How to get U.S. management representation with Talent Manager Karli DoumanisFeb 20, 2022
Today we are talking with Los Angeles Talent Manager, Karli Doumanis on what U.S. managers are looking for when signing international actors. Karli shares her journey from an Actor to working as a Talent Manager for Brave Artists Management.
In today's episode, Karli shares with you her experience as an Actor living in L.A. and her advice to starting your career as an Actor.
By the time you finish listening, you'll know:
- What it's like to be an Actor in Los Angeles
- Karli's advice on getting your 01 visa
- How to get noticed by managers
- Her perspective on the U.S. Film/TV industry
- How Karli mastered the American accent
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SHOW TRANSCRIPTYou're listening to the All American actors podcast, Episode Seven. In today's episode, we're going to get a peek behind the scenes as we talk with la talent manager Karli Dumanis that's coming up next. Ready to go behind the scenes and learn what it really takes to build a sustainable career as a working actor in the US film and TV industry. Join me Katherine Beck. You're all American accent coach. As I give you the insight and inspiration to take action on your career, learn my best tips and tricks to performing with an American accent and hear from working actors and other industry professionals. To give you a comprehensive overview of this biz we call showbiz. This is the all American actors podcast. Before we jump into today's episode, I just want to thank you so much for listening for tuning in and showing your support. And if you're loving what you're hearing, go ahead and leave us a review. And when you leave us a five star review for this podcast. You'll get featured as our star listener of the week where I will give you a special shout out right here on the show. So if you're loving this episode, please go ahead and leave us a review. My guest today is Los Angeles based talent manager Karli Dumanis. Karli actually started as an actor and then transitioned into talent management and has definitely made a name for herself. Originally from Perth, Australia, Karli made her acting debut at the young age of 16. In the comedy series Wormwood and upon moving to Los Angeles as an actor, she quickly transitioned into talent management, she successfully opened up and ran her own talent management company before joining the ranks of brave artists management where she is now today and specializes in young adults and international talent. So without further ado, let's bring Karli on to the show. All right. Well, welcome, Karli. So great to have you on the show. Why don't we start with just telling our listeners who you are and what to do? Karli Doumanis 2:17 Cool. Well, my name is Karli Dumanis. I'm a talent manager in LA. I have a lot of Australian talent because I'm originally from Australia. And I actually coached an American accent with yourself, Katherine Beck, which is how we know each other. So I guess that's kind of me now even though I come from being an actor, I had a different name, you know, all of that. So yeah, Katherine Beck 2:45 Very cool. And so what made you want to go from acting because you move to LA as an actor, right? That was your reason for moving there. So what happened? What made you want to transition into management then? Karli Doumanis 3:00 Um, I think it's many, many, many things. But I think at the bottom line, I am a very ambitious person. And I want to be successful. So, you know, when there's a part of acting, where there is a dice roll, and you know, hard work doesn't always lead to success. I struggled with that, because I wasn't earning great money. I wasn't on the shows I wanted to be on. And I wasn't finding success in acting. And don't get me wrong, I had a wonderful journey. I love the entertainment industry so much, I just couldn't possibly Leave it, which is how I found management. But I think ultimately, not having success at age 26 and being broke at 26 I and then also feeling like a broken person to be quite frank, because I always knew I was the hardest working actor out of all my friends. Like, I always look around myself and be like, I'm working the hardest. And I'm in every class and I'm off at this hour working out to have the good body and the hair straightened every day. And I'm you know, voice class voiceover class, acting film class, you know, you name it, I did it. In pro class, he, you know, doing every audition at the studio and just trying so hard. I went, What am I doing? Um, and so I started helping out my friends, which I had always done to be fair, like, I remember my friend Yasmin, we're in the tough divorce together, right? And I remember I was doing her IMDb for her and I put together this whole package as to how her IMDb should be. And I would send my auditions to my friends and I would coach them on it. And then my friend who didn't have agents, I created this like well, email address, and I started sending my auditions. I like having them put put it down and I would send it to casting and then my friend Mel who's actually client right now. She's a on the ABC kids show, it's right now doing great. She got kind of close to this Miles Teller series, like casting, we're riding back and I was like, what are we gonna do if you book this? And she's like, you're you're my manager. I remember in that moment, just going, Yeah, I think I am. And so I called my reps. And I was like, Hey, I'm not going to do anymore. I'm going to be a manager. And they were like, what? And so I did, I just created my own company. I started managing and yeah, haven't looked back since. Katherine Beck 5:35 Wow, that's really cool. And so when was that? Karli Doumanis 5:38 Gosh, that would have been so I've been at Brave by what are we like December 2020. So I've been at braid for about a year and a half have my own company for two years, about three and a half years ago. Katherine Beck 5:51 Amazing. And so you started out as your own management company? And then what happened? Were you approached by Brave? Or did you decide you wanted to work for someone else? What was that transition all about? Karli Doumanis 6:05 Um, I think that I was just curious, too, you know, I didn't start off as an assistant like most people do. And there's a real grind over here that people have to go through to become an agent or a manager. And it's yours in a mail room or as an assistant being a shit kicker, and it's 24, seven hours, you know. And I, I just felt like I had more to learn, I wanted to expand. And although I felt like, Hey, I know what I'm doing with managing, I had clients that were booking leads of shows. So it was it was okay, like, I knew I got it. But I was like, I want to be bigger. And I think there's more to learn. I never thought that training. So I started taking meetings with different management companies. It was really interesting, because some of them offered me deals where it was like, okay, you can cover my desk and have your own list, which totally didn't work for me. And when I went met with Mike at brave, he sort of offered me a full management position. So that seemed like the perfect fit for me that and also, he had a lot of Australian clients so he could see what I was doing. And all the visas I was getting through, and all of that, and he was like, Oh, well, that's impressive. You remind me of me when I was coming up, because mike got his start going to Australia signing off showing clients and putting them on shows. So I think there's a little bit of synergy there. Katherine Beck 7:34 That's really cool. So in terms of working with international clients, primarily Australians, what do you see? Are there any sort of trends or any sort of interest? You know, what is the the US market looking for in terms of international talent coming through, because obviously, there's that extra hurdle of having to get the visa, the accent. So what is drawing agents, managers, casting directors in wanting to work with international talent? Karli Doumanis 8:07 I think everyone will have a different attitude there. I've met really big agents that are like, I don't have to deal with that unless they have the visa. And they're actually not drawn to work with international talent actually don't want to know that they don't want to but if you're in LA with the visa, they're like, Okay, cool. If you have a visa, they're like, all right. But it's a lot of extra work. So a lot of them actually don't want to I think it's just that, you know, wherever the talent is, the representatives go. So he, you know, like we represent, um, Danielle Melcher, who's, you know, going to be on the next Suicide Squad, and she's from Portugal. So everyone is really super interested in her because she's obviously going to be on Suicide Squad. She's from Portugal and people like, Oh, wow. But I'm not sure that, you know, now reps are calling all the agents in Portugal trying to see what counts there. I think it's all relationships. And it's like, if someone's really talented, or really special, they'll work with them. But if someone you know, isn't super special, and they don't have the visa, I think it's just harder. Hmm. Yeah. Like, did I kind of answer the question? That's her thing, Katherine Beck 9:30 You know, and also, I'm just wondering sometimes, because we hear about, like, I know, when I was living in LA, there was this real fascination with Australian actors and a reputation that comes with that. True and, you know, I was curious if that is something that's still in existence that you know, management over there is still really keen to look at hot new Australian talent because they have that reputation of being hard working. You know, dedicated to the craft? Karli Doumanis 10:03 Yeah, I think the Australian actors always have a great us accent, which definitely, for the most part, which, you know, impresses casting, I think as the world is getting smaller with everything being on zoom, and it's becoming a saturated market, international talent isn't super exotic. Like it was, you know, like, I guess people like, oh, cool, like Daniella from Portugal, she has the accent, kind of like a gal Godot, if you think about it. So it's like, Oh, that's cool. Um, but I think there's just so many English and Australian actors, you know, in America, that may be the like, you know, Eve or a charming person, and you're, you're not from America, there is always going to be that element of Oh, cool. Like, I think there is in reverse. You know, if you meet some like loud American Australian Joe, like rolling their eyes, but if someone meets really charismatic American, they're like, oh, amazing American. So I think this person to person. But the Australians do have a reputation of being super talented and putting in the work. But I think that comes from a place of, by the time they get here, they've jumped through so many hoops, the ones that are here, or the talented ones, or the working ones, because it's so hard to get here. You know, we're not judging the whole of Australian acting community. We're just judging those people that have jumped through so many hoops to get the one visa, or have worked really hard to have a US accent or have already been on a show. So if you grabbed all of the American actors or actors from another country that fit those categories, they're going to be known as hard working and talented. Right. Katherine Beck 11:49 Yeah. You mentioned something which is so interesting now is that with everything that's happened in the past year, and things are more digital with auditions and self tapes, and zoom, and all of that, how do you foresee that that's going to change within? You know, 2021? Is pilot season going to be the same? Is it going to be different? Do you foresee anything into the future? Karli Doumanis 12:14 Yeah. I mean, I think with everything being online, and everything being so much more accessible, I think, this glamorous idea of everything needing to go through the states isn't going to last? I don't know. And I actually don't like that, because I've moved to the States, because it's the big industry. And I, you know, I want to be at the pinnacle of the film and TV industry. So being here is really exciting. And I think at times it feels, I guess, more legitimate and powerful in a way, because you're directly speaking to the executives that are here and the the people that run the show who are here, but I think the industry is going to become super International, where it doesn't matter what country you're in. Like I think a lot of producers in their own countries are going to earn more money and become more powerful because they sell their show to the exact same streaming service. So why is a show in Australia? Why does that show not have the capacity to be as fruitful financially as a show made in the US that you know, right now, so you just sell it to them? It's streaming? It's online? It's you know, I, I think, I don't know, it's a guess. Just look at normal people. That's that whole creative team? I'm pretty sure touchwood I'd have to look it up to make sure. But I'm pretty sure they're all from Europe, and Ireland. I don't think that that the creative team or from the US, I'd have to check. I know, they had a US casting director here for the new series they're doing based on the same writer. But again, the Irish casting director held the power in that show, if you know what I mean, because like they send their ideas to Ireland, and then they're the last one. So whoever's, like, the last point of call, then has the most power, right, that's where you want your audition to be seen. So that's very interesting. You know, just seeing that, thinking about that. But I believe, you know, like, the creatives in those worlds, they need to create international stories, you know, because like, the Aussie story with someone's going across the country. Like I think I saw like four films this year about someone doing some sort of cross country trip in Australia. And the film's like, I didn't see them on the stream or anything like did they do well, what happened to that? Like, I don't know how, like relative that is to the rest of the world.So. Katherine Beck 14:57 Yeah, exactly. I love that. You just whipped out your Australian accent because you've always been so good at the American accent. And you're such a good example, a prime example of you know, because Karli and I work together on her American accent when she was living in Australia. And just like you said, you know, you were the hardest working student. You worked so hard to nail that accent. And you did. And you're so devoted to everything that you do that it's just so admirable that you're out there speaking in your American accent, which is interesting. Do you find that in your career, that it's easier for you to speak in the American accent instead of your Australian accent? Karli Doumanis 15:42 For sure, for business. I mean, I think it was a little bit, it crossed my mind, like I was a little bit nervous coming onto the podcast, because I kind of like being a bit of a ghost manager when I'm in the States. And speaking in my American accent, people know, I'm from Australia, but the Americans don't click, they're not like, Where's the accent, they're just, I know, just kind of flies over their head. Um, but I think that a lot of Australians think it can, you know, remember wine, you know, the speakers, were speaking on your natural accent. Um, but, you know, it works for me over here. And from a business point of view, it'd be like, okay, imagine if an American manager came over and was trying to tell the other, like, the other Australian actor, starring managers how to do a job or how it's done there. People don't like that. And I think when it comes to, like, when you're an actor, there's a charm to it. As I was saying before, like, when you hear an accent, you go in all dressed up, and you're trying to charm them, it's part of your job is to charm people, right? But I think when it comes to business, it's like, this is how we do it here. You know, I don't want people to be like, Oh, the Australian one or the, you know, the, I just, I want it to be even I want them to be able to say what they they want. Like, for example, I've been on calls with producers are like, I'm not another Australian, like people are taking our Americans work. And that's a real thing. You know, like people want to hire with it. It's like, imagine if productions that happened in Australia, like, let's think of an Australian production, like, home away, or love child or, you know, one of those shows, imagine if they just started casting that in the US and flying in actors for guest star roles. Could you imagine, Australia would hate it, they would be like Americans are taking our jobs, there's already such a little of an industry, it wouldn't be received. So well. Whereas I mean, it's, it's it's different in the States, they are super open to international talent, they really are open to it. But I think when you know, four of the leads that are testing are all from Australia, there's going to be an American in the room going, why don't we have an American testing. So I think, you know, being I guess, looping all the way back when I speak any American accent, there's a few points one, I'm able to hear everything with no prejudice, because I'm in the US accent, so they don't have to filter any of those comments about international talent, be I'm able to negotiate so much stronger, because the American accent, everything they say is with conviction, and energy. Like I'm already sitting on the edge of my chair. And if you listen to my Australian accent, it's higher pitched, it's quieter, it's less aggressive. And I can't get business done in the way I need to here. The way Americans do business. Katherine Beck 18:40 It's so true. And do you notice this because I can also jump into the two different accents, that when I speak in my Australian accent, I also see my body change my physicality, my demeanor, the energy, it's all connected. And there really is that conviction in your whole being when you speak in the American accent. And that's, it's so interesting that you bring that up. Karli Doumanis 19:06 Yes. 100% It's so hard to describe to actors, because they're like, you know, I'll be like, hey, you're American accents, good, but the intonation or the rhythm isn't quite there. And then they feel like you're trying to tell them how to act and say things, which is an awful feeling. As an actor, you never want to feel like that. But there is something to be said about the American intonation, you know, and you've got to learn it. And it doesn't mean only, you know, it doesn't mean there's only one way things can be said there's probably four or five different intonations you can use for a sentence. But there's definitely intonations that do not feel American at all, and the Enter doesn't feel American at all. Katherine Beck 19:45 Totally. And I don't know if we worked on this together when we were working on your accent but a major factor of what I do when I teach the American accent now is really inhabiting the perspective of how Americans speak. So that you're really thinking from their point of view, which is very different to many other cultures. And so if you are not speaking from the way, Americans think our thought process, the accents never going to be fully authentic. And that's where the intonation patterns falter, or the rhythm patterns falter, or the placement or the pronunciation, it all starts with how you're thinking about it. Would you agree? Karli Doumanis 20:31 I would, I think that's really, really hard, though. Because, obviously, you know, every character is different, you know, no, one character you get presented with is the same. And I think being able to find that is just doing a lot of character studies on probably lots of different Americans to see, you know, the world from lots of different Americans point of view. I do know exactly what you're saying. It's a cultural thing. And I that's so complicated and hard. But I actually remember to there's two things I remember from that, and really stick out to me when I think about working with you. One of them is when I think you said the word iPod like 10 times to me because I couldn't get the I sound like iPod and I was obviously going iPod and not hitting it. And you're like, no, no iPod, and I'm like, yeah, iPod, I could not hear the difference for the life of me. And, you know, sometimes when a client does a self table, voice memo them a couple of words that stick out and they're like, I literally can't hear the difference. And I always say to them, that's okay. Neither Could I with the word iPod, iPod, like I just couldn't get up. And honest with that particular sound, I don't think fully clicked for me until I was living here. So I could really hear it. But it's just about doing it again and again. And again. Even if you can't quite hear it, like my ear couldn't quite hear it, but I just kept at it with you until you were like, Yeah, and I was like, okay, you know, like, I think it's okay to like not because some differences are so subtle, you know? So I remember that. And it's funny that I sound I hear all the time in the offseason, like Oh, that was me. Um, and then the second one is, yeah, when you were you would like mimic, mimic the way to say online. And it being in the intonation and really struggling. I look back as an actor, I think I was actually very combative and very defensive. Which is an interesting thing to know about myself looking back. And it came from a place of being a challenger and wanting to get it right. And knowing why. And I found it really frustrating as an actor being told how to say align. But you were dead, right? Because the intonation is so important. And my intonation were off. And I'd go away, and I do the Lynne Hirschberg screencasts and say that, you know, do it with lots of different female actors, I liked going on to the Lin hershberg screen tests because it wasn't an interview or someone else comes in. It's just an American speaking. And obviously, someone else is being interviewed. But they cut that out. So it's just the American talking. And I would try and dead mimic what they say the way they say it with the intonation is going down at the end. And I would replay replay and say it at the exact same time as them. And once I got the whole of Dakota findings down, I moved on to Elle Fanning's and then I moved on to the next actor that had a similar voice to me, you know, so I could learn lots of different Americans intonations, so then I could come back and try and nail with you. But I remember as an actor just really grappling with that. Katherine Beck 23:55 Yeah. And you know, you're not alone. How many actors are perfectionist and want to get it right and get frustrated when they don't, and can't hear or can't understand it is a process and it is repetition. A nd sometimes it's just time takes time, like you said. Karli Doumanis 24:11 Yeah once you said iPod, honestly, 100 times, sometimes it clicks. And I know that sounds crazy. But that literally worked. For me. It's kind of like ballet when they're like, use this muscle and you've never used it. And every single class the ballet teachers, like use that muscle, squeeze it and your that your brain just doesn't connect to a certain muscle you've never used. And then one day after just imagining that muscle doing the thing for, you know, a year that muscle switches on and then you know how to control it. I feel like that is kind of like the accent sometimes with those sounds that you don't quite hear the difference with just doing it so much. Katherine Beck 24:49 Yeah, Yeah, it is. It's muscle memory, like anything else, like any other muscle in your body. And it's getting that brain to connect to those muscles to really fully understand that so that it becomes second nature, so that, you know, they can sound like you just effortless speaking in the accent was not a worry in sight. Karli Doumanis 25:09 Yeah, I don't think about it at all, obviously. Yeah, it's weird Sometimes though. Like, if someone talks to me in Australian accent, I'll answer as if it's a different language. And I don't even notice I'm doing it, which is kind of weird, I guess. Katherine Beck 25:27 I love it. Alright, so let's talk about because it's interesting. You know, I used to live in LA as an actor, a voiceover artist, you've done the whole acting thing in LA. What do you think was some of the hardest struggles for you as an actor? Once you landed over there? Was it the auditioning? Was it the rejection? Karli Doumanis 25:50 Okay, my Oh, one visa actually got rejected. So I will say the visa process for me because I've put in so much effort and energy into it was probably one of the hardest parts of being an actor. And that's why I just will never let an actor's Oh, and get rejected. Because I went through that, and it was awful. I had a recommendation to a bad lawyer and just blindly trusted them. But I think once I was here on have the visa was doing the thing, it was probably, I think it's the rejection. I think the constant rejection and seeing other people book things that, and this is gonna sound a bit like stuck up. But I've seen other people who weren't as talented book. And being on the other side, I know now why that was fully, I think there's part of me that can be charismatic, but I'm not the most charismatic person I'm not, I don't have a very, like, strong look, you know, when I look at my list, I see the actors that are like, stars, I guess, you know, and there's actors that are very talented, that could be stars, if the if the right role came along. But then I have the actors where it's like, there's many roles for you, where you could be a launching pad, which could be a launching pad for you, you're not so specific, or whatnot. So I think that was really hard. Just not like, like doing everything right. And not getting to where I want it to be. I think, you know, looking at it from a booking perspective, took away my love for the craft. And I think when you start to lose that, and lose yourself, like I have a memory of being in my managers pull. And I'm still very close with him today, Bill Pullman whom I love so much, and I'm so grateful for the incredible opportunities that he got me and believing in me to this day, truly, he's really amazing. And I was very lucky to have great people on my side, I didn't have bad rap, I didn't have bad experiences, I was always introduced to incredibly progressive, inspiring people in LA. And I kept those around me. So that was very lucky. But I remember swimming in his pool and being self conscious about the way I was swimming. Like That is insane. That's not living, you know. And it's easy to get wrapped up in that in LA, something happens where you start to become a little bit more self conscious. I think it's because you so much effort into getting here that once you're here, you want to book because now you're here, you've done it all you've done the deeds, you've done everything. So now you've got a book. So when you're not booking after, you know, yours, and you're working your hardest, you're doing all the right things. You know, I think that's why I say to my actors, I'm like, if you want to be in it for the long haul, please be in a position financially where you can be, I don't want you to be broke. I really don't like I want you to live your life, have one life, enjoy it, and see acting as like still put in 100%. But I think in a way, not aside, I don't want to call it a side thing. But it's like a 50 50 it's like as my job and my acting. Yeah, I can put down a tape but I can also live comfortably. Because when you're scrounging with no money, you're not going to be your most confident, full, comfortable, charismatic self. Katherine Beck 29:23 Yeah, it's so true. And I don't know about you, but I definitely remember those days now that you bring it up of being a starving artist in LA and really scrambling you know, to pay the rent, working my job as a waitress by night and auditioning by day and it is it's a hard life and you've got to really have that love there, don't you to keep you going. And so staying focused as well. It's very hard, I think I know for myself, is to be able to stay focused and stay on that route when you're in LA because it's very easy to get sidetracked. Karli Doumanis 30:00 Yeah, yeah, it's true. I gotta say, though, I definitely like I love LA. And I've had some really great experiences here. And I feel like like a lot of people say La is a tough city. I feel more free in America than Australia. And I think in LA, there's a tribe for everyone. I think you just have to find that tribe. Because I think you can be louder and more silly here in a way, because everyone's playing kind of crazy. And I think there's less judgement here. In general, you know, in surely you got to be cool. It'd be laid back and chill. Karli, chill, I was like you I'm not a chill person. I'm just not a chill person. I'm gonna be chill. Always go go. Katherine Beck 30:54 I know, you were always desitined I think for LA, you were more that state of mind even when you're over here. So this has been really great. I think maybe just to wrap things up. Do you have any advice for actors that are in other countries wanting to really tap into the US market? Whether it's to move over there? Or, you know, now that things are so accessible online to start auditioning from wherever they are? Do you have any advice for international actors? Karli Doumanis 31:24 Hmm,yeah, I think, um, obviously, get the accent down. You know, there's so many roles now that they're like, Oh, you can use your own accent, but for the most part, it's still they want us and you know, why not have that amazing creative tool in your bag, you know, to learn. I think the UK as well is super common. So like, have your UK accent, have your us accent, have your own accent, they should all be things that you have in your toolbox. And then just, I think focus on the work and make sure you're happy in your life. And don't put all of your life happiness on that because there is a dice roll to acting. And I think if it's, you know, focus on the craft, because if you're really great at what you do, your acting teacher is going to talk to a rep, you know, or your friends going to tell someone else who's going to tell they you know, if you focus on the craft, and you're so good, even you know, your accent coach, if they're like, oh, wow, this person special, they might recommend you to someone. So I think stay focus on the craft trust, it'll happen. I don't think you have to be your biggest business manager, which I think sometimes people in the industry tell you you have to be, I don't know, I just don't think you you don't have to be your own manager. You know, if you stay focused on the craft of your accent, you know, they're good. putting down tapes, I think the industry is constructed in a way that those that are good, you know, will find rap, and they'll recommend you to X or Y, you know, and create a world where you're happy. And if you are happy in your world and you're doing your art, I feel like good should come either way, because you're happy. The main thing, Katherine Beck 33:00 most definitely that's so won derful and I think that's a really great place to wrap it up. It's been too long. But it's been such a great chance to just get your perspective on the industry. You've got such an interesting journey. So thank you so much. And hopefully we'll get a chance to chat with you again sometime in the future. Karli Doumanis 33:17 Sounds great. Thanks, Katherine. Appreciate it. Katherine Beck 33:19 Wow, what a great interview with Karli so much insight not only into the business in LA but her journey as an actor, and her experience mastering the American accent. I hope you got something out of today's interview. And if you want to learn more about my American accent process, which is exactly how I taught Carly, then you'll want to check out my free guide on how to master the all American accent in just seven steps. All you have to do is head over to Katherine beck.com slash accent to grab your copy. And if you ever have any questions you'd like to ask me, join me on Instagram. You can find me there. Send me a DM and let's chat. That's it at Katherine underscore Beck underscore I'd love to hear from you. Or if you have any questions or topics you'd like to hear me talk about in the podcast, send me a DM and let me know. And coming up next week on the show we are going to talk about why you do not need a perfect American accent to book the role. I am going to show you why striving for a perfect American accent could be doing more harm than good. Now make sure to share the show with all your actor friends. Let them know what's coming up next week and invite them to tune in with you and learn how to become an all American Actor. So you can be the working actor you dream to be until then go practice your American accent and I'll see you back here next time.