Get ready D.C. – there’s a new agency in town
By Julie LaPorte
An enthusiastic group of actors, designers, casting directors, artistic directors and theatre-lovers gathered at Morton’s Steakhouse on Monday to celebrate the launch of D.C.’s very own Capital Talent Agency. Founded by Roger Yoerges and Jeremy Skidmore and joined by Colin Hovde and J. Fred Shiffman, the Agency is setting itself apart from others of its kind, providing a holistic approach to the representation business.
“It comes from a fundamental belief that we wanted to distinguish ourselves from the run-of the mill ‘New York’ agencies,” Yoerges said. “They operate under the philosophy that you won’t get a role but for me, I have the keys of the castle, and we really wanted to distinguish ourselves from that model. We’re an added-value, service-oriented agency.”
It’s those holistic services that have actors and designers signing up with the Agency.
“We provide health insurance for those who don’t have it yet from the unions, pay travel expenses for actors traveling to an audition, provide coaching for the audition,” Shiffman said, who joined the Agency as an Associate and who manages the finances. “There is also a growing demand for auditions via the Internet, so we can get a location and film the audition and send it out electronically.”
Skidmore added: “We help actors and designers get work out of town. Most of the time they have to go through an agency to be considered, and for those who are interested in working out of town, we help them find those opportunities. “
“What makes our city unique is our community of actors,” Shiffman said. “Whether they are clients of Capital Talent Agency or not, we’re a very supportive and loving community. People know each other, we lose roles to each other. But it’s frequently commented on by visitors that we really take care of each other. And I believe the Agency is an extension of that.”
For those involved in the theatre scene – even as simple spectators – there is growing excitement and anticipation, the sense that something important is happening in this moment in D.C.
“Washington is becoming part of the international fabric,” Skidmore said. “The work over the past 15 to 20 years is having an impact on the way things are being done.”
As Shiffman put it: “We have a lot of work in Washington, and we have a smart theatre-going audience. D.C. is a player.”
Hovde, who joined Capital Talent Agency as an Agent, has experience as an actor, a director and headshot photographer. This varied background allows him to approach each situation from many different angles.
“D.C. has such a unique place in the national scene,” he said. “We’re the second biggest theatre town in the country. We have a ridiculous amount of talent and lots of work. But the actors have had to represent themselves. What we do is help them focus on their craft, not on the business side. As actors, you are your product. You have to know how to market your product, and that’s where we come in.”
Yoerges, in his remarks to the crowd mentioned a conversation he had recently with Howard Shalwitz who expressed the sentiment that this is the time for D.C. to have a professional agency representing professionals.
“I think we’ll be able to look back on this night as starting something big in the city,” Yoerges said.
For more information, visit Capital Talent Agency.
Julie LaPorte is a freelance writer living outside Washington, D.C. For the past year she has served as a columnist for Washington Life Magazine – penning reviews for the Performing Arts and the Paint the Town columns. She also works as a political marketing copywriter for candidates in local, state and national campaigns as well as for Congressional franked mail.