Just when you thought the line-up for Actors Pro Expo couldn’t get more exciting, it does! Mark Jermin Management, one of the UK’s leading and largest talent agencies, is attending the event and on the hunt for fresh new talent. The agency represents some of today’s top talent, and they have actors in Wednesday, Heartstopper, Waterloo Road, Ted Lasso and someone in every British soap, to name drop a few. Don’t worry about having to spot them in the crowd, as the agency has a booth where they will meet with actors, take CVs and offer advice.
Scouting for adult actors are agent Molly Jackson who Mark describes as his right arm and plays a central role at MJM in finding and nurturing talent, and experienced talent scout Maisie Thornton. MJM’s Head Acting Coach Hannah Morgan will also be in attendance, and is Netflix and Disney’s preferred acting coach for young talent, Hannah specialises in green screen and animation, and past projects include Netflix’s Pinocchio and Disney’s Flora & Ulysses. All three are industry professionals, and on the day will be looking for actors to adhere to the ever-changing trends and demands of the casting industry.
Founder Mark started in the industry aged sixteen as a drama teacher and was an agent by the age of twenty-one. Mark worked at Ravenscourt school as a drama teacher and agent, and doing both roles allowed him to understand what his students were good at. This meant when a casting came in that required an emotional range, Mark could try that out with his students to prepare them. This is a concept that Mark has grown and developed within Mark Jermin Management, where they train actors while also getting to know them and their skillset, and is what sets them apart from other agencies. Mark sat down with Actors Pro Expo to talk about the industry and answer all our agent-related questions.
How do you think the industry has changed since you started?
Diversity is the biggest change, as this is an industry that goes through waves and trends. Back when I started, the archetypical family of mum, dad, daughter, and son has evolved to match the times, and we are now seeing blended families, lots of different types of teenagers, and non-binary roles. For example, Netflix’s Wednesday has brought the gothic teen trend back, and HBO’s Euphoria ground-breaking casting has definitely changed casting types. As agents we need to keep on top of the trends and make sure we have the actors to meet the demand.
How and where do you look for talent?
Before the lockdown, we had 14 stage schools across the M4 corridor from Wales all the way up to London. During lockdown, we were one of the first companies to move everything online, and that concept really worked for us. We found a new way of working, and as a result, the company grew and allowed us to teach hundreds of children and adult actors on Zoom, which is also a great way to scout for new talent. Meeting clients online is our predominant method as it’s instant, although we still do the more traditional routes, such as attending showcases. The agency is based in Wales, but we also do agency pop-ups in Manchester and London to scout talent there.
What are you looking for at Actors Pro Expo?
Fresh new talent and engaging actors who bring something new! We want to spread some positivity as this is a hard industry but also a brilliant industry, and after the difficult couple of years the industry has had, it’s all about working together and giving back. It’s always nice to give back, as this industry has given me so much. I attended the Young Actors Expo and thought it was such a great concept that had a lovely comradery in all the workshops, and when we heard about the adult one, we wanted to be a part of that too.
What are the dos and don’ts when looking for an agent?
I think the headshot is one of the most important things and is the first thing I look at before a CV. This is the only industry in the world where you need to submit a photo of what you look like, so it is really important. The cover letter should be short and sweet, as less is more. We like to work with nice people, but I do like people who are front-footed like myself as I believe you can’t get anywhere without putting yourself out there.
Energy is very important as people really buy into that. As an agent, we need to understand if we want to work with this person and when people try too hard, it can be off-putting, so it’s all about finding that balance. Also listen to what the panel suggests as opposed to presenting a sales pitch. These are industry professionals, so if they recommend getting new headshots, then take that advice onboard. I would also say be aware of boundaries, as it’s a very busy day, and if you’re taking up too much of the panel’s time, it might get frustrating. We want to share the love on the day and see as many people as we can.
How should actors prepare if you invite them for a meeting?
Have your CV and photograph ready, and make sure to do some research on the company to warm up the conversation. Prepare a couple of different topics to talk about; it could be headshots or questions about the industry, I recommend having at least three things to talk about.
What makes Mark Jermin Management different?
I have been doing this for thirty years, and as an agent I am really honest, and being straightforward and fully transparent about how we work is what sets us apart. I always say there is a job out there for every single person, and we get casting breakdowns for all different types of people and the industry is open to everyone as opposed to ten years ago when it was more limited. Today everyone is celebrated, which is a great thing.
Actors Pro Exo are delighted to offer performers this incredible opportunity to meet the fantastic team at Mark Jermin Management. Molly, Maisie, and Hannah will be looking for future talent, and who knows, it could be you.