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Published: I AM Entertainment Magazine, MAY/JUNE 2012 - Volume 3, Issue 16
Interview by:
Candy Freeman (I Am Entertainment Magazine)

Brenda Pauley has discovered some of the film & TV industry’s top actors. With several Disney stars and primetime network television actors
on her list of breakthrough artists, Brenda is by far one of Atlanta’s best agents.

IAE: Please tell us where you’re from and what got you interested in a career in film/TV?
I was born and raised in a small town in Utah. At a very young age I was engaged in the arts, always looking for opportunities to perform on stage or
in talent contests, so it [entertainment] was definitely a big part of my life. I knew I would work in some sort of an artistic endeavor.

IAE: How did you get involved in working as a talent agent?
I became interested in being an agent after moving to LA. I got my start working in the LA market with my daughter’s personal talent manager, Nina
Tobin. She took me under her wings and taught me the ropes of management and the ins and outs of the talent business. After working under her
guidance, she retired and I took over her clients. From there, I received an offer to be an agent with a literary talent agency where I was hired to open
and run the theatrical and commercial departments. I remained there until I moved to Atlanta.

IAE: As a key player in discovering Dakota Fanning, Raven-Symone, Kyle Massey and DJ Qualls, what are the key qualities you look for in
new talent?
I believe the key qualities are charisma, personality and a natural ability to shine for an audience. I also believe that our business draws exceptional
adults, as well as kids, and they are all very bright and gifted. It’s really not hard to tell when that special talent walks into the room because it’s always

IAE: Before an actor submits their resume to People Store for consideration, what should they do first to help them stand out from the
thousands of other actors submitting?
A good resume is the number one tool. When I look at a resume I want to see recognizable credits in TV and Film. I also want to see a strong history
of training; it stands out to me when an actor has a background in theatre.

IAE: Most actors dream of moving to LA and becoming big stars. What would you recommend they do before entering the LA market?
Before you move to LA you need to be very prepared; this means taking classes and studying with a reputable coach, as well as having a good
resume with recent credits. But I think the most important thing is to have a good reel. In my opinion you shouldn’t even consider going to LA if you
haven’t worked in this [Atlanta] market [or any other secondary market], unless it’s just to train.
    What I’ve seen from many actors is, once they get one or two credits on their resume they believe they’re ready to go to LA. If you have a lead in a
successful feature film it’s a little different because then you will be recognizable as a talent. But even then, it’s still very difficult to break into Hollywood. A
lot of times, when young actors come to me and are really set on moving out to Los Angeles, I counsel them to go there and study for a good year or two.
    For older actors who are considering moving to LA, unless they are beating out LA actors for roles and getting leads in a major feature films from here
[Atlanta], I think they are better off staying in this market and working because of the amount of work in Atlanta and the Southeast. Although, it’s never
too late for adult actors, there are some who go to LA and wind up making it. But I believe most actors have a better chance at booking really great
supporting roles and leads here.

IAE: Some people may think your job is easy, take us through an average day for you?
It varies, but for the most part a normal day involves doing my breakdowns and answer emails. Then, when I get to the office I almost always work
straight through my lunch and wind up eating at my desk. I’m answering client phone calls, setting up auditions, negotiating contracts and speaking with
managers and agents in which we co-handle clients. We typically don’t leave [People Store] until 7pm, and sometimes later than that; but we’re on call
    There have been times when I have received phone calls from casting directors past 10:30pm. That happened recently when an LA casting director
called me at midnight and we [People Store] had to have a talent on the plane to LA the next day. So, my days are unpredictable.

IAE: For the person who is interested in becoming a talent agent, what advice would you like to give them on what steps they need to
take and what they can expect from this job?
The only way to learn an agents job is to intern at a good agency. Expect a lot of hard work, late hours and many last minute requests. This is
definitely not a job for anyone who can’t handle pressure or rejection. Being an agent is extremely time consuming and you really have to love what you
do. You have to be passionate about the business in order to be successful, and you have to enjoy guiding actors throughout their careers and helping
them accomplish their dreams.

IAE: What improvement would you like to see in film and television as it relates to what you do as an agent?
At the level of the producers, directors, and studio executives, I would love to see them start really trusting regional talent for larger roles; something
they are beginning to do more of. In my opinion, local talent in smaller markets should be given just as much credit as local talent in larger markets. A lot
of times they [production] feel that the local talent shouldn’t get the guest star credit for the role, but if the actor would have came out of LA then they
would definitely get the guest star credit and pay. You even see it when an actor moves to Atlanta from LA who has been very successful in the LA market
and has a star name; they [production] still want to consider the actor a local hire and they’re not. They’ve worked their entire life and deserve to be paid
what they get in LA, regardless of where they live. I would like to see that change for our [Atlanta] market, and we have been fighting for that change to
take place. But I think that things are slowly starting to change for the better. We are proud to say we now have 5 series regulars and the new
(Revolution) was just picked up by NBC.
Pictured: Brenda Pauley  (Courtesy of People Store, Inc.)
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