Spotlight: Pamela Wise, Talent Agent

by Kenji Maeda on November 20, 2008

Post image for Spotlight: Pamela Wise, Talent Agent

Originally posted on Vancouver Actor’s Guide. -Revised on April 2011-

Pamela Wise, arriving from Montreal 18 years ago into the ‘early days’ of the Vancouver film scene, was inspired to pursue a career in casting. After realizing there is no straight road to success, she pieced together an education, studying acting, small business management, marketing & administration. She also took a production & A.D. courses; and networking & casting on every student film & low/med. budget Indie she could. Her break came when she was hired to work with local casting director, Sid Kozak. She gained insight into the process of casting, and carried that knowledge with her to the next chapter of her film career as a talent agent. She has had a successful & rewarding 10 years as owner of Coast Talent. Pamela is now an agent with Premiere Talent Management. Pamela also teaches a very popular commercial workshop at the Young Screen Actors Academy.

What made you want to become a Talent Agent?

Pamela Wise – I really respect the creative process, and it is exciting to make that vision come to life. I enjoy recognizing the current trends in marketing in Film & TV world is demanding, and keeping my roster reflective. Mostly, I really like my talent, the trust, respect, communication I have in my relationship to them & to the industry, is very important to me. Lastly, I love watching my actors succeed, it is such a hit.

What advice would you give to actors looking to “break into the industry”?

My advice to actors trying to break in would be learn the craft of acting, develop solid technique. Build tons of personal confidence, determine your own edge & style. Know the market. Be a business person. Agents & casting directors only respond to what the director/producers want. Keep up to date with what is current in looks & acting trends. I also think it is key to have a mentor type figure, perhaps an acting coach or a professional actor, that knows the pitfalls & can give you solid advice. Have a game plan, soak up every experience, have a vision, and have faith in yourself.

What advice would you give to experienced local actors?

For the represented actor, hopefully your agent will guide you with sage advice. For the un-represented actor, I would have to advise to have a lot on the go. Create momentum. Network, ask questions, study both drama & comedy. Practice with other actors outside the classroom. Do respond to all casting calls-make your mistakes without the pressure of an agent & the ‘sometimes
unforgiving’ casting director watching, really hone your skills, develop mind/body & spirit, and if you are not having fun or are not truly inspired, re-evaluate.

What should people know when contacting you?

Mail a headshot & resume to the office Premiere Talent Mgmt, put “Attention: Pamela Wise” or email me at Pamela@PamelaWise.com.

What would you say is the worst casting choice in the history of Film/TV and why?

Gosh, there are so many. I would have to zero in on the style of many big Hollywood productions to answer that question. Take a great story with tons of potential, insert ‘big star of the moments’ name, then forget story line & content, bank on the name selling tickets. That formula has disappointed me too often in regards to poor casting choices. It has come to this for me: if a film is not at the ‘Fifth Avenue’ cinemas, I really hesitate seeing it.

If an actor wanted to get in your “good books”, what is the best thing they can send you?

Initially, to be in my “good books”, I wanted to be intrigued by their photo, it really has to capture their spirit on a good day! I say that because a peeve of mine, is the ‘angst ridden, killed in a past tragic life’, pose. Show me your character, smile. Include a resume. And be creative with the cover letter.

Address it to me personally. “Spoon feed me”, tell me about your range of characters, your goals as an actor. Once on board with my company, I trust that my talent will do their best to make us all look good, and create success with the ‘right’ project for them. I am impressed with an actor who stays fresh/keen, reviews how they could of done it better, and strives to improve their audition room skills.

Which actor do you admire most and why?

The actor I admire most would be, John Turturro ( check out imdb.com for his filmographies). I would see anything with him it. He is a brilliant character actor. He also writes & has directed some of his own scripts. The runners up are Stanley Tucci & Parker Posey.

Must see movies for actors?

I choose these specifically, because they are all about being a actor and quite illuminating. “A Midwinter’s Tale”, “Waiting for Guffman”, “Withnail & I”, “Girl 6”, and “Illuminata”, all available at Videomatica

If there was one thing about this industry that you could change, what would it be?

The general lack of respect for actors. The industry is based on a system of hierarchy, most in it are lovely & supportive, but there can be power misused and that, fueled with loads of ego, makes for a volatile mix. I think, that some agents & casting directors forget that we are only as good as the local talent. I hear horror stories from actors constantly, and I feel it is criminal to demean somebody, especially when they are putting themselves on the line creatively for you.

If the local film industry was like “Survivor”, who would you vote out and why?

The industry is like ‘Survivor’, those who should be voted off, either disqualify themselves quite naturally, or they stick it out and harden into an industry survivor.

Do you have any interesting or funny stories you’d like to share with us?

I am always amused by the caller who announces that he wants to be an actor, to whom I say my usual thing about what to mail, and then they say “well they have no specific acting experience, but they were the lead in a production in grade 8, they act every day on the job as sales person, and how hard could it be to deliver a line or two, it’s like faking or pretending-right?” I wonder if the same people call up a doctor’s office, inquiring about work as a Doctor on the premise that they sort of dress like a doctor, and they watch ER faithfully.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell the local acting community?

Good luck, and feel free to call me if you have any questions.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Luis G Canton January 20, 2009 at 11:23 pm

Hello Dear Pamela:
I have a question for you. I recently moved to Montreal from Vancouver. I used to have an agent in Vancouver. I moved to Montreal to become fluent in french, but I am realizing that eventually I will have to move back to Vancouver or Toronto if I want to stay in the bussiness as there are more things going on in the film Industry in those cities. My question is:: Do you know of any film schools in Montreal ?? I do not want to loose exposure so I am willing to do student films.
Thank you for your time
Luis G Canton

Maia May 9, 2009 at 5:11 am

Hello,

I am to a point in my life when I need to pursue what I love. I want to go back to shcool and study scriptwriting. Ive always loved theatre and film, and would love to persue a career, either in casting or production. I dont have experience, a part of knowing deep down that I have the eye to notice talent. It sounds bizar to say that, but I am confident that I would be great. Im a artist within, has I play guitar, design my own close and studied the art of photograhy in college. If you can give me some advise, on how to get more experience, I would love to have an entry level job in a casting agency, but I would like to know wich one to go to, either in Montreal, or Toronto?
Thank you,
Maia

Anita November 2, 2010 at 9:34 pm

Hi Pamela,
I have been interested in becoming a talent agent for quite some time now, and seemingly enough for many of the same reasons as you listed above. I was wondering if you can shed some light on how I can get into the business? I have not yet attained a job at any agencies. I am a independent young woman who wants to make a name for myself in this business. Any feedback from you would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you, and i hope to hear from you soon,
Anita

Don MacLaurin December 24, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Hi Pamela…. Unfortunately I left your personal e-mail address back in Whistler when we lefy for Tasmania Australia…where we are now. Would love to get in contact with you via e-mail while we are here. Just send me an e-mail at our e-mail address, and I will get back to you. Hope you are having a great Christmas in your new home !
Cheers…. Don Maclaurin

Richard Rowsell September 21, 2011 at 11:59 am

Hi Pamela, I was once working with the Marie Morten Talent Agency, years ago, and now I’ve just retired from 22 years with Telus and was hoping to get back into the industry. I worked on various series ( McIver, Wiseguy) a few movies ( Runaway with Tom Selleck and Gene Simmons, Secrets of a Married Man with William Shatner and Michelle Phillips, The Fly II with Eric Stoltz ) and also a commercial for The Bay through Maria Typell Agencies, and a photo shoot for Bright’s Wines which was placed in a variety of BC magazines. I seem to remember that Sid Kozak about out Marie’s agency ( again many years ago) and I was wondering how I could go about re-applying to get back into the industry. Is it still a case of a black & white 8×10 with resume or is there a method now done online. Appreicate any help you might be able to give me on this . Cheers and all the best. :-)

michele irene May 23, 2012 at 7:33 am

hi my name is michele irene i live in vancouver and i need a acting agent to help me with my carree. i have done a lot of acting and plays i belong to a threater company called threater terrific i have been there for three years. i really enjoy acting, i work well with others i have done five fringed shows. i am very creative person. i am always make sure i am on time. i am very commited. to my work and i like to have a lot of fun. i dont have a car but i do take a bus. thank you

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