Talent Agent Uses Perseverance, Savvy to Represent Hollywood’s Elite

Acquiring mentors, paying dues key to success

1022_Tracy Christian

Christian

Just like actors perform to evoke a reaction, the talent agents who represent them can be passionate, stubborn, loyal, and cunning, but they use these qualities to convince directors that their client, the actor, really is the character that he seeks.

Tracy Christian not only represents a talented client list which includes celebrity entertainers like actors Michael Kenneth Williams, from HBO’s “The Wire,” former “Cosby” kid Lisa Bonet, and rapper/actor Busta Rhymes, but she considers them family.

But 12 years ago, when friends told her that she would be a perfect talent agent, Christian wasn’t convinced. As the owner of a promotional modeling agency that signed temporary beauties for trade events such as car shows, she felt “like a pimp.” She wanted to try something different, but she didn’t feel educated enough and was extremely intimidated by what she initially saw as a profession for knowledgeable and culturally sophisticated white men.

She wasn’t entirely wrong. An internship at Hollywood’s most prominent agencies lasted only two weeks. She quit when she discovered that of several hundred agents, only one was African American. Also driving that decision was the fact that the only women she saw were receptionists, and there were very few black clients.

But the short experience taught the San Francisco native more about the talent agent industry, and she realized her fears stemming from inexperience were unfounded and this was a business that she would not only enjoy but succeed at.

She then found an apprenticeship at a boutique talent agency that represented classically trained actors such as those who attended Julliard and Yale. Her previous experience managing models had been extremely lucrative–not only putting her through college at California State University in Los Angeles and the University of Southern California, but also allowing her to purchase rental property before the age of 20.

However, knowing that the industry required that she “pay her dues,” she took a significant pay cut earning less than $400 a week to work the job. Christian, a history major, became a full fledged agent six months later –a feat that generally takes three to six years–and she ended up working for the company, which she declines to name, for almost eight years. Now as an agent at Don Buchwald and Associates, Christian, who won’t tell her age, but says she attended high school in the late eighties, earns well into six figures.

Increasing diversity behind the scenes in Hollywood, has been a challenge of the industry for decades.  BlackEnterprise.com spoke to Christian to learn more about how interested African Americans can get a foot in the door without breaking a leg.

BlackEnterprise.com: As a talent agent, what is it that you do?

Tracy Christian: I’m in the sales industry but my wares are artists. My job is to convince decision makers — producers, studio execs, casting directors –  that they need to hire my client. Once I get the offer, then I have to negotiate the job’s parameters and fee structure. I keep my client list small and I only represent actors who I intend on representing for the next 20 years; people whose talent consistently blows me away.

Pages: 1 2 3
ACROSS THE WEB
  • http://www.lindamirano.com Linda Mirano

    Have you ever considered adding more videos to your blog posts to keep the readers more entertained? I mean I just read through the entire article of yours and it was quite good but since I’m more of a visual learner,I found that to be more helpful well let me know how it turns out! I love what you guys are always up too. Such clever work and reporting! Keep up the great works guys I’ve added you guys to my blogroll. This is a great article thanks for sharing this informative information.. I will visit your blog regularly for some latest post.

  • http://www.actingandmodeling.net/ melissa

    Great site. Thanks for your thoughts.

  • http://epaurbanministries.com/ home and family

    What youre saying is completely true. I know that everybody must say the same thihttp://www.adsense-id.com/forums/images/vtc/36_002.gifng, but I just think that you put it in a way that everyone can understand. I also love the images you put in here. They fit so well with what youre trying to say. Im sure youll reach so many people with what youve got to say.

  • http://www.standfestworks.com Brittany Calumag

    Hello my friend . Why dont you add facebook badge on your blog ? Thanks

  • Pingback: Talent Agent Uses Perseverance, Savvy to Represent Hollywood’s Elite | BlackNewsTribune.com

  • http://microactionads.com/ Elyse Siglin

    Great story sir.i will bookmark your blog

  • http://www.unchainedharmony.com Kena Camburn

    Great story sir.i will bookmark your blog

  • http://www.daviddalrymple.net Murray Risko

    @above me .lol Do you have another idea about my comment

  • http://springwallpapers.org Teisha Zacharewicz

    Great story sir.i will bookmark your blog

  • http://handheldvacuumcleaner4u.com Handheld Vacuum Cleaners

    @above me .lol Do you have another idea about my comment

  • http://www.kurematsu.org Collin Orendorff

    I love to comment on your blog sir

  • http://healthfirstcare.com/ Arron Kesterson

    I like this Ones New style man

  • http://christmaspresentforwife.com/ Sydney Blankenbecler

    Hello dude,i liking Ones site very a lot. attain u allow suggestion for my blog? thanks for Ones attention

  • http://latestcelebrity.net indovision

    I most likely don’t article into blogs but Ones site forced me how to, amazing the job.. Lovely …

  • http://centerfornaturopathic.com/ Naturopathic Herbal Medicine

    hello Here’s how could be end users doing? I just hoped-for To put an end use and also say that this’s been a pleasure reading Ones New url. I have on bookmarking Ones web site a lot that I can visit back & look over more on the coming years in addition. plz achieve carry build up the solid making up

  • http://renvs-es.com/ Cupcakes

    Kudos as sharing this advice. I discovered stuff like this instructions in truth helpful. That’s a wonderful article. Return To look over Some even more.

  • http://movadowomenswatch.com Movado Womens Watch

    I sure miss the wire :*

  • Debra Fulton White

    VIEW FROM A SMALL BIRD’S EYE
    Screenplay Query/Synopsis

    My name is Debra Fulton White and I am an emerging screenwriter from the San Diego area who has recently finished polishing a full-length screenplay titled “View From A Small Bird’s Eye.” I am seeking representation for production and was hoping that you might have time to consider my work or offer an appropriate referral. I am the author of the inspirational romance novel “My Land Is Your Land,” self-published in 2006. I am also the author of “Naturally Beautiful,” another inspirational romance novel released November 2008. The inspirational screenplay, “The Present Is The Gift” was completed in 2009.

    Here is a copy of the short synopsis of “View From A Small Bird’s Eye” for your consideration. Thank you in advance for your time.

    WGA WEST Registration #1276883

    Logline: An illegal Chicana falls for a wealthy, young African American mogul and struggles to get back to her hometown in Juato, Mexico because she’s “got it so good here!”

    Genre: Urban Inspirational Romance

    VIEW FROM A SMALL BIRD’S EYE is an uplifting account of incredible strength, passion, and determination revealed in the lives of three neighbors whose paths intertwine with extraordinary results. This inspirational romance, with a hint of comedy, tells the story of an illegal immigrant, Maria Montenegro, as she is faced with realizing her dream of becoming a legal citizen. Set in a modern urban atmosphere, the three main characters all reside on the very same cul-de-sac, unbeknownst to one another. Many of the events are witnessed by a little brown bird which, in many ways, is a metaphor for the eye of God and the intricacies of His ways.

    Maria has to complete her studies in one week before she returns to her hometown of Juato, Mexico. The stunningly beautiful Latina struggles with finishing her American studies at a junior college and worries about being “found out” regarding her illegal status before she takes and passes the Immigration and Naturalization test. Her whole goal is to gain enough education so that she can take her knowledge back to her hometown and educate her family and friends on how to become “legal” American citizens. Meanwhile, she wrestles with the day-to-day challenges of being a single mother, the unsolicited advances of would-be-suitors, and the very real threat of deportation.

    Handsome, young African American mogul, Destin Tyme, is in the business of providing “goods” to his community. Contrary to the negative stereotypes of young Black men, Destin is actually one of the “good guys.” He makes things happen and is always in control but is sideswiped the moment he first lays eyes on Maria. Her feminine charms lay claim to his heart and position him on the path of discovering the “Flavors of Mexico!” He is spellbound by her beauty and innocence and sets out on a quest to
    capture her heart, again, not knowing that they live on the very same, three house, cul-de-sac.

    Pastor Don, who lives in the house between Maria and Destin, faces the challenges of removing himself from a life of crime involving hustling and pimping. He is torn between the syndicate and the church but vows that the latter is his true calling. Inadvertently, Maria helps him discover “a way out” and this sets him on a path of recapturing his commitment to the church.

    All three main characters live in extremely close physical proximity to one another, yet they seem to miss one another by mere moments throughout. Even when they are actively seeking one another at various points in the story, they can’t seem to connect. Only when the catalyst of the small bird leads them to one another at strategic moments throughout the story, can their destinies finally be realized.

    Dlynne@cox.net