less than fifty. This means they have more time to handhold and guide the all aspects of their clients’ acting careers. I know a lot of agents that don’t even want a child actor unless they have a manager because they just don’t have time to answer all of the questions that are bound to come up.
My Road to Becoming a Manager
Ariana: So many of us have, like you, started with acting but moved to different areas of the industry. So, what is your favorite things about about being a manager?
Corey: You know my favorite thing about what I do has always been, whether it’s theater or TV or film is the casting process; it’s so exciting. Like if you’re waiting for the teacher at school to post the cast list or you’re waiting to hear if you got a call back or if you know you got a part. There’s something that’s so neat about it even though it’s can be so devastating at times, it’s the one thing that has always just kind of like got my juices going.
You know that moment when you find out you got a role, that is just like party time. It’s just the best feeling ever. I hate telling kids if they have not gotten a part or they’re not moving forward in the casting process. Some of those phone calls are much harder, but kids bounce back so easily you know. It’s the parents that are crying in the bathroom for five days over it, thinking their kids are so upset, but the kids are like, no it’s fine. We try to instill in them that only one person can get a role but you made a great impression and you have fans of you now and you just keep plugging along.
Ariana: Let’s talk about your background because you’ve been in this whole entertainment world for a very long time. I know many people already know of you in this industry, but for my readers who don’t, can you tell us how did you ended up in this line of work?
Corey: It’s been a crazy road. It definitely has. So I did some child acting when I was a kid from like nine to twelve and then I decided that school was more important and stupid me, just kidding, stayed in school. I didn’t want to miss out on all of the after school programs, trips, school dances and all of that so I stopped professional acting but was still very heavily involved in theater all the way through high school. When I graduated school I went to college and did some acting and a lot of background work which I tell people not to do, but I did quite a bit of it and it paid the bills for a while. Then I interned for a management company for about a year and a half.
These days a lot of actors intern for management companies, talent agents and casting offices. It’s a good way to learn that side of the business, but I started to fall in love with it. I loved the nurturing of talent. There’s something really exciting about finding talent and cheering them on and seeing what can happen. After that I started to work for some agencies and then when I was like twenty-three or twenty- four years old, it broke me, like Hollywood broke me. Watching so much talent get dropped by agencies was too much.
So I abandoned it all, left LA, moved back to my hometown and just did tons of theater and got into the politics of theater, theater boards and directed a lot. Then I became a journalist, which feels like another lifetime. All of these things sort of prepared me and actually gave me this great attitude, of like, people don’t scare me as much anymore. I was finally in the right frame of mind. So when I was teaching a theater class in a children’s program I was running, I found a kid who just really checked all the boxes of what makes a great child actor and it inspired me to take some action. I had a conversation with my husband the night before. I was like, oh man this kid is so great.You know, he has everything. And so I said to myself, I’m going to talk to his mom. The next day his mom actually approached me before class and asked if I knew anything about how to get kids into Hollywood and I was like wow, so funny you asked. So it sort of all happened that way. So I had this one kid who was great and I called up my contacts, all the people that I still knew and overnight this kid had twenty-two agency appointments, which is so unheard of. He really had his pick out of wherever he wanted to land. Then, these agents were asking me who else I had and so it just snowballed like that and very rapidly I grew a roster of talent. I went to work for a management company, brought my roster over there and kind of the rest has been history; it’s been a crazy three years. It all happened fast but I think all of my prior life experience made it all just click into place.
Ariana: I love that story. That sounds amazing. The universe sort of presents things when they are meant to happen.
Corey: All of these things kind of just like fell into place so it’s been pretty neat and I’ve never been happier.
Check back soon for amazing information from Corey!
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 6 and loves nothing more than helping fellow actors reach their goals!
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