Selling your skill set in a town like Hollywood can be like selling oranges in Florida. There’s so much competition everywhere you look; how do you even begin to stand out in the crowd?
You may have the talent, but sometimes even that isn’t enough. If you’re hoping to break through in the entertainment industry, you need to know the right people.
Maureen Toth is one of those people to know. If you’ve seen Breaking Bad, Straight Outta Compton or The Walking Dead, you know her work. Toth is the owner of the biggest “below the line” talent agency in Hollywood, Eastern Talent Agency. Her clientele isn’t headlining the box office hits. Rather, she represents the gifted artists who designed the costumes, edited the video and sculpted the hair and makeup.
“Below the line refers to all the moving parts that execute the vision of each storyline,” Toth says.
Toth’s 15 years of experience networking creative minds to new opportunities is turning out award-winning movies and TV shows. She appreciates the recognition for her clients who literally work behind-the-scenes, but “helping people get to where they want to go” is really what drives her work.
That’s no simple task in such a highly competitive industry, where getting so much as a foot in the door can take some people their entire careers. But, Toth excels at it. How? And why would she be willing to share her advice? As a performer herself, Toth says “I know how hard it can be to sell myself and I understand some people don’t love to do that. That’s why I enjoy being a voice to the humble.”
Her secret to success
Drama queens, beware. Your part may have been written into the script, but there’s little chance producers actually want to work with a real one.
“Sometimes the entertainment industry has a reputation that bad behavior is rewarded. In my experience, you do have to have talent, but being a thoughtful, kind, pleasant person to work with goes a long way.”
Toth has struck deals with all the major networks and with countless film producers. No matter the stakes, she says she can always a sell a client who keeps up meaningful relationships.
“All my big deals have been assisted by these principals.”
Authenticity, she warns, is vital to building your contact list. The seasoned executives can detect networking for networking’s sake.
“I think the best way to network and sell yourself is not to do their overtly. Be careful about your goals when getting to know people. If you establish great relationships with great people, then you’re golden.”
Toth says this theory applies to other competitive industries, as well. But when it comes to executing a show or film, on which thousands of creative minds are converging, the value of collaborating with gracious people is extremely high.
“Of course, you won’t be able to befriend and please everyone. But, you do your best. If it doesn’t work out, you have to move on.”
Don’t let the competition get the best of you
This is where Toth shares an important lesson in surviving what can be cut-throat competition. As an agent, even she has to admit she doesn’t have “ultimate control.”
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