Talent Agent Tyman Stewart Visits VFS Acting

“You should always have an agent who thinks you can do everything,” VFS Advisory Board Member Tyman Stewart told a packed room of Acting for Film & Television students this week.

As the Senior Vice President of The Characters Talent Agency (West), you could say he’s well-versed in the inner workings of the film industry. He’s one of the reasons Acting grad Adam DiMarco has had such an incredible year, having made the behind-the-scenes connections that resulted in getting Adam seen by dozens of decision-makers.

Seated comfortably for a moderated Q&A, Tyman also reflected on signing Head of Department Bill Marchant: “I remember seeing you. I remember to this day: I am repping you.” Over an hour and a half, he shared a lot of promising stories and hard lessons, as current Acting for Film & Television student John Connolly has been kind enough to recap for us.

Guest Post by John Connolly

The classroom was filled to the brim with students waiting for Bill Marchant and our guest speaker, Tyman Stewart, to arrive. It was an unprecedented event for the Acting for Film & Television program, and our current three classes were the fortunate ones to be present for it. Tyman Stewart is the Senior VP of The Characters Talent Agency, the second largest agency in Canada, which currently represents VFS faculty members Bill Marchant and Jennifer Clement, as well as quite a few VFS alumni. The agency has branches in Los Angeles and Toronto as well as here in Vancouver. Tyman has also produced a few films, including Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning, and the upcoming A Little Bit Zombie.

Over the course of an hour and a half, students asked about anything they could think of: outside influences on the industry, work in the US, even haircuts. The questions varied from personal to inclusive, and Tyman would respond with stories and examples from his personal experience as well as the general standard among other agencies. He made it very apparent that he wasn’t going to sugarcoat anything for our benefit. It may have made some students uneasy at first, but that soon passed as they realized how his personality visibly reflects his attitude toward his job: professional, yet personable.

The recurring theme throughout the session seemed to be stereotypes, or the fear of being pigeonholed into one specific character. “If your talent surpasses that,” Tyman answered, “then you shouldn’t worry.” Build a reputation as a great actor and possess great skills, then there will be no boundaries. Focus. Make sure you continue your training, learn techniques, and always keep an ear to the ground as to what’s happening in the business. He also made it clear that “you can be as good as you want, but if you’re an ass, no one will want to work with you.” While it may seem obvious, there are indeed actors in the world who may disregard that advice.

From beginning to end, the evening was a constant outbreak of overwhelming information and each of us left with something valuable to bring into our future endeavours.

Thanks, John!

Visit VFS on Flickr to see photos from Tyman’s visit.

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