SAG AGENT OF THE MONTH: ORION BARNES, ROGERS ORION TALENT AGENCY
Submitted by: SAG Member Ginette Rhodes
I came here from New York City, where I had worked professionally for years, doing a lot of New York theater. I was warned that L.A. agents don’t always respect or consider theater when looking for clients, and I found that to be a little true. When I met Orion at a showcase there was another agent who made it clear that he was not looking to "develop" clients, and that theater credits were not in consideration. Orion immediately let me know that he respected and admired theater training and experience, and we went from there!
Orion was an actor and has a background in fight choreography so he has a strong connection and understanding of what it is like on our side of the biz. It is not an "us vs. them" situation with him. He is in the trenches with his clients, which really brings him a humanity and connection to us.
When I first signed with Orion I was short on TV credits. He saw a role as a series regular on an upcoming pilot that he felt would be really suited for me, and he went the extra mile by pitching me and hand delivering my picture. I got three auditions and went to Producers. The following year, the same thing happened. He had my picture and resume hand delivered to a top casting director and I ended up getting an audition and getting all the way to Producers for the series lead in a network sitcom. Orion does not follow "rules" for actors (e.g., that actors with guest star credits can only be submitted for guest star roles, etc). I have many friends who miss out on possible jobs because their agents will only submit them for lead roles, or the opposite...will not even attempt to get them in for leads if they are lacking "credits." Orion bases it on who is right for what, and bases it on your work, type, experience, etc. Orion has been known to call casting people for feedback for me, called to pitch me, and followed through after auditions for me. He does NOT drop the ball after the audition. He realizes that there is always more.
In terms of availability, Orion has an open door policy. That is so amazing. I have been able to have sit down "check in's" with him, where I keep him up to date on casting people I may have met on my own, classes I have taken, where I am at emotionally about the biz, etc. Orion is truly “salt of the earth." Agents get bad raps sometimes, and not all deserve it. They are in a tough business, where they do NOT get paid until their clients get jobs. And that can possibly bring stress, negativity and fear of the unknown. Some want to only work with actors who show up at their offices with tons of established credits, be easy fits, and not have to be "developed." Orion, in my experience, works from a different place. He loves the business, he is committed to his clients, and he finds actors he BELIEVES in. Period.
SAG Member Ginette Rhodes
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