Carolyn Nikkanen, President of Carolyn’s Model & Talent, has been in the Entertainment Business for over 50 years . Her talent agency, Carolyn’s Model & Talent, remains one of the leading and one of the most successful Model & Talent Agencies in the business for over 30 years.
eBOSS: What Was Your Journey To Becoming An Agent?
Carolyn: My Dad was really involved in the entertainment business, and the industry has always been a passion of mine. Growing up in a family that was in the modelling industry combined with the challenges faced throughout my life brought me to this amazing path. My varied background, which includes teaching self-esteem through the Peel Board of Education, teaching acting and modelling, and studying Psychology in College and the University of Toronto has given me the ability to know what clients are looking for when casting a project. I myself have casting experience, from years ago, so I pay close attention to the needs of casting directors and their clients when I submit talent. My experience working as an actor in films, documentaries, TV, and commercials has helped me understand the industry from a performer’s viewpoint. I love being an agent! It gives me so much pleasure to see a performer’s joy when they land a role. The people I represent are like family to me.
eBOSS: What Are The Challenges Associated With Running An Agency?
Carolyn: Running an agency is like being a single part of a multi-level corporation, as I deal with casting directors, directors, producers, agents and print clients. We have to work well together and establish a mutually beneficial and successful relationship. The challenges are similar to owning and operating any business. There are no drastic differences, as with all businesses there are obstacles and challenges. The obstacles make us wiser! We are fortunate to have a full-time bookkeeper and an all-around amazing staff. We work hard, and our team is at it 7 days a week; our commitment has a huge role to play in our talents’ success.
eBOSS: What Do You Look For In Talent When You’re Adding People To Your Roster?
Carolyn: A grounded individual! Excellent personality and a flexible schedule, so that they can attend auditions (‘sometimes’ at a moments notice)! An agency is only as good as their talent. It is our job as an agency to seek out the best talent that are easy to work with. They should be polite, and have a positive attitude. Training is essential to their success, and we play a role in steering them in the right direction. The effort is split 50/50 between the talent and agency.
eBOSS: How Important Is It For Talent To Have A Demo-Reel?
Carolyn: Talent should have a demo reel so that they can show casting directors and clients their abilities and their unique range as a performer. A demo reel is a great asset to have. A demo reel is a compilation of your work. It is something that builds as your experience/resume builds over time.
eBOSS: What’s The Biggest Mistake That Performers Make When Auditioning?
Carolyn: “Can I do it again?” Biggest mistake! Wearing logos, flashy jewelry, and talking too much? Also big mistakes! Casting Directors and their clients don’t have time. First impressions are everything. Don’t be late!
eBOSS: In Your View, Is It Okay For Performers To Promote Themselves With Their Agent’s Name On Submissions?
Carolyn: If a performer is submitting themselves for something, it is important for the performer to make the agent aware. This way agents can help with decision-making and can oversee the audition and perhaps booking process. A performer must work with their agent, not against. Trust your agent!
eBOSS: What Advice Do You Have For Anyone At The Beginning Of Their Performance Career?
Carolyn: For anyone beginning their performance career, walk with your passion but be able to take rejection as a form of constructive criticism. Don’t take anything personally.
eBOSS: What Can Performers Do To Help Their Agents Help Them?
Carolyn: Performers must always keep their photos and resumes up-to-date, have consistent bodily measurements, etc… Always work on honing your craft! Don’t sit back and wait for phone to ring. Agents love talent who are go-getters and who are proactive. Even if you’re working on a short film, always work on your craft. Never stop training; never stop doing!
eBOSS: What Can Our Industry Do Differently In Order To Grow?
Carolyn: The talent industry is a very stressful industry! It’s important to show respect for your fellow industry colleagues and talent. It takes an entire team to create successful results. We work 7 days a week, around the clock.
It is important for everyone in the industry to remember that it is a TEAM EFFORT between talent, agent, casting director, photographers, clients, etc. to produce a great final product. We’re all in this together! Our success is your success!
In this business, we have the creative advantage of bringing characters and moments to life, that people of all ages can relate to and enjoy across the world!
“Motivation and passion is the key to success. There’s always a way!” — Carolyn Nikkanen
CAROLYN’S MODEL & TALENT AGENCY
We Represent Canada’s Greatest Talent
1965 Britannia Rd. West
10 am- 5 pm