This month I decided to sit down with 22 Talent agency owner, Susan Fronsoe. We discussed what got her into this industry and what she looks for in talent she represents. 

Natalia Leigh: Why did you decide to become a talent agent and what is it about that part of the industry that you love so much? 

Susan Fronsoe: In 2005, I was living in Los Angeles and working as an actor. My mom passed away in 2004. She was one of my biggest supporters. I honestly believe she visited me one morning at 4:30am and told me to open my own management company. This is before the entire business went electronic. Actors were able to access the Breakdowns (through the underground) and anyone could be a manager.

So, I opened up my own company and become a manager. I represented 13 actors. One of my actors had a friend who was listed with a “real” management company and told me they were looking to add another manager. I met with them, we hit it off and they hired me. I was still able to audition both commercially and theatrically but I found that I enjoyed being a talent manager more than an actor. I never felt totally comfortable with acting as I did not have enough training to feel confident in what I was doing. 

Fast forward to 2011. I was living in Atlanta, working as an actor and signed with Atlanta Models & Talent (AMT). My agent, Sarah Carpenter,  left the company and I convinced the owner to let me intern for her. I wanted her to train me so I could eventually buy her out when she was ready to retire. A few months later,  Sarah and I bought AMT.  

Because I was an actor for many years, I know the actor’s journey. What an actor needs. What an actor wants. I aspired to be the agent I wanted to have when I was an actor.

I love helping actors get acting opportunities. I love watching them change and grow with their acting skills.  I love reading tv/film breakdowns and watching actors bring those characters to life. And I especially LOVE telling actors they booked a job! 

NL: What constitutes a good actor in your valued opinion? What are worthy qualities that an agent is looking for? 

SF: It’s so interesting. We all have different views on who is a good actor and who isn’t. I heard from an acting teacher on time that they couldn’t “see" Meryl Streep acting!? She has always been one of my favorite actors.

For me it boils down to simply whether I believe them or not. Honestly, I do believe some actors have an innate gift and others have to work at it. I have a 7-year old actor who blows me away. He is so free and brings so much of himself to every audition. He started auditioning when he was 6. He has not taken any acting classes although he does work out with his dad who is also a working actor. 

Worthy qualities:  training, experience, commitment, reliability, trust, positivity, truth and honesty, integrity, professionalism, being realistic about their career, caring about others, having a well-rounded and balanced life.

NL: What are the top 3 most important things an actor should do in order to be taken seriously by industry professionals? 

SF: 1. Training!! 2. Experience - whether it be theater, tv/film or indie films. 3. Top notch headshots. Many actors have a hard time spending money, but if they want to be looked at as professional they must have materials to match.

NL: What are your pet peeves? 

SF: Unreliable actors. Those who say they are committed but their actions show otherwise. Unprofessional headshots. Blue/Green screen background for auditions. Actors who don’t respect my time - especially my off time!

NL: What is your favorite quote and one you try and live by?  

SF: I don’t really have a favorite quote but I do try and live by the Golden Rule. 

Susan, thank you for taking the time to sit down and share with me and my readers your story, why you do what you do and what you look for in actors. 

Actors, get to know the agents around town. Do your research on them. Make sure you are submitting to them properly. Schedule interviews with them if you can. They work hard for you.

Keep grinding to keep those dreams alive!

XO - Natalia Leigh