Breaking new talent into the entertainment industry is an artform that Dr. Holly Carter has learned to master. Her track record in the film,TV and music industries spans two decades and is highlighted by her integrity in leadership. Here, Dr. Carter shares how she made it and offers some key advice for industry aspirants.
Where are you from and what inspired you to pursue a career in entertainment?
I am from California, and I grew up in a family that was musically inclined. My parents and sister all sang and my brothers played the drums. I attended a performing arts high school and knew I wanted to be in the entertainment business in some facet; I just didn’t know exactly which facet it would be until I actually got into the business.
What was your first full time job in the entertainment business and how did that opportunity come about?
I got my start working in television as a casting assistant for Monica Swann, who I met as a result of an internship I had as a production assistant at a tabloid news show called, HARD COPY. After working at HARD COPY, I began casting infomercials and somehow got connected with Monica and began working for her. At the time, Monica Swann was casting [talent for] shows like THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL AIR, ROC and IN LIVING COLOR.
Why did you decide to become a talent rep and how did your career in casting help you as a manager?
I decided that I really wanted to help talented people realize their dreams, especially people of faith; I figured that would be my contribution to entertainment. So, I spent many years working on the agent side of talent representation before making the organic transition into management production. That included branding artists I represented, and creating and packaging television and film projects in the lane of inspirational family entertainment.
What do you do as a talent manager?
My job is to create opportunities for the talent I represent, in areas that could give them a platform to do more and reflect more of who they are as a talent. I am here to help expand the message of who my clients are as artists.
What is a typical day like for you?
My day consists of many things; from reading scripts to making deals for my clients with executives at studios, TV networks and production companies. I also spend time working with writers and directors, listening to music, pitching and finding opportunities for my clients; for example, I recently arranged a deal with AMC Theatres to put my client, Deitrick Haddon’s, film, A BEAUTIFUL SOUL, into 22 markets. In addition to those things, I’m also
balancing the work that I do with my church and with the conference I created called, THE MERGE.
How did you maintain your integrity and make the right choices in your career?
I pray and fast a lot, and I surround myself with people who are grounded. We all make mistakes and there have been times where I’ve had to go back and right some wrongs, but you have to be honest with yourself and your intentions when expressing how you feel about things. Being honest and honorable enough to admit that you’re not perfect, and then be willing to right any wrongs and ask for forgiveness helps to keep you on the straight and narrow path of integrity, no matter what business you’re in.
What are the steps a person needs to take if they want to be a great talent rep?
Find someone with special talent and figure out a direction for them, and then create and execute your plan. It’s important to have relationships and learn the business. You have to be able to pick up the phone and make calls; be a strong networker and put yourself in places where the action and opportunities are. Creating and activating, then cultivating and maintaining key relationships in the business is what gives you the opportunity to open doors for your clients. If you don’t have that, then you don’t have a business.