Joy Pervis – Atlanta/Los Angeles Talent Agent

Joy Pervis, this Atlanta agent is setting Hollywood on fire with some of the hottest young talent in film.

Discovering top talent is tough, but Joy Pervis seems to have a knack for it. She’s recognized in the film/TV industry for discovering, representing, and/or bringing to the forefront, some of today’s top child stars; Dakota Fanning, Raven-Symoné, Elle Fanning, Kyle Massey, and Lucas Till just to name a few.

I Am Entertainment Magazine got an opportunity to sit and talk with Joy Pervis about her many successes, and how she has been able to break talent from Atlanta, into the Hollywood mainstream.

As an agent, what is a typical day like for you and how many hours a day do you work?
Some days, I feel like I work 24/7. Actually, I start my work day at 9 am and finish between 7 – 8 pm. I have clients in the LA market and due to the 3 hour time-difference, I may end up working as late as 9 – 10 pm. An average work day consist of a lot of emails, phone calls, castings, appointments, and some audition taping for various projects.

In your opinion, what is the biggest misconception about talent agents?

I would have to say there are three. The first misconception is the agent is the one who actually book the talent on the job. An agent’s job is to market their talent, open the doors for opportunity, and negotiate contracts. However, it is up to them to book the job. The second is that an agent’s job is to guide and manage the talent’s career. Managing a person’s career is a full time job and we leave the managing up to the mangers. The third misconception would have to be this is a glamour job (laughs). While there are a lot of perks to the job, the agent’s primary responsibility is in the office dealing with phone calls, emails, casting, etc.

As Head Talent Scout for LA based The Osbrink Agency, and J Pervis Talent Agency in Atlanta, what does your job consist of?
Between August 1, 2007 through August (2009), I was strictly scouting for The Osbrink Agency. I traveled approximately 25 – 30 weekends per year all over the country to various events auditioning kids, teens, and young adults for The Osbrink Agency. Now that I’m back as an agent in Atlanta, I have curtailed a lot of my traveling. I still scout for them when I go to different events, but I also scout for J Pervis Talent Agency.

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You’re known in the business for discovering some of film’s hottest young actors, like Dakota Fanning and Lucas Till; what’s the toughest part about helping actors make the transition between Atlanta and LA?
The only actors I suggest relocate to LA are the ones who are ready. LA is a tough market to work in and you have to be ready to compete with the best of the best. If you are just getting started in the business, I recommend working in a local market, get on-set experience, and build your resume. Adults wanting to relocate to LA must be at least SAG eligible and have a strong theatrical reel. In addition, I recommend having your finances intact. The cost of living is a lot higher in LA than other regions of the country. I suggest budgeting a minimum of $5000 per month for housing, food, transportation, acting classes (Yes, this is a necessity!), entertainment, and day to day necessities. In addition, if you are going to take the jump into the LA market, you should plan to go for a minimum of three to six months. Realistically, most people do not book during those initial months, which is why almost all of the working actors that I have placed in LA are ones that have made a permanent move.

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I’ve heard a lot of talent say they’re going to LA for pilot season, and in many cases I know they don’t understand that they may be premature in their decision. What’s your take on that?
In past years, pilot season (between January and March) was the most popular and recommended time of year for new talent to go to LA with the hopes of landing a role in a pilot. In November 2007, the face of pilot season changed drastically when the writer’s went on strike. The three month strike went right through pilot season creating a halt on the creation and completion of pilot scripts. The strike virtually crippled film and television production. After the resolution, new televisions shows were being cast as straight to network with a 6 – 7 episode order. Versus spending millions of dollars on producing and testing numerous pilots, the networks put their money and energies into a select few. With this change, we are now seeing year-round pilot casting. With that said, January through March is still a good time to go, however, more people are choosing to go during episodic season which starts mid-July through the end of the year.

How important are an actor’s heashots and resume, and what do you look for in an actor’s submission for representation?
An actor’s headshot and resume is extremely important in the marketing process of the actor. Unless the casting director is familiar with the talent, it is the headshot that first grabs their attention as to whether they have the look for a particular role. Therefore, your headshot should be professional, clear, and stand out. For me, it’s about whether or not I connection with the actor’s eyes in the photo. I also like actors to have a diverse selection of photos.

In the past, an actor had one good theatrical head shot and one good commercial shot and the agents submitted a hardcopy. Now, most castings are electronic. Actors can have numerous selections on the various casting sites and we can select the photo that best fits the role. It makes submitting for castings a lot more accurate. As for the resume, it’s about their experience, their credits, and whether or not they are consistently working on their craft by being enrolled in a creditable actors’ studio. Training is big for me.