As this excellent pilot season, starts to end , we now have time to consider new talent. MZA “The Michael Zanuck Agency” would like you to submit for possible representation. Please submit HARD COPY,PICTURES/RESUMES ONLY , BY MAIL ONLY TO: MZA www.michaelzanuckagency.com. The second part of this submission process , is to send us AN E-MAIL NOTE ONLY !! , that you have received this request and will be sending us your hard copy submission by mail. We will then CALL !! to schedule you for an appointment Please send this e-mail note to firstname.lastname@example.org. We realize that “replys” is not spelled correctly , this was the only way (for some unknown reason, that would accept this address). This is very important, and makes it easy for our staff to contact you without having to re-enter your e-mail. Please..follow these directions EXACTLY. We apologize if this is a duplicate request, some of our lists were lost (our office doggy ate our homework). Please don’t re-submit, if you’ve recently done so, or met with any of our departments…Many Thanks..Michael Zanuck..ps..if you don’t yet have a professional picture..just send us a snap shot with all your contact information on the back of the picture. Please mark “LA Casting” on the outside of the envelope. REALLY..REALLY..don’t send any e mails or call to make sure we’re considering you..if you mail us the above requested materials and send the requested e-mail , we totally promise to seriously consider you. Follow up e mails/calls just waste our time and takes us longer to review your material. Make SURE , we have your e-mail and current telephone contact number on your submission. Please only send one picture/resume , make sure the resume is STAPLED to your picture.. Please don’t seal envelopes. No follow up calls or e mails. For further information , please visit our website
Michael Zanuck used to be a partner of the Zanuck Passon & Pace agency (ZPP), one that had loads of struggling actors come in and interview them for commercial representation. In fact, I had even met with them. This was quite a few years ago, perhaps 04 or so, and on my way in, I ran into a member of a writing group I used to belong to and he was very excited for me as he went out all the time. He was also a man in his 60s with an incredible voice. Not exactly my same type. But he was with them theatrically and recommended them.
But when I went in there, oh man, ick.
I met with one of them, I can't remember who, and he took a look at all my pictures and said, "You need new ones." My pictures were about 6 months old and everywhere I went, I got compliments on them, both from other actors and casting directors. This guy suggested I go all blatant character on my headshots, asking me to pose as a "hippy flower child," and "gothic," as well as "young mom," and "cute nerd," complete with pigtails and glasses.
I had my a picture that suggested dangerous/gothic/bad girl. I wasn't wearing black lipstick, but that's what he wanted. I had already booked a movie playing a gothic character with that picture, but I kept my mouth shut.
He then pulled out a series of headshots for me to look at. And I could tell, young as I was, that they were absolute crap. They made the actor look so green! I mean, here was a headshot that instead of suggesting a character of power and intelligence, was an actual photo of an actor wearing a lab coat and a stethescope!
Now, I've been on the casting side. We toss those headshots out. Casting directors are intelligent people. They can tell if you can play a doctor without being in a costume. It's their job. I guarantee you Ellen Pompeo did not have a headshot of herself in scrubs to be called in and cast as Meredith Gray in Gray's Anatomy.
They gave me five postcards of the photographers they wanted me to shoot with. When I asked if I could use my own photographer, he seemed hesitant, and told me that if I shot with another photographer and they didn't like any of my photos, I would be required to shoot with one of theirs. And then he handed me a sheet with their acting coaches that I would have to take a class with in order to be signed with them.
I ran out of that office.
ZPP was known in Hollywood as a joke agency. And I belive that MZA is continuing those same practices I described. Any agency that wants to be taken seriously will not use anything but proper business English in their correspondance. "...we totally promise to seriously consider you"?! For Realsie!
I say, if you have the time to meet with them, go ahead, but only as an experience to see how liberating and wonderful it is to know that YOU have the power in how and who you want to be represented by. Because actors do get the chance to say, you know what? No thanks.
But don't take my word for it, read the reviews by other actors throughout the years in the four pages of thread posts at BackStage.com and another article about ZPP here too, regarding their fishy contracts.
And another guy writes about almost the same exact experience I had with ZPP, with MZA. It comes from scratchpadwikia.
So go if you want, but really, why not just spend that money you'd save on gas for a green beer tonight?
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
UPDATE! I'm copying and pasting the experience Stephen had when he went to MZA 12/7/10: