Interview with Talent Manager EILEEN O’FARRELL

Eileen O’Farrell
Talent Manager and owner of Eileen O’Farrell Personal Management

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down and interview my friend Eileen O’Farrell who is also a Talent Manager in Los Angeles.  Of course the people we work with tend to also become our friends and I work every day with Actors, Manager, Agents, Casting Directors so I know some of the greatest people. I feel very fortunate for that and to work in this amazing and creative business. Managers are different from each other and I thought I would take a moment to share with you how Eileen O’Farrell works with her actors.


WENDY:  Hi Eileen it’s terrific to be able to speak with you about your company and how you work with actors. My first question is….where do you find your clients?
EILEEN O’FARRELL: Mostly thru agent or CD referrals.

WENDY: You actors have appeared in more shows than I can count including Castle, 2 Broke Girls, Superstore, Fresh Off The Boat, Scandal, Revenge, Criminal Minds, The Have Nots, Shameless, Bones, CSI: Cyber, Jane the Virgin, Supernatural etc. How do you pick your clients? What do you have to see?


EILEEN O’FARRELL: I need to see a spark in their eyes. A brightness to them. They need to want it, and when they do, I can see that.


WENDY: My friend Josh Latzer is one of your long time clients. I have seen you have great success with him and he is booking a lot. Josh also is one of the coaches my clients use when they have auditions in addition to CDs Carol Goldwasser and Dan Shaner, Cheryl Faye, Holly Powell, Gloria Garayua and Kim Crandall. Who do you have your clients coach with when they have auditions?

 EILEEN O’FARRELL: Mostly CD’s who teach on-camera. Sam Stigletz, Holly Powell, Caroline Liem, Jeremy Gordon, Bruce Newberg.


WENDY: Actors are always wanting to be “pitched” by their managers to Casting Directors, in other words picking up the phone and personally suggesting your client for a role. When do you pitch on your actors?


EILEEN O’FARRELL: I pitch on Guest Star & above roles when the client is truly right for the role, IMO. I pitch when the client is good for a role and has pitch-able credits or experience, or talents.


WENDY: Yes that is the same for my company. An actor has to have credits that we can call casting with. If they have recently booked a co-star or guest star we draw attention to that to let casting know they are working actors. What is your relationship with casting directors? How do you network with them?


EILEEN O’FARRELL: I support them any way I can. Many have become my friends. I socialize with them at times, see their plays or projects when I can, things like that. Lots of phone friends.


WENDY: Did some of the kids you represent already have the credits when you signed them?




WENDY: Do you search out working actors to manage?


EILEEN O’FARRELL: Not really. I rely on referrals. If I see someone at a play that I love, I’ll check to see if they’re repped and if not, I might reach out.


WENDY: As a Manager what do you do for your clients?


EILEEN O’FARRELL: Depends on where they are in their career.  Most of my clients have agents but if they don’t, I try & find an agent that would fit well with them. I work the breakdowns in 3 regions, L.A., NY & the SE. I have an apt. in Atlanta that my clients use when they work in the region, to off-set the whole local hire thing. I provide my clients guidance with coaching & classes, headshots, PR, social media. I encourage them & champion them. I walk them off ledges when they despair, I’ve paid their phone bills, rent, car payments, classes, headshots & I’ve pulled their dead cats from beneath their beds when they were beyond grief. In other words, I do all the stuff good managers do.


WENDY:  I can relate to that. I have paid for actor’s classes, headshots, gas to get to auditions, online casting subscriptions – even my assistant’s rent once or twice. IMO Going above and beyond is what good managers do. What management jobs do you have after they start on a series? Are you involved with their publicity?

Learn about live tweeting:
EILEEN O’FARRELL: I set up meetings with publicists, walk the red carpets, stay with them until they feel comfortable and then pull back when they feel like pros. I check in with them always & encourage them. I have taught my clients to ‘live tweet’, set up their twitter accounts, and helped to promote them to the best of my ability as a manager who is not a publicist!

WENDY: How do you make money as a talent manager?


EILEEN O’FARRELL: Well, I only commission on film & TV. No commercials, no VO, no print. I feel that since I don’t submit on commercials, etc. , I shouldn’t commission on it. So, my commission is 15% on all theatrical jobs & this includes all residuals. Checks go to clients direct & they pay me. And in the SE regions, I only commission my clients after I’ve got them going in L.A.


WENDY: This is a business and we both work very hard at it to make money. Where do you make the most money from actors?


EILEEN O’FARRELL: For me, I make the most $ on clients who are series regulars & heavily recurring characters. But I have a strong core group of actors who work consistently as Guest Stars & Co-Stars. It all adds up.


WENDY: How long does it usually take for your clients to start making money?


EILEEN O’FARRELL: Everyone has a different path. A few take off immediately while the majority need time to find their stride, their mojo. For most of my clients it’s a steady build up. I find the actors who put the most effort & focus into their careers, rise steadily.


WENDY: Eileen we have come to the end of our interview and I am so grateful you have taken the time to help me educate actors. I have one final question, what do YOU think makes an actor successful?

 EILEEN O’FARRELL: It just depends. An actor who is in always in a class, always learning & growing as an actor & a human being, who handles the mundane parts of the business without whining or procrastinating, ie. updates their pics on a regular basis, makes themselves available to audition, knows when it’s acceptable to leave town, learns how to self-tape properly when out of town, knows the value of networking & social media, has a positive attitude, develops confidence… these actors usually find success in my experience. I believe one has to decide that this is their life & they’re going to go for the gold and fully commit. Time wise, it varies.
Wow! Thank you Eileen I love learning from my friends and sharing the information with upcoming actors. If you want more insider information please continue to watch my videos on You Tube, read this blog and visit my coaching website SECRETS OF A HOLLYWOOD TALENT MANAGER.
Follow Eileen on Twitter:

The latest Tweets from Eileen O’Farrell (@ofarrelltalent). L.A. and Atlanta Talent Manager, Animal Lover, DogMom to Ruby, Kitty parent to Penny.

See you on the Red Carpet!

Talent Manager WAW Entertainment 
Facebook: wawentertainment
Twitter: @WAW_wendyalane



Wendy Alane Wright is a Hollywood talent manager and the president of WAW Entertainment. Her clients have appeared on television networks such as ABC, NBC, TNT, CBS, Comedy Central, BIO, Lifetime, and more. They have booked TV shows including “Modern Family,” “Blackish,” “Extant,” “The Colony,” “Animal Kingdom,” “My Haunted House,” and “Henry Danger,” as well as hundreds of commercials for major spots including Shutterfly, Mercedes, Visa, Taco Bell, Honda, Legos, Hot Wheels, and many more. Prior to being a manager and a talent agent at Burn Down Entertainment, Wright assisted many high profile managers, agents, and publicists. For 20 years she was a recording artist, actor, and music producer, and is now the author of five books called, “Secrets of a Hollywood Talent Manager.” Wright teaches the business of acting all over the country and is on the faculty of schools including the New York Studio for Stage and Screen in North Carolina and LA Acting Academy in Phoenix, Arizona. For years she has appeared in numerous magazines, and on radio shows and talk shows including “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

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