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Cue the Talent: Kristin Nava '01, '02 MSFP
This article originally appeared in the Bentley Magazine.
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Kristin Nava ’01, ’02 MSFP combines her business skills with a passion for the entertainment industry as a commercial talent agent. But landing that dream job involved a few plot twists.
A native Californian, Nava returned after graduation and started work at Los Angeles-based Abrams Artists Agency – a bi-coastal talent agency that provides theatrical, commercial, print, literary, voice-over, and children’s services. Her job was in the mailroom.
“I pulled headshots off shelves and sent them out to casting directors, photocopied scripts, and made sure there was fresh coffee in the kitchen – even if it was 6:30 p.m.,” Nava says. “This was a job where you had to put your ego aside or you’d never make it.”
When a theatrical agent fired two assistants in two days in the middle of pilot season, she seized her chance. “I jumped both feet in, knowing I’d have to swim – or I’d sink quickly,” says Nava, whose immediate predecessor had lasted a scant 90 minutes.
Swim she did, for 18 months. Nava read feature film scripts and TV show pilots, called out auditions, and readied auditioning actors with scripts and dialogue. Her work put Nava on the management radar screen and generated an invitation to join the Commercial Department.
“Since commercials deal with advertising, the move seemed like a better fit with my education,” explains Nava, who would become a commercial agent six months later. In the position for three years now, she represents actors who range from new graduates with theater and acting degrees to well-established celebrities.
Her communication skills are essential for the daily back-and-forth with clients, casting directors, producers, and ad agency executives. Bentley courses in tax law, advertising and negotiation have helped in the contract and negotiation responsibilities of her job. The alumna calls on her financial planning background to discuss whether clients should be incorporated for tax purposes. Finally, her Bentley years spotlighted the importance of networking.
“Los Angeles is huge, but the entertainment industry is really small. It’s definitely who you know that helps personally and professionally,” says Nava, whose career plans include heading a department or owning her own agency.
For now, it’s 10- to 11-hour days at the office, and nights and weekends on call, to place the 700 actors she represents in commercials and spokesperson campaigns. “I feel good about giving them the opportunity to just be actors, instead of actors with other day jobs. Bottom line, it gives me great pleasure seeing them work.”