Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Bennie Taylor. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Bennie, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today The first dollar your business earns is always special and we’d love to hear how your brand made its first dollar of revenue.
I had a fellow coworker who was great at impersonating actors and imitating their voices. So I looked at him one day and said “You are super talented you need to be in movies” We both started to laugh but after a few seconds I stopped and stood silent like.….WHAT IF. The next day I was watching my favorite show “Entourage” and that’s when all it hit me! I was so inspired by watching Jeremy Piven‘s character Ari Gold that I felt….hey maybe I can do that. So the next day at work I said to the young man “I’m going to get you in a movie”. I didn’t know ,when, where and how but I knew I had to make this happen. He looked at me like are you serious. After a few weeks of doing research on TALENT managing I was ready to try my hand. Enduring a week of sleepless nights behind a computer, I was finally able to secure my first client his first movie. It wasn’t a huge budget film but the fact that I put my mind to something and did not give up until I succeeded, Gave me the greatest feeling of accomplishment I’ve ever had in my life. After that I knew I was on to something because a week later I got him in another project.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
I am a TALENT manager I am CEO of Jon Tomus Talent LLC. A talent manager in my definition is the oil that keeps the engine running in an actors career. Almost 90% of what a talent manager does goes unseen or unnoticed it’s which is mostly overshadowed by the work of a talent agent. A talent agents job is not to develop an actor career their job is to get them in front of the people they need to in order to book projects. But a talent manager job is a little more complex yes we can also get our clients in front of people but we also have to make sure they’re ready on so many different levels. Being a talent manager can be one of the toughest but yet easiest jobs ever all depends of your level of skill and passion for the business. There is a laundry list of why I consider myself to be different from the rest part of that is Mixing old school with new school methods of managing. So when people ask me what do I do I tell them, you see those actors on TV commercial and movies, I am one of the people that make that possible for the Actors.
What makes me proud about my job is when I turn on the television set, turn on the radio or look up at a billboard and I see or hear my clients face or voice and I know someway somehow I had something to do with that. Another joy for me is to see the look on my clients face when either myself or their agent let them know they booked a project. One of my proudest moments as a manager; one day on Facebook I saw an actor put a post out saying he was going to give up because he felt like because he was bald that he did not have a chance to book anything. So I reached out to this person and I gave him my word that I’m going to take him under my wing and he will work! A few months later I got him booked on two television shows and a huge feature film with one biggest actors in the world and I quote (not as an extra) lol
Learning and unlearning are both critical parts of growth – can you share a story of a time when you had to unlearn a lesson?
One thing I had to unlearn is don’t go into this business thinking you know everything instead look at it like you have everything to learn. Starting in Michigan I was pretty much on par with some of the biggest agencies in that state. Of course thinking that I believe that I could take what I learned and utilize my services to the next state, And boy was I wrong the more you expand the more you have to learn about the regions that you’re dealing with different agencies and people. You have to learn to adjust pay attention to your surroundings and others that deal in your business. My biggest learning tool is simply to watch! Most people don’t like the fact that sometimes it’s best to sit down shut up and get out of your own ego to understand that you don’t know everything and that you can learn so much if you just expand your mind.
Just as a brief example starting out in Michigan I knew how the casting directors and agencies worked so when my clients went to audition I knew exactly what to tell them and how to audition and what techniques to use for these individuals. So I thought when I expanded to Atlanta that same techniques would work and I got a rude awakening most of the techniques we used were looked down upon in that region so I had to reevaluate everything. And that’s when I started to learn that you can’t just jump into the ocean and expect to know how to swim lol.
What else should we know about how you took your side hustle and scaled it up into what it is today?
Yes believe it or not this was actually my side hustle at first. I worked a full-time 9 to 5 which I hate it but it paid the bills. So I get up at 3 AM go to work get off at 11 AM drive to my office and start my other job all the way until midnight everyday. When I tell you I was tired and Burnt out Lol you just don’t know. There was two factors that led me to do this full-time. The first one was my work ethic and reputation started travel to the right places which led me to have the opportunity to represent a few named Actors which in the managing world is a sign of confirmation!
The second factor that helped me move forward was a very unexpected and tragic event… The pandemic. Because for so long my main 9-to-5 was my main source of income Meaning that if I did not reach a goal in my business that I always had that 9 to 5 to lean on. But when the pandemic happened everything shut down. The feeling of helplessness not being in control and being at the mercy of not bringing in income because the company you work for is no longer running is a scary thing. There was always something in the back of my mind telling me that I didn’t belong there and that I always was looking for a reason to leave but never had one. I was too afraid to do so. Until that one day I decided to close my eyes and listen to the voice that was talking to me and I knew it was God telling me to trust in my faith. So when my job opened back up I simply walked away and put everything into the lords hands. But little did I know that job wasn’t my security it was my crutch it was the one that was holding me back from showing my true potential and what I can really do. It was just like one of my favorite quotes from Superman:
“I’ve always held back because everything around me felt like cardboard I was afraid if I really let loose that I would break something”
After I was able to give 100% of myself to my business that’s when things really start to roll! Bookings upon bookings deals upon deals everything was working right I was even able to open a separate division under my business.. and I tell you what there’s nothing like being your own boss , Writing out your own checks and making your own hours.
- Website: www.jontomus.com
- Instagram: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwj-0bmOgOz6AhXRMX0KHSr0DDkQFnoECBUQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.instagram.com%2Fjon.tomustalentllc%2F%3Fhl%3Den&usg=AOvVaw3bBVjDSNJl4qH6zG2YQ-De
- Facebook: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwj-0bmOgOz6AhXRMX0KHSr0DDkQFnoECBsQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FJonTomusTalentLLC%2F&usg=AOvVaw2fXCtXADsEUcGg0ScF0EDe
- Linkedin: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwj-0bmOgOz6AhXRMX0KHSr0DDkQFnoECBcQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.linkedin.com%2Fin%2Fbennie-taylor-b61308b2&usg=AOvVaw2q4OF7nGbZo6IdBcUvA9L-
- Twitter: @Tomusjon
- Youtube: Jon Tomus Talent