Photos by Jeffrey Mosier & Matt Madison-Clark
Barry Anderson is an actor, singer, dancer, composer, host & long time client of The Price Group agency.
Broadway credits include Jersey Boys, Legally Blonde, and 30 Rock on NBC. Here we have The Price Group’s interview with Barry where he chats with us about his first big performance, when he decided to become an actor, and his biggest obstacles.
How Actors Can Get Ahead (An Interview with Lisa Price, Talent Agent) by James David Larson
Name: Lisa Price
Hometown: Lower East Side of NYC
Education: Grades K-12 at the United Nations International School. International Baccalaureate degrees in Art and French. BA in Literature and Theatre from SUNY Purchase. Groundlings in L.A. HB Studios in NYC.
Every credit is an amazing one. When I get to deliver the news that our client booked Broadway, TV, Film or any other project they are passionate about, it is my favorite moment.
How did you become an agent?
I studied acting and directing early on, but after college I began as a casting director at the San Diego Repertory Theatre. Then I moved to Los Angeles and started working in production on movies of the week and other television series. When I had to move back to New York because my mother was sick with pancreatic cancer, I thought to myself: I’ve been an actor, I’ve directed, I’ve been a casting director…what could the next step be? I responded to an ad for an agent’s assistant at the infamous Beverly Anderson Agency, and when we met, it was kismet. Beverly said she saw things in me that she’d seen in herself years ago, and she took me under her wing and groomed me to be a talent agent. When she passed away, I took it hard, and rather than going to work for someone else, I opened The Price Group. That was late 2007. It seems I found my calling in life: the perfect mix of entertainment and sales. Selling those cookies door to door when I was 14 really paid off!
What’s your favorite part about being an agent?
My favorite part about being an agent is twofold. There’s nothing quite like conducting a negotiation: really looking after a client and helping them get compensated for the hard work that they do. The other element that brings me great joy in being an agent is delivering the news to a client that they booked the job: whether it’s a Broadway debut or recurring role on a TV series, or even a commercial booking, there is nothing quite like passing along an offer.
You teach master classes, is that correct?
Yes, I teach master classes and I coach actors at universities across the United States. I have a lot of information to offer after all.
What is your teaching philosophy? What do you do with (or tell) students?
Plain and simple: be truly and honestly committed to your craft. I know from personal experience that hard work pays off!
Any shows you’re dying to see? If so, why?
I was was lucky enough to see Hamilton very early on and it really made a massive impact on me. Watching Hamilton was like seeing something brand new being invented. It was like going from a Sony Walkman to an iPod if you know what I mean. I recently saw Fool For Love, which is one of my favorite Sam Shepard plays. The last time I saw one of his plays was True West starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C Reilly in which they alternated roles. That had to be more than 15 years ago. I’d like to see Fun Home. I’ve yet to see that.
What’s one misconception you think actors have about agents?
There’s a couple of misconceptions that actors have about agents. The one at the top of my list is the idea that they (the talent) can sit back and simply wait while their agents work hard on their behalf to secure auditions for them. Nobody sits back and does nothing. The actor has to be president of their own corporation, and it’s their responsibility to sell themselves by getting out to networking events and casting director seminars, circulating their head shots, and taking control of their own career. Only then are they in the position to secure a competent agent who will work as a partner in their team. A team can be far more powerful and get much further than just a single individual. The other misconception I think is that if the actor isn’t getting any auditions, the agent must not be working hard enough. I hear this from actors that request meetings with me. They complain about their current agent, saying that they’re not getting them any appointments. The truth of the matter is that agent could be submitting them regularly, and even pushing, but just not securing auditions. You can’t blame the agent completely for that. An actor and their representative must work in conjunction with one another as a machine.
What’s the best way for an actor to get noticed by you—open calls via Equity, meet and greets, self submissions, referrals, etc?
Referrals are probably the number one way to get in front of me and The Price Group. Second to that would be agent seminars through any of the numerous companies in New York, like Actors Connection. We are looking for performers who love what they do and are really skilled at it. If you do get in front of me, show me you can sing or act or dance. Don’t waste time with long letters or emails. Send us links to your work and let your art speak for itself. We also look at every submission that comes in by mail. I am a fan of the old fashioned system of mailing your picture and resume out. I don’t mind taking the time to look up your website if I like your headshot and resume.
If you could give one piece of advice to an actor auditioning for you, what would it be?
I guess the one piece of advice I would give an actor who is auditioning for me is to remember that this is an opportunity to perform and share with me what they love to do. Don’t put on a show, don’t try too hard, just try to be private in public and show me the sincere joy that you find in performing. Actors have to remember that agents and casting directors are all on their side, we are hoping that they are going to be something special. Our job is to discover and nurture outstanding talent, so don’t let nerves get the better of you. When you audition for an agent, you’re walking in without a job and you’re walking out without a job, so you might as well just put your best foot forward.
If you could give a client of yours one piece of advice for auditions in general, what would it be?
Don’t kiss ass. Don’t look desperate. Take every audition opportunity seriously and enjoy your moments to perform. Sometimes the material seems silly but keep in mind that it may not be intended that way so find the truth in it and work with that. Once, I passed along sides from a science fiction project and my client laughed through her lines the first time through. I told her that if she didn’t take the material seriously, I would give it to an actor that would.
How about advice for actors auditioning for various mediums—Theater, TV, Film, Commercial, Print and New Media?
Have an understanding of the specific medium you are auditioning for. An on-camera audition is very different from a theatre audition. There are different techniques for each medium. Understand them and put them into practice appropriately.
What qualities do you look for when seeking new clients?
I’m looking for magic and goosebumps.
What’s the best way for an actor to follow up with you?
Be persistent but follow our instructions. If we ask you to follow up then let us know by email or post card when you have booked a new job but if we say, “no thank you” then respect our words and ease up.
Any exciting projects your clients have booked recently?
Our client Karina Ortiz is making waves over at Orange Is The New Black playing the recurring role of Margarita. It’s been a joy ride to help guide her career over the last two years and we have enjoyed all of her bookings from Old Navy to Royal Pains and now she is doing a reading of a new play with Austin Pendleton called City Girls and Desperadoes. Our client Benny Elledge went from the face of Sweetbay Supermarkets to Blue Bloods and both regional productions of Nerds. NERDS will open on Broadway in 2016 at the Longacre Theatre.
Truth is, every project The Price Group clients book, is an “exciting” one!
What TV shows/films are on your Netflix (or imaginary Netflix) cue?
House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Grace and Frankie, Arrested Development…Degrassi: The Next Generation.
What are your favorite activities outside of ‘the industry’?
I LIVE for this industry. There is nothing else.
What’s the meaning of life?
Theatre, food, love and shoes. In that order.
Where can actors learn more about you or about what you currently have going on?
Our website is www.thepricegrouptalentagency.com
Our Facebook Fan Page is: https://www.facebook.com/thepricegrouptalent
Arica Jackson is an extraordinary performer who has been with The Price Group since graduating Carnegie Mellon.
Lisa Price is the founder and Head Talent Agent at The Price Group.