Marketing company helps new actors ‘get discovered’

By Kyle O’Donnell

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Ian Michaels started Padded Envelopes, a company that disburses resumes and headshots for actors, in 2009. (Kyle O’Donnell)

While making it in Hollywood seems like the impossible dream, just getting an agent to respond to an email or a phone call can be a fairytale itself.

For aspiring actors, getting access to agents is a difficult and time-consuming process. That’s where one industry has emerged in Los Angeles – marketing companies that match potential talent with agents.

These marketing companies help actors to get headshots and resumes in the hands of agents.

Ian Michaels, an actor and filmmaker whose acting credits include “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “High Fidelity”, originally moved to Los Angeles in 2001 after graduating from Loyola University Chicago.

In 2009, he started Padded Envelopes, a company that sends headshots and resumes to agents and talent directors.

With classes and research for roles, actors do not have the time to put into mailing out headshots and contacting agents, Michaels said. Often the creative mindset of an actor does not matchup with the business mindset.

Kara Ortiz, owner of AMP Subs, originally moved to Los Angeles in 2000 and founded her company in 2010. She found success as an actor, but it only took up so many hours in the day, she said.

“I have been very successful as an actress and been very blessed,” she said. But Ortiz also wanted to help others find success.

“They don’t have to do everything on their own,” she said about the need to try to make business connections.

Michaels said that the goal for Padded Envelopes is to increase the exposure for an actor.

Most of the company’s clients eventual sign with an agent, he said.

Padded Envelopes sets its limit at 80 clients at a time, and the goal is to have constant turnover as actors sign with agents, Michaels said.

Most clients should be with Padded Envelopes for only three months before they’ve moved on to representation, he said. If a client is with Padded Envelopes for four months, that’s his clue that the company needs to figure out what’s not working in order to best serve the client.

The company’s services range from customized postcards for casting directors to headshots and resume services, according to Padded Envelopes’ website. Postcard services cost $115 to design, print and send 100 postcards, while basic resume service is $75 per month with an initial fee of $120.

Ortiz said that AMP Subs currently has about 200 clients, but it can take on as many as 300 aspiring actors.

AMP Subs charges $125 for the first month and $50 for each additional month, according to its website. A four-month commitment is $225 for the first four months and $150 for the next four months.

Michaels said that the industry is filled with rejection, and actors need to treat their craft like any day job. Success requires hard work.

“It’s like anything else, but tenfold,” Michaels said about acting.

Any sort of tool that can help an actor needs to be used.

“They need to take that opportunity,” he said.

Michaels admitted that some aspiring actors aren’t so realistic. If a prospective client wants a regular gig on a television show and representation by Creative Arts Agency within six months, Padded Envelopes will probably pass, he said.