Episode 7 is all about agents, with my Adelaide agents from Buckland and Gun Management (aka AAA Talent).
We discuss the actor/agent relationship and how to enjoy the journey of acting rather than hoping for fame and fortune alone.
Being Adelaide based, we do focus on the South Australian industry particularly, which was very interesting in the discussions around how SA industry participants are all so open to collaboration in this state, both in the student film sector, independent film sector and professional sectors.
We discuss the journey of AAA Talent from when Nick and Carina bought it, to make it an agency to rival the traditional eastern states agencies that lure away actors from Adelaide.
A big part of Nick and Carina's agency philosophies, is in developing their actors to move from extra roles, to bit parts and then on to lead roles.
We also look at the differences of Australian agencies compared to the US model, that typically involves an agent, a commercial agent, a manager and likely a few other commission receiving entities.
And we finish up with talking about he complexities of an acting career for late bloomer actors who have to juggle their acting whilst still managing mortgages, family and bill paying careers.
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David John Clark 00:00:02
My guests today are Adelaide based acting agents and, in my biased opinion, two of the finest agents I know. They are the two leads behind AAA Talent, of which I am proud to be represented by, having taken over the agency quite a few years ago, they have endeavoured to keep it a boutique agency, boutique in that they know everyone on their books, so they can be fully immersive in their journey. They're both actors as well, with a love of theatre and screen, so they're well placed in knowing what is required of actors and how to support them. They've built up a wonderful relationship with industry representatives, casting agents, producers and filmmakers, not only in South Australia, but Australia wide, which has seen AAA actors as being placed in projects in all Australian states and now even overseas. Please welcome to the podcast Nick Buckland and Carina Gun.
Carina Gun 00:01:32
Hi, thanks for having us.
David John Clark 00:01:36
Thank you very much for agreeing to come on board. And I'm sort of on a role with differences in my podcast. Last month was my first in person interview, so I had Mr. Tim Hawkins sitting beside me, so I had some sort of technical fun trying to make sure that was working. And you guys are my first more than one person guest. So welcome. Thank you very much. Before diving a bit more deeply into the world of acting agents, can you each give us a bit of background about yourselves, where you grew up, a little bit about your acting journey, how you both met and how you both become directors of AAA Talent.
Nick Buckland 00:02:17
Carina Gun 00:02:18
Oh, wow. I'm Adelaide, born and bred and brought up in Lyndon Park, always wanted to act since I was four, putting on productions and acted all through. Went to classes when I was young, then became a teacher because I hated school. So, I put it right and became a teacher so kids could love learning and love coming to school and feeling safe and loved. So that led me to teaching acting wherever I could because that was my love. I ran my own business for 18 years, teaching children with poor coordination and learning difficulties, as well as those that came with a fun teaching a specialised phys ed programme, and then got into the dramatic movement and drama and then study counselling at university, which is also a wonderful aspect of understanding actors and people and characters and psychology is a big part of it. And then met Nick on stage, decided to get back to acting myself and not just teach it. So, Nick and I met when we were 45 and 50 as George and Mildred.
David John Clark 00:02:18
That's right, I remember that story.
Carina Gun 00:02:18
Yeah. And after that we started working together and then ended up together in life. So after about a year, I think it was about a year, our agent, who ran Adelaide Artist Agency at the time, was going into early retirement because she wanted to be able to travel and see her kids and offered us to purchase the business. And we sort of kicked each other under the table, like this would be perfect because it was a bit of a dream of ours to just immerse ourselves. And here we are, absolutely, what? Twelve years later, 13 years later, living the world of acting, working with wonderful actors and grown so much. After working from home for years, we now work down at Jetty Road, Glenelg, and got a wonderful team of people with us.
David John Clark 00:04:18
Yes, it's expanded a lot since I've been on board and it's a great location down at Glenelg, for sure.
Carina Gun 00:04:25
David John Clark 00:04:26
Nick: Now you've got an accent, so that's giving a little bit away.
Nick Buckland 00:04:30
Yeah, I've got a bromie accent. I'm from Birmingham and as soon as I say I'm from Birmingham, the accent comes out a little bit stronger. But yeah, I only moved to Australia when I was 50 in the year that Carina and I actually met on stage, so I'd moved over to Australia. My passion was acting as a teenager and that I was introduced to it by a teacher at my school. His name was Winky Turner. His name wasn't really Winky, but he had this little eye thing that he used to do when he was talking to us, winky. So Winky actually invited me to take part in a play when I was about twelve, maybe 13, and it was an all-boys school, so I played Angelique in a Molly airplay and I found it strangely liberating, even though it wasn't my greatest wish to play a girl. But I absolutely loved the whole experience, the whole stage experience, the whole process of working together and working as a team and entertaining, and I just threw myself into it. I went to a very academic school, so most of the teachers didn't actually approve of it, that it was too arty farty, but whatever, I still threw myself at it and had a great time, intended to follow that as a career, but it wasn't to be for many reasons, mostly family related issues. So, I ended up getting involved in work and mortgage and marriage and divorce and second mortgage and another one. And so, it went on until I reached the lovely age of 50 and thought, hang on, a second. I was going to be an actor, wasn't I? So, I actually came to Australia. And not because I wanted to be an actor, but I came to Australia for other reasons. I wanted to come here anyhow. I always had done for many years. Loved the approach of people here and the collaborative style of working with people, the openness. I thought, if I'm going to move to Australia and soak up this experience, maybe that's an opportunity for me to look at going back to acting. And that's exactly what I did. I came here and I thought, right, let's give it a go and see if I can get work. I've done loads of theatre work back in the UK over the years, but I was very interested to see if I could get involved in film and television, and that's what I did. And I found that having been involved in commerce for so many years, it put me in a good position. I had various sort of networking skills and techniques and ways of reaching out to people and exploring possibilities and what I couldn't get over here.... As I say, there's this beautiful openness of people when you reach out and say, hey, look, I'm interested in talking about something. Okay, mate, let's meet up and have a coffee. Really? That's easy. Okay, when can I pop in? Whenever you fancy, mate. You're going to be around? Yeah. And it was really like that. And I found myself getting in to talk to producers and directors and talking about projects, and in no time at all, I found myself being really busy with some of them were student projects, getting involved with unpaid film projects, but then getting a TV commercial, getting paid film projects, getting into another one. And it was all because I just threw myself out there and said, hey, look, I'm a 50-year-old Englishman and I got a lot of theatre experience, but I'd love to get involved in film and television. If you got any roles, I'd love to have a go at it and people come and have a go. And that was really when Chris decided that she was or felt that she was ready to leave the agency. And she spoke to Carina and I about it, it was basically on the back of the fact that she knew that I built up this lovely raft of connections and that's really what I love. I love the fact that we have this lovely rapport with filmmakers and content producers, that it comes from a shared enthusiasm to make entertainment.
David John Clark 00:09:01
For that door to open, to purchase AAA. It's almost like it was just meant to happen after everything you're done.
Carina Gun 00:09:07
It was known as Adelaide Artist Agency or AAA. And then we rebranded and thought, we need our own identity, so everybody was calling us AAA, so we thought, let's call it AAA Talent Agency. So, the three stars are actually three stars working together as a team, which the stars have been a logo in all our aspects of the business which has evolved yet again.
David John Clark 00:09:37
Just before I go on to my next question, you've also branched out with the branding of Buckland and Gun. How is that working with the AAA talent branding?
Nick Buckland 00:09:49
I think if we go back to our roots of the agency twelve years ago, as Carina says, it was Adelaide Artists Agency, AAA, and in those days there wasn't a tremendous amount of professional work happening in Adelaide. I don't think in the first twelve months, maybe even 24 months, we had a single TV series made and I can't even think of a feature film that was made in those first two years. We were doing bits of commercials and some corporate work and corporate training and so on. But not a film. Not a TV series. And they just weren't happening because there wasn't a vibrant industry here. Then when there was some investment. Government investment in the SA Film Corp. And the new studios. And to actually be able to boast that we've got one of the finest Folio studios in the southern hemisphere and this wonderful facility. And it started attracting business here that changed the industry. Which is fantastic. It was a blessing and we didn't know that was going to happen. But it was wonderful for us, especially as we'd had a couple of years to get our routines together and understand how we could run the business and how we could try and capture that sort of work. Anyhow Adelaide artist agency was too parochial for us. We were already aspiring to get people casting work interstate and it was no good as being known as an Adelaide agency and having Adelaide actors only, so we needed to be a little bit broader based. So, we lost the Adelaide. Artist was a little bit ambiguous. What's an artist? Well, some people think it's a painter, not a painter and decorator, or it could be a mime artist, or it could be a tattoo artist, it's just too ambiguous. So, we wanted to get rid of the artist. So, Adelaide artists agency became, as Carina says AAA. That's been great for us. But there's still without doubt that connection and association with the agency that was made up principally of people who were aspiring actors, people who hadn't necessarily had training. Most of the people who had training were going interstate because there wasn't an industry here. So those professional actors, those actors with the professional experience and professional qualification had to go and seek work elsewhere. Well, when that started to change, we became increasingly aware that we weren't attracting those people to our book. And it's important that we have professional actors on our book because that's what makes the casting directors want to talk to us. And if we're talking to casting directors then that's creating opportunities for everyone on the book. So having an established stable of professional actors means that we get to talk to casting directors on a very regular basis. That then takes us to Buckland and Gun Management, because we've now developed, established, accrued, whatever the correct word for this is. But we now have a very strong professional book of trained actors, experienced actors, actors with credits to their name in ranking productions. And casting directors are talking to us every day, numerous times about named actors, individual actors that they're asking to see. That means that our rapport is so much stronger. But what's also become apparent is that casting directors are a little bit confused about who are our professional actors and who aren't. So, one aspect of what we're trying to do is to say okay, here are our professional actors Buckland and Gun Management. And casting directors will have no doubt that those people are absolutely ready, practiced, experienced, know exactly what they're doing. They can walk into an audition, they can nail the audition, they can walk onto a set with top actors and deliver. And casting directors need to be assured of that. So, knowing that means that we have the respect, if you like, of casting directors to be giving them appropriate and capable people. It also means, however, that they're able to understand that sometimes we say, actually, we've got somebody who's developing at the moment we think you should see: how about this guy? How about this person? How about this young lady? And we can actually be introducing other people to that book.
David John Clark 00:15:06
From your AAA pool, so to speak.
Nick Buckland 00:15:09
Yeah, and the AAA pool we can now develop, we can help them and we can be getting them work in maybe the lower budget productions where there isn't that expectation that the casting directors and producers and directors will have where they are saying no, we're happy to look at new people. We're interested in seeing new people coming through and that's great. When we know that's on the cards and there are some castings that come through and the casting directors will say no, this is okay. We're okay to look at people who don't necessarily have experience with this one because we know that we might not find them for whatever reason. So, we're prepared to look wider. That's great. Then we don't have a problem. Then we don't have to be as necessary as I said, blinker, that's the wrong word, but as focused in that sort of top tier of professional actors.
Carina Gun 00:16:03
And then there are many castings that take place that need people that don't have to have so much experience. So, the more we can get AAA people who have got we have got experienced actors on there, but they may work full time and not always be available. Whereas Buckland and Gun people, this is their profession, this is what they do. And we only have a small group, we're closed and we're full on that. We've got people in Sydney and Melbourne on Buckland and Gun Management and AAA is just in Adelaide. And then we've got a new book again called BG Extras where we've got lots and lots of background extras because Adelaide are getting a lot of films now and TV series happening and to help the casting directors out, we have accumulated a good number of people that we can put forward and it became a little bit beyond the two of us. So now we've got a good team of people working with us.
David John Clark 00:16:56
Slowly expanding, isn't it? Or, quickly expanding. I think that's probably a great thing to see because if we look at the eastern states and a lot of my podcasts, we always talk about the difference between us being out and not the boondocks, but not being eastern states. So Western Australia and South Australia are quite similar. We don't have access to those big-name agents and they are the big-name agents, so they don't have extra books in that. So, you sort of miss that boat unless you've got that credit to get on board. So here we are in Adelaide. Now we have an arm that actually is the best of both worlds, isn't it?
Carina Gun 00:17:35
We get all the big top casting directors coming to us, the big films. We've just had a wonderful success with our lovely Stephan Tongan, who has just started the film with Spiderhead and his billboard is up in Times Square and we plucked him off the stage, so we were thrilled to get him that job. Somebody else has just been in a huge film in Melbourne. We've got talent in Melbourne and Sydney as well, but actors in Adelaide don't have to live there. Self-test can be filmed from here. We send them over. That's how these guys got these big films. And there's plenty more happening as well.
Nick Buckland 00:18:18
I think it's a great example that Carina has just given you and it's certainly not the only one. It's one of numerous that we have at the moment. We can't talk about all them because some of the films haven't been aired, so some of the projects are still in development, some of the projects are still in post-production. But what we have had a really good number of in the last six months, particularly because coming out of Covid, a lot of projects have gone into production and we've got a good number now of people who have joined us, a small number joined us as extras and decided to take it further forward and ended up being actors. And some of those have been actors. And Stephen Tongan is a great example. I hope he doesn't mind us mentioning him repeatedly. I'm sure he's loving every moment of it, but he's somebody who joined us, as Carina said, from Community Theatre and we saw him in a Fringe show and absolutely loved what he did and talking to him. He was performing with other actors on our book and said, look, you should come along and we'd love to try and get you some work. Now. He's ended up because there was a project here that was filming and there were support roles, but then there were one liners, bit parts, where they were open to suggestions from people who hadn't necessarily got lots of experience. And we were able to suggest loads of people. And we've got lots of people in films like Never Too Late, stuff like Escape from Pretoria, Stateless, all of these projects. We've had people in The Stranger, The Tourist.
Carina Gun 00:20:05
Nick Buckland 00:20:06
Yeah. And these are things that have happened in the last couple of years or so. And we've had lots of people in one liner roles, bit part roles, coming on as a police officer and having a couple of lines, maybe not even having a line, but actually having a presence on screen with named actors. We've got actors who've had 2,3,4,5 credits as a one line or in a bit part. Then they're getting to the point where we can now start putting them forward for larger parts, for larger roles. And that's exactly what happened with Stephen Tongan. He got four credits as bit parts in major projects. Each of those he'd had scenes with named actors. And we were able to put him forward when we saw a particular opportunity, interstate and we saw it, we weren't allowed to talk about it, it was highly confidential. But we saw an opportunity and Krystal, who works with us, Krystal Cave, lots of people will know Krystal. Krystal has sort of picked up and said, hey, what about this opportunity? Oh, gosh, you know who's right for that? And we were all, absolutely, let's put him forward. Let's see if we can get him in there. Let's just see if we can. And it's exciting because we put him forward, we pushed him, we praised him, we showed casting directors what he'd done. Yeah, absolutely. Let's have a look at him. Let's get an audition. So, we did a self-test. Self-test was great. They loved what we did. And went on to a callback and he was cast and it was beautiful. It was great. And that's what can happen. It has happened, of course. It's what so many and I'm not saying that in a negative sense, I'd love that to happen. I would love it. I'm happy doing anything I can because I just love being involved in the film process. So, I don't mind. I'll go on a set of an extra because I love being there and seeing what's happening, but I'll also be out there networking and trying to pick up work for other gigs with other actors.
Carina Gun 00:22:17
We never stop, even when we go out for dinner talking to people. Yeah, that's right.
David John Clark 00:22:24
Just quickly, can you explain because my podcast does go to the States as well. So, there's a big difference between agents in Australia and the US and I'm not 100% sure how they work in the UK, but what's your understanding of the difference between agents in Australia compared to the US versions? Because in the States they have agents both theatrical, commercial, they have a manager, they can have lawyers and a whole gamut of reps. So essentially, you're just doing the whole lot, is that correct?
Nick Buckland 00:22:54
Yeah, yeah, but I think that's look at population size, look at the population of South Australia and then look at the population. I mean, my identity would be go to England, go to London. Well, the population of London is greater than the whole of Australia where I'm from, over in Bristol, say. Where I'm from, where I was living for the last 20 odd years was in Bristol in the southwest of England. You go over there and population of Bristol is greater than the population of South Australia.
David John Clark 00:23:29
Nick Buckland 00:23:31
So, you have people who will work in a more channeled and focused direction. Because we have a smaller population. A smaller industry. Less opportunities. We end up being broader based in what we do. We have to be but that actually can work to our advantage because it means that we're able to follow here in South Australia particularly. We follow people through with a career. We can try and help people to go literally from school to being involved in community theatre and we can take somebody right all the way through the process to being in a Hollywood movie.
Carina Gun 00:24:14
We do and we love to follow our actors through. Sometimes I think people get a little bit impatient and think, oh, I should be put up for this, and it's like you're not ready yet. We're very protective of our actors and making sure that they put their best foot forward and if we don't feel that they're ready to do that, it could be damaging to their career. So, we want to help them get there. To where they need to be because we know that some people will go to agents and oh. I've been put forward. We know the people they're competing against and that all the best to everybody. We hope everybody gets there but we love to watch the fact that people are on this journey and I say we want to walk this walk with you and help you get follow your dream and we train our actors as well. Film their self-tests and that's been wonderful. I think. Aspect of both being actors as well and we've gained so much knowledge working with actors. Working in the profession. Working on films ourselves. We're continuously growing so therefore we can pass on the right things to our actors as well and guide them appropriately. Which is really important to us.
Nick Buckland 00:25:23
There's a point that Carina makes there about supporting actors and helping them and protect them, helping them to live their dream and yet at the same time protecting them and not exposing them, if you like, to, demands that would destroy them if they get into a really demanding role and all of a sudden, they feel out of their depth and it can be demotivating and demoralising. That's absolutely right. And it is something we have to keep in mind. There's another side to it and that's perhaps the side that I come from more, because I'm looking more at the developing opportunities side. Carina is looking more at the developing the actor’s side. So, I'm looking at relationships with the producers, relationships with the casting directors. And if we're putting up people who aren't ready yet, not only do we end up with a demoralised and demotivated actor, but we ended up with a discredited reputation for putting poor people who can't do what we say they can do. And there's another side of that as well, with the professional book. When we say that we're looking for people, the professional actors are in the professional book. To our mind, a professional actor is somebody whose first job and first priority is acting. Now, not everybody wants to say that or can say that. Some would like to be able to say it, but are not in a position to. Which means that when we say, okay, look, we've got this casting and you're going to have to go and do this, there's a guy in Adelaide who this weekend is upping sticks and moving to Melbourne for three months for a job. He has to give up his home because he can't continue renting it and he's going to go to Melbourne for three months. And during those three months, we're going to try and get him more work while he's in Melbourne so he can carry on working there or maybe he'll be able to go to Sydney afterwards. But that's a level of commitment and dedication that we respect and admire. But it's also the level of commitment and dedication that's required by some production companies and theatre companies. Because old Stephen, he couldn't tell people why he disappeared off the map. But for two and a half months he was gone. Nobody knew where he was and what he was doing.
Carina Gun 00:27:41
Now we can.
Nick Buckland 00:27:41
And then when he came back, he couldn't tell them what he'd done.
David John Clark 00:27:47
Anousha Zarkesh once told me that because I flew to Canberra for the audition and sort of not didn't get in trouble, but she said no, because for certain productions, I said, if you're not in location, there's production value. So, you have to be able to be in a position where you could commit. So, I understand that completely. If you're not a full-time actor, then you've got those restrictions and you look at my case, I work full time, I work my acting around that, and we know that and we work with it.
Nick Buckland 00:28:15
David John Clark 00:28:18
I've spoken to a lot of casting directors and some industry professionals and they all mentioned AAA in regards to how you submit for casting jobs that you actually do. You look at the casting, the brief, and you choose the best actors, as we've just discussed before, whereas a lot of other agencies around the country, they'll look, oh, they want a 24-year-old blonde female. They'll put all 50, 24-year-old blonde females forward. And so, then the casting director has got to go through and cull and find, okay, we're going to audition this ten. Whereas I think it's great that it's known in the industry that you guys will go through, find all your 24-year-old blonde actresses or actors or whatever the brief is on your books, and then say, who can do this role by looking at the character and looking at the storyline, knowing how that is.
Nick Buckland 00:29:07
Who do we believe is right?
Carina Gun 00:29:09
Who do we believe is the right person for the job?
Nick Buckland 00:29:14
You're probably not aware of this because it's been happening today. So, there's a little example of something that I'll share with you. Something we do that I don't want to tell you everything that we do that other agents don't do. Or we don't believe other agents don't do. Because I don't want to tell them how to do the job. Because they'll end up doing it like us. And then it will make it harder for us to compete. We lose our edge. But we do go interstate. We will go interstate if we have an opportunity, Carina, myself, Krystal, we'll go to Sydney, we'll go to Melbourne, and we'll go and meet casting directors. And if there's an opportunity, producers. It was in between Covid lockdown, wasn't it? We were in Melbourne. We went to Melbourne, and we spent a few days in Melbourne, and Carina was working with our actors and doing some coaching there. Krystal was there recruiting new actors and looking at new people, because she's responsible for the Melbourne book. And I was out going and meeting casting directors and talking to them, and the one particular casting director, who a lot of people would like to get seen by, but one particular casting director, we were sitting down, we were talking, I made an appointment, go to see him, and we sat down and we were talking about people on our book. I was talking about people that I really like him to see. And he shared with me the fact that for every job, unless it's got a degree of uniqueness, either by way of ethnicity or gender, orientation or specific skills like martial arts, unless it's got those sort of unique qualities to the casting, he would normally expect to see anything up to 400 applications per role. Yeah.
David John Clark 00:30:56
Nick Buckland 00:30:57
So, his process immediately is to filter out 95% of them so they can focus on about 20. Today, we had a really interesting casting from him just by coincidence, because it just resonates with what you were saying, and we gave him and it was a category where there would be lots of options. We gave him two people. They've both been called for audition. And I've got to do one of them immediately after this, and I know the guy is waiting for me. That's where we're focused. And we make sure that these guys, the casting directors, do respect our submissions. And we work at that. We work at it by going and talking to them, and we work at it by the quality of the people we submit.
Carina Gun 00:31:46
And he made it clear that he knows there are some agent’s interstate he was referring to at the time that would submit lots of people. And he says, I actually don't look at their people. And so that's why we have to be so careful. And we do pride ourselves on knowing our actors personally, knowing their abilities. We're very fortunate that we've got our studio set up, that we work with our actors and film their self-tests with them, help direct them, help make sure their auditions pop, and they work. And we're known for our good self-tests, so we go above and beyond. Most agents would say, send us a self-test, whereas we work hard to make sure actors are putting their best foot forward and it's paying off.
David John Clark 00:32:29
That's great. And that's good for the actors because as we've already said, there are some agencies where they're submitting everyone, and that's actually now given them a black flag against the whole agency. So that actually affects the career of all the actors. Whereas doing it this way is a benefit for everyone on the books going forward, I love it.
Nick Buckland 00:32:47
Because if there's somebody emerging and we say, look, we really think you should see this person, then that's okay, people will look at it, look at that person. As far as casting directors are concerned, they're going to know us in the not-too-distant future exclusively as Buckland and Gun. Which means that if we do submit people, even from the AAA book, we'll be submitting people as Buckland and Gun to casting directors.
David John Clark 00:33:15
Nick Buckland 00:33:16
So that gets us through the door without there being any ambiguity.
Carina Gun 00:33:21
And there's no one called Buckland and Gun.
Nick Buckland 00:33:23
Yeah. I reckon if anybody tries to call us Buckland and Gun, we'll know that they're definitely trying to piggyback on the back of our name.
Carina Gun 00:33:29
David John Clark 00:33:30
So, does that mean the actors that can use the BNG name or they'll just stick with the AAA talent if they're on that book?
Carina Gun 00:33:38
AAA is still well known, but the Buckland and Gun Management will start to emerge for those actors on that book.
Nick Buckland 00:33:49
I think the deal is that our interstate work is going to be more Buckland and Gun Management and our South Australian work with our emerging actors, now developing actors....
Carina Gun 00:33:49
... hobby actors, our commercial actors ....
Nick Buckland 00:33:49
... people who aren't... that conversation you had with Anousha Zarkesh about you can't just say, yes, I'll come to Melbourne for an audition. Unless you're able to say, I'm here whenever you want me, I'm here, that's got to be the level of commitment that you'd be able to make. So those are the people that we really are going to be able to promote and represent on an interstate basis. Those people that aren't able to do that, we can still put up for professional work. We can still put for professional work within the state and we can still help people to grow into those roles. If anything, we can do a better job for those people because this is where we're based.
Carina Gun 00:34:51
And if there's something unique they're looking for, they'll pick anybody off our books to go and do a role, whether they're whatever level they are. We had a fantastic example of that with one of our extras who got a role in Shang-Chi.
David John Clark 00:35:08
Yeah, I remember seeing that. That's fantastic.
Carina Gun 00:35:10
Yeah, that was amazing. And it was like he just had the right skills and the look and everything, and the right height that worked for him. So, there can be and that's why we have to have such a diverse book, because we need a range of looks, ages, sizes, eye colour, everything. Beards, no beards, everything. Because that's what helped the casting directors fill the roles for the producers and directors and also get the work for our actors.
David John Clark 00:35:41
Awesome. Now, to delve a little deeper and more towards the Late Bloomer aspect of the podcast, and probably drawing on your experience as actors, and Carina, as a teacher, you have a broad range of actors on your books, as you've just said, to meet the diverse needs of the casting industry. Do you see any huge differences in your actors when comparing young versus old? Are you seeing more formally trained young actors compared to their older counterparts? Because a lot of us older types, like myself, being 50 next year oh, my God. 50 next year?
Nick Buckland 00:36:15
You're a child.
Carina Gun 00:36:16
I'm 60 next year. So you're a spring chicken.
Nick Buckland 00:36:19
I'm not even telling you.
David John Clark 00:36:27
With your actors on the books, do you see the differences between your trained actors and the actors who are untrained? Whether the young untrained actors or older untrained actors, does the life experience make a difference?
Carina Gun 00:36:40
Oh, God, yes. And I think we've got professionally trained actors that are older that when you work with them, you're just blown away with what they give you. It's such a delight. One lady comes in completely prepared with what she's wearing and props and she's done her homework and she's taught acting around the world. Other people have worked on Coronation Street in London and it's like somewhere in England, Manchester, there you go. When they come along, you see a big difference. Other people have just acted on stage for years and years and years. Other people sometimes play away because they've just got the life experience. Young actors have to really use their imagination because they may not have loved and lost. They may not have experienced certain things. And acting, of course, is going to have to use imagination because I've certainly never died, and I've died in things, and I've never murdered anybody either. But I don't think I've murdered anybody in a film yet. So there's obviously an element of imagination. But as you get older, I think sometimes you bring life to your acting as well, and then it's putting together. But also, a big difficulty for a lot of it is the fact that when you're older, too, you have to be put forward with people who have acted trained many years ago and have acted for many years. So, we've got some famous actors that will always be put forward first and get roles and that sort of stuff because they're experienced. But then you can be lucky. It's all about the lucky look and the talent. And there's not roles for everybody, unfortunately. We wish there was.
Nick Buckland 00:38:28
I think you look at it and there are two aspects to it. It's exactly building on the points that Carina made. When you're looking for capable young performers. There are those performers who have natural ability, absolutely natural ability. They were the kind of kids who get up and entertain the family and do it really beautifully well and have just that natural ability and confidence. Quite rare, though, and even more rare is for those young people to have an understanding of a lifetime of experience. They don't have it. They haven't experienced some of the pain, some of the grief, some of the conflicts that we build with our lives, some of the tragedy that occurs, loss. You talk to actors and you're thinking, why aren't I getting anything here? Why isn't there anything coming? I can see that you're trying to find it, but there's something that isn't coming across. And then you ask the question, so have you ever experienced loss? Have you ever lost anybody in any shape or no. Okay. You haven't lost a relative that has died?
Carina Gun 00:38:28
A dog? No.
Nick Buckland 00:38:28
Have you ever had a relationship that's broken up where you were fully committed? No, I don't think so. Okay. All right. You don't find it really hard because you don't understand exactly how gut wrenching that can be and how just thinking back to it and contemplating it can bring the emotions to the fore. So, for some people, they actually do need that much more training to help them to understand and to empathise with those emotions, but also to be able to access those emotions because they don't have a natural trigger. They don't have those natural triggers within them. Training can be really critical. The older you get, the more experience you have and the more experience of life you have, the more likely you are that you're going to be able to draw on that experience to understand character and understand the story. But the other aspect of that, the bit that cuts across that is that the older we get, the less likely we are to be in a position where we can take those chances with our careers and where we have the freedom to make those choices, to say, you know what, I think I'll go to Melbourne for three months. Who's going to pay the mortgage? Who's going to go to work? And you can't do that, you can't just upsticks and go. And so, it's that ability to be flexible that you have when you're younger, the opportunity to take the chances that you then have to try and match with skills and awareness and emotional intelligence, the emotional awareness of life. The older we get, the fewer of us there are, because we thin out. It's like my hair. The older it gets, the thinner it gets. That's the same with the acting population.
Carina Gun 00:41:44
And also, I think sometimes, I mean, we've got Nick's cousin, who's 92, 92. He came on as an extra in an advert years ago, and he's getting some roles because, honestly, there's not many 92-year old’s left.
Nick Buckland 00:42:02
He started a new career at 81, I think it was.
Carina Gun 00:42:05
Sometimes there's a uniqueness with the age and the life that comes to it. But acting is not for everyone. It's a challenging emotional journey a lot of the time. And I think sometimes people, I look at it and I thought, after teaching for a long time, what is it? Why don't some people get it? And it's all about empathy and some people have a lot of difficulty empathising with others. So, you've got to really feel that if I can empathise with somebody, I can step into those shoes, because I get what might be going on for them. So, it's not for everybody, but it's a passion that people have and if they want to follow their dream, I always say, aim for the stars. If you don't aim for the stars, you won't reach the moon. So aim for the stars and you might reach the moon.
David John Clark 00:42:57
I love it. And so, starting to wind up then just focusing on that a bit more then. So, for me, I'm the classic late bloomer and I just realised when we started the podcast, Nick, technically you're a late bloomer, too, because you didn't act all your age until you hit fifty. Didn't act your age. You like that.
Carina Gun 00:43:15
He acted a lot when he was young and throughout and got written up in magazines at home and things like that. So, he just had it with him. And do you know what I say? Every day we act, our greatest acting takes place every day. How many times do people go to work and they feel like rubbish and they have to go in? Hello, everybody. Certainly, my greatest acting with my father, watching him go, it was like, I walk in and I'm a mess and I walk in hello, my lovely Daddy and I put a bit of a skip in the step and then I walk out and I crumble. We don't always show what's going on. It's something that we do naturally every day. Learning the skills for film, television, theatre, musical theatre, all those things. There are certain things we have to learn, but there is a lot that's intrinsic that's within a lot of people. We just have to guide them how to draw that out.
Nick Buckland 00:44:12
One of the things I say is that to be a good actor, you need to have both talent and skill. And talent is something that you can't give somebody. You can't create talent. It's something that's in you. Whether it's a talent to be an empath, that's a talent to be a storyteller, but the skill is the techniques that you learn so you can learn the skills to actually make the most of the talent that you're given. When I look at it, I think, okay, does this person actually have the talent? And is it just about helping them with their skills? Or is it a case of saying, it doesn't matter how many skills we give this person, the talent is never going to come through. And you've got to look at that and work out where the balance sits and what the capacity is.
Carina Gun 00:45:10
And you know what acting really is? It's play acting. I always say we're unleashing the child within because children play naturally. And as adults, I say to the kids when I teach them in my Kismet drama programme, it's like, especially the younger. Did you ever play dress ups and make believe? Oh, no, we do. But we call it acting because it sounds so much cooler. So, we're all big kids playing dress ups and make believe.
David John Clark 00:45:35
I love it.
Carina Gun 00:45:36
Living in an imaginary world.
David John Clark 00:45:37
So that sort of summarises everything, then, for all actors and late bloomers, that you've just got to keep pushing and keep striving, and you have to understand where you are and where you want to be and where you can be. If you look at my journey, I'm still struggling and pushing to get that paid professional role. But we've already discussed tonight, what’s, ... holding back is not the right word. But why? It's not coming as quick as it is. But this journey is a long journey, and I'm in the fortunate spot that in nine years’ time, I'm going to be one of your retired actors on your book and I'll be able to go wherever you want to send me.
Carina Gun 00:46:15
And you'll be able to look in nine years. I think sometimes people think it's going to happen immediately. And our professional actors, you think of how many have made it in the world and acting. Our professional actors who are trained, who are experienced, still wait for roles at times. And then there's lulls. And we always say we can't create the jobs. I mean, we've tapped in on many of them that go around Australia. We're so flat out. And we've got Lauren, who's just joined us as an agent. She was trained in musical theatre in London. She's a Scottish lady, very experienced, worked at the West End, worked on the cruise ships and came over here saying, I want to be an agent. And she bought something unique, some professionalism that we thought she'd be great. She works with Krystal in the office with us. We've got Kate, who's an actor in Melbourne. We've got Samantha, who's also an actor, who's doing all our accounting stuff at the moment. We've got a great team of people to work with us. It's one big family.
Nick Buckland 00:47:15
Speaking of something you said, that, David, you were saying about things aren't coming as quickly, perhaps as you'd want them to, and waiting for this to happen, this break, whatever it might be, it's great to aim for the stars, but if all you're focusing on is the destination, you won't enjoy the journey. You have to enjoy the journey. And being involved is the greatest gift of all. The fact that we're actually doing this stuff, the fact that I can be on a set as an extra, I can be there just watching it, watching people doing wonderful stuff. I can enjoy the pleasure of seeing an edit done to some work that some actors have done. Oh, that's great. I love what's happening. I get a kick out of watching people do auditions and you have to enjoy the journey, otherwise the destination isn't worth going to.
Carina Gun 00:48:20
And a lot of people do struggle psychologically, this industry. You have to have your feet firmly on the ground. You have to sort of I say to people, why do you act? And if somebody says to me, oh, for the notoriety, I think, don't do acting. Wrong reason. Act because it's in the blood. Act because it's fun. Act because you love it and don't wait for the paycheck. Go out and do community theatre, make your own film, do what you do. It's like keep doing workshops. People go and pay to go to golf because they love it. Pay to go and do courses, training actors never stop studying.
Nick Buckland 00:48:57
I play golf for a while. Absolutely rubbish.
Carina Gun 00:49:09
I was going to say. And then when you're enjoying that journey, like you're saying and then something comes out, it's like bonus. But also, I think a lot of people think that. I always say to actors who's in need here? Because we get a lot of actors that say, I haven't had anything. I'm desperate to know how much I put into this and how many courses I've done. And I said, yes, it's our dream, it's our drive, it's what we want to do. Go and do it. Don't just sit back and wait. People have to work. They're a sole trader as an actor. They have to put in work as an actor, as a business, we work along with them. But also, the fact that I've lost my train of thought. Yeah. That journey of getting there is the most important thing.
David John Clark 00:49:57
Carina Gun 00:49:57
And then if something happens, I can't remember what I was going to say.
David John Clark 00:50:00
Cool. And that's why I do my podcast, which is part of acting, and it gets me to meet people and talk about it.
Carina Gun 00:50:09
Nick Buckland 00:50:13
You're part of it, mate. You’re part of the process.
Carina Gun 00:50:14
That's what I was going to say. Yes. And I was going to say acting is one of the most giving things. You see professional actors and the people who are loved out in the industry. Stephen Tongan is one. He oozes love, he just oozes it. We've got other people that come in and they're just so happy to see they acknowledge everybody. They just ooze love, and they're giving people so it's all about going on set. And what we're doing is giving a choice to the casting director, who then gives a choice to the producer. They're the ones in need, they're the ones that spend millions of dollars on films. So, I always say to the actors to psychologically cope with this crazy industry, and remember, you are the giver. You're giving them a choice and you may just have the right colour eyes for that choice.
David John Clark 00:51:04
Carina Gun 00:51:05
Quite often it's not about your talent or anything, it's about the fact that you got the right colour eyes.
David John Clark 00:51:12
Beautiful. And that's a perfect way to end our discussion. I think so. Thank you. Nick and Carina. I'm mindful of the time, of course. So, before I do let you go, I have to throw the fast round at you. A lot of podcasts do it and I've decided to keep it in. You need to try and answer the question straight up. No thinking. Nick, you can go first, followed by Carina, and then I'll do the next question. There's only four. What's your T shirt quote?
Nick Buckland 00:51:35
Never too late.
David John Clark 00:51:38
Love it, Carina.
Carina Gun 00:51:41
I've got a new one. Shit happens. And then you use it in your acting.
David John Clark 00:51:45
Carina Gun 00:51:48
Or pink clouds of love to everybody. That would be my other one.
David John Clark 00:51:48
That's yours, you say that all the time. And you're both actors. What famous role would you like to do if you could go back in time?
Nick Buckland 00:52:10
I love Hannibal Lecter in Silence Of The Lambs. I always do. I love to go for something like that. I'd want to do it different. I'd want to play it different. Yeah. I wouldn't imagine that it would be worth even trying to play at the same, I'm not that presumptuous, but I'd love to have a go at that sort of character.
David John Clark 00:52:34
I've seen you play some bad guys and it's an interesting one.
Nick Buckland 00:52:37
I like that, guys.
David John Clark 00:52:39
Carina, what role would you like to do?
Carina Gun 00:52:44
I ask people this and I can never answer it because there are so many. I mean, I'm a real musical theatre fan, so I think I'd have to be Christine in Phantom of the Opera, but you'd have to sing and dance.
David John Clark 00:53:00
Okay? And the last speed question, who's your favourite actor on the books? No, I'm only joking. I know it's me.
Nick Buckland 00:53:09
Carina Gun 00:53:10
We love you, David.
David John Clark 00:53:11
Thank you, guys. This has been fantastic. I really, truly appreciate you coming on the podcast. Nick, I just wanted to say quickly, going back about enjoying the journey and that my favourite part of my journey so far was being on set with you for Antaries, of which the posters are in the background there.
Nick Buckland 00:53:29
Good on you.
David John Clark 00:53:30
I absolutely love that and I missed that. And I really hope that we get an opportunity to be on set again, which I'm sure we will.
Nick Buckland 00:53:37
David John Clark 00:53:39
Your insights into an agent is what we were here to discuss. It will resonate for all my fellow Late Bloomer actors, but I reckon also for actors around the world, I'm sure. So, for the benefit of my listeners, before we shut down, where can actors find you? Because obviously you'll take actors on from all around Australia in the world now, where can they look you up?
Nick Buckland 00:54:03
If they search Buckland and Gun, or if they search AAA Talent Agency on the web, they'll find us.
Carina Gun 00:54:09
And we've got a brand-new website just about to be launched on the 1st July.
David John Clark 00:54:13
Awesome. And on Facebook as well, you've got a page. Thank you very much for being on board.
Nick Buckland 00:54:27
Yeah, thanks, David.
David John Clark 00:54:28
Carina Gun 00:54:29
Keep up the good work.
David John Clark 00:54:31
You too. Love you guys. Bye bye.
Carina Gun 00:54:33
David John Clark 00:54:34
Well, that was certainly a great discussion. Although Adelaide based, this talk about acting and my relationship with my agents is certainly an eye opener for all actors. It shows that the actor agent relationship is all about collaboration. You work with your agents as much as they work for you. I hope you got something out of that. And regardless of who represents you, you take away something positive from this. I'd like to thank all my regular listeners. I now have a dedicated email address, so if you'd like to drop me a message just for your support, or if you have any questions or suggestions for future episodes, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't forget to throw a rating for the podcast on your podcast player of choice. Leave a review if you can, or register with www.podchaser.com and rate and review the podcast there. And if you can share the podcast on your social media. Let your friends know that you're listening and hopefully they'll jump on board. Once again, thank you for listening and I'll see you on set.