Casting Networks® caught up with talent agent Mark Park of Stewart Talent. Mark discusses what inspired him to become an agent, career highlights and why he’s optimistic about the future of entertainment.
1. What inspired you to be a Talent Agent?
I was working as a casting director when I was fortunate enough to get an offer to take a position as a talent agent. I enjoyed working with actors in the casting environment. The idea of working with them directly and helping them guide their career as a talent agent excited me.
2. What was your first position in an agency or manager’s office?
With my casting experience, I was fortunate enough to skip the mailroom/assistant position and start right away as a talent agent. My first position in this industry was a casting assistant. Literally six days out of college I got hired by Donna DeSeta Casting. At the time it was probably the busiest commercial casting office in New York City. Every job was SAG. Almost every spot that we cast ran nationally. Actors made a solid living from just one commercial booking. It was a good time. I learned a ton from Donna and the gang. All my experience in casting made me the agent that I am today.
3. What is a career highlight of yours?
When I see an actor perform and my gut says to work with him/her and to watch that client land their first job and blossom in their craft. Those moments are my career highlights.
4. If you could go back, what would you tell yourself on your first day on the job?
Always trust your instincts. That gut feeling in your stomach is usually the right one. Oh, and buy sh*t load of Bitcoin in 2009.
5. What are some of your favorite hobbies outside of work?
If eating was a sport I’d be the Michael Jordan of eating. Good food and good company is my favorite combo. I enjoy going to the movies, musical theater, sketch comedy shows and binge-watching at home. I love learning about the ancient history of everything and anything, especially about the Bronze Age. I also love watching football. I enjoy the whole draft and free agency process to see how each team builds its roster to win the Super Bowl. To me, player scouting is equivalent to talent scouting. It’s about putting the best roster together for your team.
6. If you could describe yourself as a television or movie character, who would you pick and why?
I just love Ron Swanson’s character from ‘Parks and Recreation.’ He pretends he doesn’t care about anyone, but he deeply does for the people around him.
7. What was the last film you saw?
I recently re-watched Christopher Nolan’s ‘Inception’ on Netflix. I remember liking it when I first saw it in the theater back in 2010. It has a very complicated storyline and in the end, it wraps-up beautifully! Mr. Nolan is a genius.
8. Do you have a quote or mantra that you live by?
“There’s a humorous side to every situation. The challenge is to find it,” from the great George Carlin.
9. If you could have lunch with anyone, present or past, who would you pick?
I’d love to have lunch with the person that was in charge of building the Egyptian pyramids at Giza. Just to ask him/her; “How the f**k did you do it?!!!”
10. What excites you about the future of your profession?
I’m optimistic. When this quarantine is finally over there will be a period of time for all of us to adjust. Once we get rolling, I think that the commercial industry will have a major resurgence. So many commercial spots have been pulled off the air due to the current situation. All these companies will need new spots to air.