Beginnings – 8 December 2015

If you are a story maker, which is essentially what we all are in this business, you know that every good story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

In the summer of 2012 my old agent Nikki Reeves phoned me with the sad news that she had decided to close her agency. She suggested I might like to try my hand at it with the encouraging news that “It makes no money and it’s really hard work.” Three years in and I completely agree.

After checking my plans, and that I wasn’t completely unhinged, she confirmed what I was already thinking

I spent the first twelve months trying to work out how it all works. I’m still learning. At the end of that year though, I knew that we had to expand or die. I was lucky to get some inspirational mentoring from Bafta winning producer Natasha Carlish who had just finished as producer on 121 episodes of Doctors at the BBC. After checking my plans, and that I wasn’t completely unhinged, she confirmed what I was already thinking. Over the past two years we have grown, recruiting a diverse and talented family of actors, and creatives, and launched a young actors wing which is already beginning to show promise with our first West End audition this week.  Our people have been cast in feature films, TV dramas, West End stage, repertory, regional and fringe theatre, TV and on-line adverts, BBC Radio drama, corporate films and role-play.

This year , 2015, has really put us on the map with our involvement in the TV film Danny And the Human Zoo, a fictionalised account of Sir Lenny Henry’s life as a teenager in 1970s Dudley, filmed in the Midlands. We cast several parts in the film, including Kascion Franklin in the title role, as well as helping them with a jazz band, a mime artist, a magician, a contortionist and a ventriloquist, Sophie Abercombie was official choreographer and Mallory got to assist casting director Lisa Makin, filming the auditions in Birmingham. Sadly Kascion will be leaving us; I’m disappointed but I kind of expected it, and wish him every success. The future for RED remains with the amazing actors and creatives team we have now.

I have loved every moment of the journey so far

We have grown as an organisation too.  With Mandy managing the finance and Mallory and Sophie joining us, it’s really opened my eyes to other opportunities for the agency, and these brilliant people have been a vital part of our growth and development. And there is more to come.

Nikki was right. It’s hard work. However, she’s been highly supportive, and I have loved every moment of the journey so far, even uncomfortable parts and disappointments. It’s been tough beginning but an exciting and rewarding First Ten Pages, and a steep learning curve (other clichés are available), and I relish the challenges ahead in building a vibrant and successful agency.

Robert Wilkinson

BACK to the index