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Old 02-15-07, 03:12 PM   #1
Steven Ragatz
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Default Cast of Thousands

With 2006/2007 I have made an effort to send out publicity and build some new contacts with agents, agencies and show producers. Cast of Thousands (http://www.castof1000s.com/) was on my list of potential agencies to contact based on absolutely RAVING reviews of their company by P.Net regular, Cybele Pomeroy. I have had four phone conversations with them over the past two months so far, two with each office (East coast and West coast).

Based simply on the treatment I received as a potential artist, and the incompetence of the people I spoke with, I would not recommend working with them. In fact, the treatment I received was SO bad, I even feel compelled to share my experience with everyone here!

The funny thing about the audition process is that it works two ways. I audition for them, but at the same time, they are auditioning for me. I suspect that there are folk here on P.Net who have booked gigs with them, and may have very different tales to tell, but based on some simple inquiries over the past two months, and submission of promotional material, Cast of Thousands did not pass my audition.

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Old 02-16-07, 10:33 AM   #2
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Sorry to hear you had a bad experience with Cast of 1000s.

Although it's been some time, I've done a few gigs with the East Coast branch; while I've found them a bit disorganized from time to time, I haven't heard of--or experienced--any poor treatment.

Would you share in more details of what happened?
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Old 02-16-07, 03:18 PM   #3
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Maybe "poor treatment" isn't the best description. How about "no treatment"?

Poor treatment would imply that I got them to review my promotional package and they were rude as a result. Not only can I not get them to review the material, I can't even get them to acknowledge that they received it! Keep in mind that I had an "insider" rave about me ahead of time so that they would expect my contact.

I kid you not - this is a darn near accurate transcript of my last conversation calling the 1-800 number listed for the West coast office's website.

Ring - Ring - Ring

CoT: "Hello?"

Steve: "Um, I was calling for Cast of Thousands' West Coast office?"

CoT: "I'm on the other line, can you call back?" <click!>

Now, I'm not too fussy about business phone protocol, but this one really set me off. But, OK, I give them other chances...

This past week I called the East coast office. The conversation was long enough that I can't literally reproduce the dialog with such accuracy, but the jist of the rapport after I gave them my name was that I was told they didn't know if they had received my promotional material, but if they had, it would be "sitting on a shelf" and they would look at it when they had a need. I implied that perhaps viewing the material first, or at least surveying it, might give them a better idea of the potential for bookings. (Actually, I was thinking some snide remark about them getting good bookings with their psychic act.) This notion was met with a long, pregnant silence. I replied, "So, it just sits on a shelf?". They said - in one word - "yes." There was another pregnant silence...

I can't duplicate the awkwardness that I felt trying to simply get them to work with me on the basic process of introduction. I am not new to this business, nor am I new to their particular genre and venue. I've worked with international agents, regional agents, local agents, the secretary down the hall, and Billy's mom, who wants me to do his birthday party next Tuesday! I contacted almost twenty new agents, agencies, representatives, and producers this past two months alone and have had many introductory phone calls and correspondences, none leading anywhere immediately, but all were civilized and predictable, except two. The two that stuck out as being uncharacteristically bad were the Cast of Thousands East and Cast of Thousands West.

I don't want to beat a dead horse. Like I said - they may be great to work with, but I won't ever know since I can't even get them to tell me if the package I sent them arrived! If considered from my end, after four phone conversations, if they can't handle the simple protocol of dealing with an artist trying to submit promotional material to their office, how could they possibly be able to organize and produce a reasonable show? Hell, Billy's mom did a better job of engaging me!

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Old 02-23-07, 04:52 PM   #4
Liz Demery
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I'm so sorry if you're opening experience with them turned you off.

I live in the DC area and work with them all the time as they are highly ethical people and do all they can do take great care of their performers.

I highly recommend them because they pay well and they are good people. I would chalk up any appearance of lack of organization to the fact that sometimes they get swamped with work or have changes in office staff.

Last edited by Liz Demery; 02-23-07 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 02-25-07, 03:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Liz Demery
I'm so sorry if you're opening experience with them turned you off.

I live in the DC area and work with them all the time as they are highly ethical people and do all they can do take great care of their performers.

I highly recommend them because they pay well and they are good people. I would chalk up any appearance of lack of organization to the fact that sometimes they get swamped with work or have changes in office staff.
Fair enough! Thank-you for posting. I am glad to see that someone has had positive experience through the association. At this point, the agency has my materials and are free to contact me as they see fit. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him book you.

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Old 02-25-07, 04:51 PM   #6
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Default Ah yes, leading . . .

>You can lead a horse to water, but you >can't make him book you.

I find it frustrating when someone who should know better, since they have been getting my postcard, has my promo material, website, etc, says: "Oh, you do that? I didn't know . . ."

Grin grin grin grin grin grin grin grin grin grin grin grin
and

bear it!
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Old 02-25-07, 06:58 PM   #7
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My reaction has always been that I only have myself to focus on - while they have a whole stable of performers and events.

I can't blame them if I haven't made a strong impression on them, although I prefer it were their fault - because then it means I don't have to review or revamp any of my promo materials or skills.
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Old 02-25-07, 08:53 PM   #8
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The expectation of not getting called is the norm - dealing with rudeness and incompetence is not. If someone can't even handle the social graces of a business phone call, I don't imagine they would do well in a show situation, would you?

My posting on the subject was a reflection of my visceral reaction to the handful of baneful interactions with this particular agency. It isn't a smear campaign or anything serious, just a "this is what happened to me" report to fellow performers.

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Old 02-26-07, 01:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Steven Ragatz
The expectation of not getting called is the norm - dealing with rudeness and incompetence is not.
Oh yes I agree- there's a big difference between no contact and rude contact.

(Although again, I always try to give one Mulligan - but that just may be because I own a club and am hoping that people will give me a Mulligan on MY rough days.)
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Old 06-21-10, 11:09 PM   #10
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I had a bad experience with this agency as well, but for me it was bad organization during a gig. Maybe this is not typical, but here's what happened when I did my one and only gig for Cast of Thousands.

Got to the address on the gig sheet to find out that they had given us all the WRONG ADDRESS. Then I tried to call the emergency contact number which was also wrong. The other number on the gig sheet was for the office, and at 8pm on a Saturday there was obviously no one there.

I ended up calling the poor girl that was sick at home that worked for Cast of Thousands and was the only other number I had. She told me the correct address and from there, the rest of the night went smoothly.

After the event it took a little over two months for them to pay me, which wouldn't have bothered me so much, but when I emailed to ask about the time frame it would take to get paid, I got a very rude and short response of "don't know".

So, after trying out this agency I was not impressed either.
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Old 06-22-10, 03:35 PM   #11
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One thing about being as professionally politically astute as Mr Steven Ragatz is that when you do risk publically complaining about something you can be assured there's no potential downside as a result.

It's been slow in trickling through but there's a large seachange in agencies pre and post internet.
It used to be about information, agencies had it, we didn't.
enter the google.
Now it's about quality of relationship primarily. Reliable? Articulate? Administratively astute? Interesting and efficient?
More clients are interested in dealing with talent directly if the relationship is interesting and effective. Both sides win.
And old school agencies wither and die.
While new style agencies who treat both sides of their bread and butter with respect prosper.
Which is justice served.
/rant
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Old 07-14-10, 04:37 PM   #12
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I hate hearing anything bad about Cast. I don't get a chance to interact with them - I run an agency of my own based in the same geographic area (hi Laura - it's always been nice working with you) and when I started my agency, Cast of 1000s was the gold standard. We don't often come up against each other when bidding jobs, because we usually provide different kinds of talent, but I'd always heard that they did a great job from performers that work for us and have worked for them as well. Twenty years ago, when my company was two guys operating out of a basement, I would look at Cast and think...one day...

So I'm hoping the issues are few and far between, and that they're still the gold standard, because even as an occasional competitor, I've got only good thoughts for them.
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