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The Actor’s Map to Entertainment


Question: I was approached by a talent agency when I was at the mall—I’ve thought about acting, but what do I need to watch out for? Jamie T., Des Moines, IA


According to The Traditional Music Li- brary, Old Timey music is “A pre-blue- grass string band style with country dance rhythms.” Lopshire reinforced this defini- tion, saying old time fiddle music is dance- able music that “our folks used to dance to” back in the days when a band was made up of a fiddle, a piano and some oth- er sort of string instrument.


Answer: Here’s the big one: You don’t have to pay to join an agency! The good, legiti- mate agencies will rarely approach you. In fact, it can be diffi cult to get an appoint- ment with a good, legitimate agency, much less get signed by them. A talent agency should make money in ONE way and that is a percentage paid by you for job that they send you out on. Therefore, a good, legitimate agency goes for quality, not quantity. If they have a 40 year old His- panic woman who books everything she goes out on, they probably are not going to take on many people in that same range— they don’t want to create more competi- tion for that one gem they already have. With that said and done, you DO absolutely need a headshot and a resume and train- ing. It could be that your agency has a great photographer that works with them, and they may teach great classes, but join- ing the agency should never be contingent on you using their photographers or taking their classes. In most cities, you can get a great headshot done for $150. So if you are paying $600 for headshots through an agency—they are probably paying their photographer $50 a headshot and they set up a whole day of headshots, so the pho- tographer does OK for a day’s work, but the agency REALLY rakes it in.


Lopshire was 67 when she learned how to play the fiddle. “There are many members like me,” she said. “Years after listening (to folks play music), we were able to take the time and learn how to play ourselves.”


The IOTFA has three organized groups. Two are in the Boise and Eagle area, and one is in Emmett. They are wonderful peo- ple who play at different care centers. They average eight or nine gigs a month. One group plays Monday nights for different care centers. One group gathers Wednes- day afternoons and also plays different care centers. The entire effort is a touching service to the community.


Mary said that the IOFTA is “always looking for members.” Many of the old time fiddlers have been around since the group was formed in 1967. Mary gave a laugh and said, “We’re aging and need new members!”


I implore you to join the Old Time Fiddlers the first Thursday of every month. Enjoy an evening of some of the best old time music, and if you play the fiddle or other instruments, they would love to have you join them. You don’t have to play music to enjoy it; old and young alike are encour- aged to take a listen.


If you are thinking about signing with any agency, Google them to see if there are any scam warnings, check with the Better Business Bureau—ask other actors about them—ask your local fi lm commission—go into ANY contract with your eyes wide open.


There is a members meeting that starts at 6 p.m. at the eagle senior center 312 E. State St. But around 6:30 p.m., the fiddlers are ready to play. The jam session lasts un- til about 8:30 or 9 p.m. Mary said they stay as long as they have players or until they get kicked out.


FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ACTING AND ENTERTAINMENT Send questions to Catrine McGregor-Unger at: c.mcgregor@mindspring.com www.theactorsmap.com


If you don’t live in the area, don’t fret. The IOTFA is a statewide organization deter- mined to keep old timey music alive and well. Visit their website for more informa- tion www.iotfa.org.


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