Casting Networks® caught up with JC Gutierrez of Independent Artist Entertainment. JC explains how he got into the business of representation, the highlights of a difficult year and plans for the future.
1. What inspired you to be a Talent Agent?
As a Pre-Med student, I double majored in TV and Film to remain competitive for Medical School. My first job outside of college was working in Development; reading scripts and fetching coffee. After sitting in a room with no windows and bad overhead lighting, I wanted to find a job that would let me connect with people and be part of their journey; similar to the reasons why I wanted to become a doctor. After meeting an agent from CAA and reading a book by David Rensin, I knew that I had to find a way into representing talent. I have the utmost respect for performers and the passion they have to put themselves out there. At the end of the day, talented and driven individuals continue to inspire me; to help them connect with people and take steps toward fulfilling their destiny.
2. What was your first position in an agency or manager’s office?
I started off as a floater at a talent agency. I was exposed to various desks and protocols pulling headshots (paper cuts on the daily), prepping packages for the messengers, rolling calls and attending showcases. My hard work paid off and I became an agent one year after starting.
3. What is a ‘career highlight’ of yours?
I thought I would say that launching my own management company would be a career highlight, but truly it’s calling a client with a booking. Every single time I get to call and say remember that goal we had? That project you wanted to go after? That role that you fought for? You got it! I am extremely proud of the diverse and elite roster of talent that I have the honor to represent, and grateful to be in the trenches with them every step of the way.
4. If you could go back, what would you tell yourself on your first day on the job?
I would tell myself that casting directors, associates and assistants are some of the most pivotal and underappreciated people in our industry, so always be nice and make sure your clients thank them in their speeches! My first day I had a casting director call me with appointments for a project taking place the next day. Realizing I forgot to ask some important details, I called back and was greeted by a sassy assistant who refused to connect me. Being a fellow 20-something, I sassed back which got me nowhere. Funny enough, this individual and I developed a friendship from that day and I was given an insider’s look into their world. I got into this business to connect with people and on day one forgot that we are all people, dealing with our own stuff, and we can work through it with mutual respect and the occasional happy hour.
5. What are some of your favorite hobbies outside of work?
I am a total workaholic! I love what I get to do, the people I get to work with and the talent that I represent. Any free time I have is usually spent on work-related items, with the occasional trip to Disneyland. =)
6. If you could describe yourself as a television or movie character, who would you pick and why?
If you asked me as a kid, I would have said Superman! I had glasses since the 3rd grade and related to Clark Kent being a mild-mannered/nerdy reporter, but also an alien Superhero with powers. Now, as a bigger kid, I would say Ari Gold from “Entourage.” Not because of his position or power, but because of how dedicated he is to his work, his clients and his family. Some of the closest people in my life are the actors that I represent AKA my family of choice.
7. What was the last film you saw?
“The Rental,” written and directed by Dave Franco. I highly recommend it!
8. Do you have a quote or mantra that you live by?
Everything happens for a reason. I remind myself and my clients that when one opportunity seems absolutely perfect and feels foregone conclusion, but doesn’t happen, it’s because there is something bigger and better on the horizon. We need to put in the work, trust the process and remain focused and positive.
9. If you could have lunch with anyone, present or past, who would you pick?
My grandmother. She passed away in February of 2020, a few weeks shy of her 99th birthday. She was a strong, independent Latina who moved to the states for a better life, and what an amazingly long life she had! One of the last things we discussed was the many definitions of family and loyalty. She also reminded me that sometimes you should have dessert first because we never know how much time we have left. So enjoy it while you can.
10. What excites you about the future of your profession?
I’m excited that we are experiencing a world that has been forced to look into authenticity, inclusive representation on-camera, extreme mobility due to COVID, advancements in technology etc. It makes the relationship-building, networking, training, and advocacy on behalf of talent extremely important. It’s not work when you truly care about the people that you’re representing, believe in their gifts and are lucky enough to go along for the ride. It’s the adventure that excites me!
Pictured Left to Right: JC Gutierrez – Head of Talent, Janelle Junio – ABC Casting, Jenn Proctor – Head of Music, Shelli Margheritis – Head of Development