Interview with Agent, Kim Barsanti

by Patricia Cullen on November 3, 2008

Originally published in the Vancouver Actor’s Guide November 2007 newsletter.

It’s that time of year again. Production slows. Not much. But enough that audition rooms are filled with the voices of actors asking actors if they’ve auditioned this week. There’s talk that the Canadian dollar has something to do with it. There’s talk that the looming Writers Strike in the US has something to do with it. And then there’s talk, albeit quietly muttered, that our agents just aren’t submitting us. So we set up an interview with Kim Barsanti, agent & founder of Muse Artist Management, for some insider information.

How long have you been an agent?
Ten years. I worked with King for two, Carrier for four and it’s been four years since I started Muse.

We’re in a fairly slow time right now. What are the contributing factors to that?
We’re not that slow. If you look at the BC Film Commission site we have 30 productions right now. And then there ‘s the Writers strike and production companies are concerned about it. If that happens, it’s going to shut down all of the pilots. So what they’re doing is trying to push the pilots through before October 31st.

Do you think the Canadian dollar will have any effect on our industry here in BC?
Ah. I knew you were going to ask me that. No I don’t and I’ll tell you why. I think we in BC in particular are probably in a better place than most people. The provincial government put out great tax incentives a couple of years ago when things looked bad. We have a lot of solid production teams here. We’re close to LA, so it’s a proximity thing. And we can do more than one location in a day. In LA, you can’t do that. And there are a lot of local people still producing here.

What is the key to a successful relationship between actor and agent?
Communication. If you can’t talk to your agent, you’re with the wrong agent. If you feel like you’re not getting a straight answer,call them on it. If you’re not going out for auditions, ask your agent to print out a list of what you’ve been submitted for. You should be able to discuss your needs with your agent and it goes the other way too. Your agent should feel comfortable giving you constructive criticism or casting director’s feedback. And make sure that you are financially satisfied & creatively satisfied. If you depend on your agent for those, you’re screwed.

Where would you say the line is between maintaining good contact with your agent and borderline harassment?
A phone call or email once a week is okay. Some clients like to check in weekly. For me, email is one of the easiest tools. If you’re contacting your agent more than you need to, it’s probably because you’re not communicating clearly enough, what your needs are.

Breaking into Film & TV. Do you have any suggestions that would help actors get an audience with the casting directors?
Take casting director workshops. The workshops teach you what they want to see from you in the room. You learn how the casting directors are really on the actor’s side. They want you to get the work. It’s like a football team. We all have different positions, different jobs, but we all want the same thing. If you take a workshop, make sure you’re on your A-game. Take classes. Take American dialect classes. Take other workshops with Barbara Deutsch, Larry Moss, whatever works for you. Just keep your A-game going.

When I first began auditioning two years ago, I heard the audition to booking ratio was around 1 in 40. How accurate is this?
Approximately 1 out of 20 submissions will get you an audition. You should be booking an average of 1 in 10 auditions. And if you’re thinking of going to LA, I’d suggest your booking ratio should be at 1in 5.

What’s a deal breaker for you?
I’ve never fired anyone. But there was this one time I was very disappointed with a client. I sent them to someone I knew to get their voice demo done and my client behaved very rudely. It’s not acceptable because it’s poor representation of the agency. We’re all in this business because we all want to do something we adore. So let’s adore it.

A huge round of applause to Kim Barsanti for sharing her time and insight with us. Thanks Kim!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Jason Fedorchuk November 6, 2008 at 3:32 am

Hey Kim, baby! Did you ever figure who that guy was on the phone a few weeks back. Remember his friend said to call you, and you rejected. I guess agents have a tough job? I lost my last one back in Toronto. Maybe I’ll find her? But that was over13 years ago. Dan Ackroyd, will tell ya about it. Oh well! Happy fishing for your next big star.

Kim Barsanti December 28, 2008 at 1:38 am

interesting that my “next big star” doesn’t even have a profile on imdb…?

JAMIE April 25, 2009 at 10:36 pm

HI KIM
GOD SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED….
SUCH A LONG TIME SINCE CONCORDIA
FUNNY I FOUND YOU AGAIN

Jason Fedorchuk June 21, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Hello Kim. Look me up some time. Maybe you’ll be interested now?

Jason Paul Fedorchuk.

Christie Claymore January 4, 2014 at 4:09 pm

These responses are almost as interesting as the article itself (which I thank you Ms. Barsanti for the insight). Goodness gracious! Aside from the behind the scenes comedy of this, may this also be a lesson to us all (actors) in “manners”. I went to the school of hardknocks in this industry and I must say, in any area of life that poise and manners make a difference. I would be appalled to see any actor with that type of attitude on set, because it would mean dealing with a lot of negativity in that particular environment. The lesson I learned here is to act well, all the time; even if it is simply online. Cheers and best to all.

Leave a Comment

 

Previous post:

Next post:

Visit us on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter! Follow us through RSS!