A little effort goes a long way...

  • James Abbey

    Actor

    Dear all,

    I just wanted to simply say how many applications we get for Grays that are addressed Dear Sir/Madam, To Whom it may concern, Hi or not even any greeting at all. On our information page it clearly shows all our names and any one you choose to use when contacting us is fine. It is on there because we don't like to feel that we are just part of a big mailshot. We like it that little bit more personal.

    Kind Regards

    James

    • 27th Jul 2009
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  • User Deleted

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    Then again James, it's a good way of weeding out people.

    I'm in a Co-op, and it's amazing how many applications we get that don't acknowledge that fact (which we then assume means that they are doing a mass mailout to everyone in Contacts). Most of these end up being turned down.

    Research, research, research - it pays off in the end!!

    • 22nd Jul 2009
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  • Mark Kempner

    Actor

    Goodness me, are you serious? Well I think you are making a big deal of that!

    I get a lot of actors requesting work for my own Co, and quite often, they are addressed Dear Sir or Madam, or to whom it may concern...etc...even Dear casting department. However, I read the letter carefully and the picture and the reel ....that's of a lot more interest to me!

    Of course it's probably part of a large mail shot, that's what actors do, but it's the letter content and the actor which is of far more importance to me?

    I agree, if one was writing to one of the "top" London agents and or casting directors, one can easily find out a name if you like, but how does one always know that person is the right person to write too? Ring first…….Hmmm….quite often you'll get the cold shoulder from the off!

    To immediately turn someone down or away, simply because they have addressed the letter Dear Sir or Madam...seems daft to me. You could be turning away a really interesting prospect.

    Dear Sir or Madam is a widely accepted opening to a letter and is also part of the oxford dictionary. I know what you are saying, but come on, cut these new keen, hungry actors a little slack now and again!

    • 22nd Jul 2009
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    I hear what you are saying Mark, but you have to a) know what a Co-op is, and b) really want to be a member, in order for the whole thing to work.

    99.9% of those we respond to with "are you aware that we are a Co-op, with all that this entails both financially and time wise?" never contact us again.

    Joining a Co-op isn't like applying for a job Mark, sorry! And someone can be the most fantastic actor in the world, but if you don't have a burning desire to be part of the co-op ethos, you'll get very fed up very quickly, and end up having wasted everyone's time.

    • 22nd Jul 2009
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  • Mark Kempner

    Actor

    I know all about the workings of, and how Co-ops are run Annie!

    I agree if an actor is putting exactly the same letter to a co-op as they are to a single personal management or agent, then that is daft of the actor, of course. I take your point.

    That wasn't the pont raised though was it? The issue raised was addressing a letter Dear Sir or Madam etc....wasn't it?!

    • 22nd Jul 2009
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  • James Abbey

    Actor

    Well, I didn't mean to create an argument folks. I would presume we all have our own opinions on the subject. I was just advising if anyone was applying to us, we prefer them to use our names.

    Cheers

    James

    • 22nd Jul 2009
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  • Jonathan Goodwin

    Actor

    Well, at least I will know better next time around! That being said, I have to contact potential agents whilst temping (for paltry pay whilst under obscene degrees of scrutiny) and so a chap's attention to detail tends sometimes to suffer under such telling conditions!! Still, all good guidance, sir.

    • 22nd Jul 2009
    • 6
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    Dear James, Annie, Mark, Annie, Mark, James, Splat, Splat & Jonathan...Oh and as I dont know who will read this after me, I best put 'to whom it may concern!!!'

    James - Thank you for bring this concern to our attention, I can truly imagine the problem this situation must cause...I also hate being called Sir (but not as much as being called 'Madam'...!!)

    As well as being an Actor...I am also a Professional Toastmaster & Master of Ceremonies and skilled in all aspects of protocol, procedure and etiquette, especially when it comes to forms of address.

    May I be so bold as to quote from my bible as a Toastmaster - Debretts Correct Form. It states in its latest edition.

    Salutations

    Quote "In general, a letter should be headed 'Dear' followed by the recipient's title (Mr, Mrs, Miss) and surname.

    If the sender is familiar with the recipient, then the letter can be addressed using their first name only, e.g. 'Dear John'.

    If the sender has already received correspondence from the recipient, then they should mirror how the recipient styled themself previously.

    If the sender does not know the name of the recipient, then 'Dear Sir/Madam' can be used. The sender should, however, make every effort to find out the recipient's name in order to personalise the letter" Unquote

    Any of the above would be correct...May I suggest James, that if you prefer the use of first names in any replies, you could states "Please send your replies for the attention of any of the names found on our information page" our lives as Actors are hard enough as it is.

    This must be a first as each and all of you are in one way or other correct...hehe

    'Please charge your glasses and be upstanding for your reply writer'

    Steve

    • 22nd Jul 2009
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  • Jonathan Goodwin

    Actor

    Well said, sir! Or, Dear Sir...!

    • 22nd Jul 2009
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  • Charles Delaney

    Actor

    ...What about applyimg for casting jobs,(paid ones naturally) whereby the employers name/s have been withheld?

    Dear Lord subterfuge...

    • 22nd Jul 2009
    • 9
  • User Deleted

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    Another good question...Charles, if the employers name/s have been withheld, then they can not expect to receive a personalised response.

    I therefore refer you back to my last reply.

    "If the sender does not know the name of the recipient, then 'Dear Sir/Madam' can be used".

    A lesser form of salutation would be 'to whom it may concern' if you truly do not know the ultimate recipient, recipient's or (as Mark rightly said) Department within the organisation.

    Of course, etiquette is important, but I would like to think that I am being judged by my professional ability to do the job asked of me, and not my inability to say 'Hello' properly

    I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient servant

    Steve

    • 22nd Jul 2009
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  • James Abbey

    Actor

    Why thankyou Splat, I am far to modest to agree but will guarantee that I'm about ten foot taller than Mr Cruise.

    • 23rd Jul 2009
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    Dear All

    As a Temp secretary, I agree with Steve. I tend to use the formal if I haven't met the person - afraid I'm of the old school though!

    Eliza x

    • 23rd Jul 2009
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  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    Mark,

    James is spot on about this, as its not fair for you to shout down how his agency- which has been around for a long time, chooses to work. You will find that most agencies are the same, and I have found that the lack of effort to that degree shows a lack of planning and detail which speaks volumes about how an actor will present himself in an audition etc. I ahve seen actors in workshop auditions doing the most AWFUL auditions where noone has even learnt the lines etc... agents work very closely with actors and also get to know them very personally sonmetimes as well, so i can well understand the need for it.

    • 23rd Jul 2009
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  • James Abbey

    Actor

    Thankyou Blake. I just wanted to add that I am not forcing anyone to apply for representation and you are free to approach this however you like. I was simply stating that if you are applying to Grays, address the correspondence as I said. Thats all.

    Cheers

    James

    • 23rd Jul 2009
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  • Mark Kempner

    Actor

    Ummm...Hmmmm...I am not sure its me who is doing the shouting Blake?!

    The point James raised was about Dear Sir or Madam being wrong, and that he and his agency would prefer the personal touch.

    That's absolutely fine, I disagree, because I would not judge someone or their ability on what I regard in "my opinion" as a trivial point, when the salutation is perfectly correct!

    Annie raised the point about sending a blanket letter to all agents when some are Co-ops....I agreed to that...if you re-read what I said.

    So ummm...where did I shout anyone down in any of that please?

    I mean I could say something like: Blake......calm down and get over yourself!

    James has already stated he didn't intend to start an argument...he was just raising a point wasn't he? So why are you trying to shout at me. Coz I dared to disagree... on a debate forum?

    Bless!!

    • 23rd Jul 2009
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  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    Well, Mark- the word "shout" down was not meant the way you read it, so Im sorry ahout that.

    I dont think theres anything wrong with disagreeing but from my point of view I just feel very strongly on this one issue. Sorry if you took my comments the wrong way.

    • 23rd Jul 2009
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  • James Abbey

    Actor

    I just wanted to add, having read Mark's comments, that I never said in any way that we judge someones abilities on how they write a letter.

    Cheers

    James

    • 23rd Jul 2009
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    Well James ... I must be the odd man out here .. for I DO judge a person by the quality of the letter. Judge maybe to strong a word ... quantify might be better.

    A letter says so much about you .. it gives an insight into your educational standard ... whether you are literate, have a decent command of the English language ... spelling .. grammar ... punctuation ... usage of words like 'gotten'. Remember, you are an Actor ... and the tool of your trade IS the English language .. in all its full and colourful glory ... be it Shire dialect or Shakespeare.

    So ... if you can't write a decent letter to a CD .. what chance have you got to get past the waste paper basket ?

    • 23rd Jul 2009
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  • James Abbey

    Actor

    I seriously have had enough of the way people on CCP just want to jump down peoples throats because of this that and the other. Find something better to do. I said I don't judge there ability on a letter, I never stated that I didn't take any of it into consideration, I must do or I wouldn't have said what I said at the start. Frankly, we do things our way and like to do it like that, you can do things how ever you like and Alan, you can judge people however you like but you do not work at our agency and are not representated by our agency so how it is any of your business how we operate, I have no idea. I'm sorry to be so blunt but sometimes people just want to add to anything regardless.

    Cheers

    James

    • 23rd Jul 2009
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