— Submitted by Screen Actors Guild member Brandon K. Hampton
My name is Brandon Barnes and I am an actor represented by A&M Talent out of Santa Fe, New Mexico. I am writing today to inform you of one of the hardest working agents I have met in my life. Jody Black is one of the most giving individuals; without her I would be lost. It hurts for me to see her work non-stop, raise three growing boys, and juggle all the bills that need to be paid, all at the same time. Jody has been in my corner from day one. She’s brought me groceries as a starving college student with no money, provided transportation to auditions when I had no other way to make it, and she has taken me to dinner, at her expense, while feeding her own children. Many times I was confused about an audition, Jody was there. Many times I didn’t think I was good enough, Jody assured me. Many times I felt like giving up, Jody kept me going, assuring me that my time was coming. Even when I booked my first job on In Plain Sight, and they decided to recast, Jody was in my corner, not as some agent trying to make a buck, but as a friend and a mother saying “it’s alright, something else is coming…keep believing.” I know some agents prefer to remain disconnected from their talent, but Jody encourages all of us and is there whenever you need her.
I have seen how much pain she went through when the film incentives in the state were capped, productions moved out, and the emergence of the film industry waned. I was there. Jody has truly been in my corner since day one and never left and I would really like the world to understand how much she means to my life. I literally started addressing her as my guardian angel because she has always been there. She has always been strong and kept going for everyone. With the recent passing of the owner/director of the agency, Jody has been drenched in sorrow, pain, and tears, but she stood strong and assured her talent, her children, that everything will be okay. She’s only one person but I have witnessed her working submissions, making phone calls, answering phone calls, sending and receiving emails, and taping auditions by herself. Some agencies have five to 100 agents working…but at A&M, it’s mainly just Jody working hard for her talent. So if you asked me who the real Wonder Woman and Agent of the Month should be, I will affirm it is my friend, my second mom, my guardian angel, Jody Black.
Brandon K. Hampton
Are you represented by a terrific, franchised agent that you believe does not get the recognition that he or she deserves? Let us know and he or she may just be our next Agent of the Month. Send entries by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail to SAG Agent of the Month, SAG Agency Department, 5757 Wilshire Blvd., 7th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90036-3600. We look forward to hearing from you!