Jaclyn Hergott Shares The Secret to Finding a Talent Agent
Jaclyn Hergott is someone you need right now. By someone, I mean, you need this woman to be your talent agent. I had the pleasure speaking with Hergott on her journey to NYC, networking, and living in Chicago:
Being a Talent Agent at 10MGMT sounds like an amazing job. Can you tell us what are your day-to-day responsibilities?
JH: There's nothing better than loving what you do! And I look forward to going to work at 10MGMT every single day. I'm not only fortunate to have an incredible job/career, I'm also lucky to have an amazing TEAM! Every day is different and we never know what we are walking into every morning. Typical days include submitting on breakdowns, castings, negotiating bookings/ reviewing contracts, scouting, developing talent, taking new meetings, sales, and much, much more. It is an extremely fast-paced industry and we always have to be "on". Once I leave the office, the day is not done. I am constantly on call and have to check emails all evening (up until I go to bed and first thing when I wake up). One time I got a call sheet at 2 AM for 16 talent to be on set at 8 AM that next morning. It can be a lot of work and chaos, but I love every minute of it.
Can you tell us your background and why you wanted to recruit talent?
JH: I started out as a child actor, making my professional debut at the age of eight. (My mother is a TV Producer and Director, so she got me involved in the industry at a very young age). I went to the University of Illinois to receive my BFA in Acting. During the summers of college, I lived in LA and dabbled in talent management and casting. I always had an eye for talent and I loved connecting people. I have always known this was the world I belonged in and what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. After college, I moved to NYC and began my career as a Talent Agent.
You went to NYC and now you're living in Chicago! Tell us about your journey from moving to NYC to become an actress to being a talent agent in Chicago?
JH: The ultimate dream was to be on Broadway. I have always loved the theater from a very young age, and had lots of success as a child. As I grew older and moved out to New York, I realized soon after that my dreams had shifted. Working 8 shows a week, constantly auditioning and not knowing when my next paycheck would come in was not the life I wanted to live. I was also living in a CRAZY expensive studio apartment in the heart of the Lower East Side of New York which didn't make things easier. I needed to make money and I needed to make money fast. I admire and respect actors who move out to New York and do everything they can to work on their craft, work survival jobs, and make ends meet. Because let me tell ya, it is not easy. It is a hard life to be an actor, especially in New York City. Transitioning into casting and Talent Management was perfect for me because I was still in that creative world, doing what I love, but with a steady paycheck coming in. After 5 magical years in New York City it was time to move back to Chicago with my family. My entire family lives in Chicago and I knew at the end of the day this is where I want to settle down and raise my family. Luckily Chicago is a fantastic market with insanely talented actors, so I am very blessed to be back home doing what I love. HOWEVER, I do come back to NY all the time for work and may move back one day :).
What are some challenges you faced in your position?
JH: There are always going to be challenges and nothing comes easy-- that is what makes it fun. I love to push the boundaries and try out new things, even if I fail. After a few years in NYC, I decided to move back home to Chicago. Moving from New York to Chicago was a challenge, as I was entering a completely new market- blind. I didn't know any of the talent, casting directors, and they didn't know me. Although I was very successful in New York, there was no guarantee I would be successful here. It was my job to network my butt off, get to know clients, knock on doors, and make things happen.
People here the word "networking," in many different ways, what does that word mean to you?
JH: Networking to me is one of the most important things when it comes to business - and in life. This means saying "yes" to opportunities that come your way and making things happen on your own; i.e.going to events, cold calling, outreach, taking coffee meetings, connecting and referring friends/family, social media, you name it! I believe in every industry - and especially in the entertainment industry - you need to knock on doors and create your own opportunities. You have to put yourself out there, create a brand, and find your voice. The more people you know, the more opportunities will come your way.
Who are your inspirations and why do you look up to them?
JH: Sarah. Jessica. Parker. Enough said. Creative, talented, has a love for fashion, love for life, and an infectious energy. I aspire to be all of those things.
Who were some celebrities you meet during your job?
JH: With my background working in Chicago, LA and New York in the entertainment industry you do meet a lot of celebrities but at this point they are just normal people to me.
What advice would you tell your younger self about life after college?
JH: Stay curious. Stay open. Stay honest. They will also be the best years of your life.