My name is Deb McAlister-Holland. I’m a writer, author, and serial entrepreneur who lives in Dallas, Texas when I can’t manage to be in New Zealand.
I shot the header photo on this blog of the world’s first bungee jump, A.J. Hackett’s Kawaru Bridge Bungee Jump outside Queenstown, New Zealand in 2009. I think it’s a good metaphor for the blog, where I look at technology (like the amazing safety harnesses they use to keep thousands of tourists safe) and life (if you don’t think about life when you’re leaping 43 meters [141 feet], then something’s wrong!).
I’ve got 30 years of experience as a high technology marketer and PR person, an MBA, and have been fortunate to work with some of the best and brightest people in the high-tech world. I’ve handled new product launches for 129 successful products (and 48 unsuccessful products). The logos below highlight a few of the companies I’ve worked with over the years.
Currently, I’m delighted to be working with a select group of start-ups and volunteering as a mentor at Tech Wildcatters in Dallas. Some of the companies I’m most excited about working with now are
I’m proud to say that I’m both an investor and service provider for most of the exciting young companies I am work with. Each of them is uniquely positioned for success, and led by a core group of founders or executives who truly are world-class.
I am happy to provide help to entrepreneurs and blog readers with specific questions about what I post here. Just post your question as a comment to the blog, or use this link. Note that I am not a lawyer, so if your question pertains to legal matters, I won’t be able to help.
This is my personal blog, and I speak for myself in the posts I write here; please don’t blame the companies I work with, my spouse, adult children or friends if you don’t like what you read here. You’ll find personal posts about my life, as well as what I hope are useful and practical answers to some of the questions I get when I speak to start-ups and groups. I hope you enjoy it!
Photo credit: The un-retouched head shot is by Dallas photographer Constance Ashley; don’t judge her work by my photo, please. I’m a great-grandmother, and I’ve earned every single gray hair and wrinkle! The necklace I am wearing in my photo, by the way, was made by my grandfather as his graduation project from Indian School, circa 1905. It’s made of silver dimes, beaten into shape, and coin silver formed in molds, and it’s one of my most prized possessions. The dates of the dimes used for the necklace are still visible on a number of them — he started saving for his project in 1897 based on the dates, and the “newest” dime used in the project is dated 1905.
My daughter dances competitively. She’d like to do child modeling and maybe some commercials. The studio owner recommended that we may want to get her an agent. How can I find one? It feels like a sea of wolves out there when I search online. Thanks!
Hi, Michelle –
I know that it can seem hard to find an agentt. They key is persistence, patience, and following the rules. Does the studio owner have a recomendation on an agent who handles children your daughter’s age?
If so, start there — and ask your studio owner for an introduction. (Not a recommendation — an introduction. Don’t put someone in the position of asking for a recmomendation for a brand-new model/actor. Not every kid is cut out for the business, and not every parent is, either. So most people in the industry are reluctant to “recommend” someone, but will introduce.)
If not, do it the old-fashioned way, with a directory of local businesses. Find the agencies that specialize in young talent, or those that specialize in the kind of work your child wants to do. Most cities of any size have half a dozen — and many have more. Every agency has a page (Usually called “Seeking Representation?” or “Submissions”) where they give instructions on how they want to be contacted.
Follow their rules. If they want a headshot sent via email, do that. If they prefer snail-mail, do that. Don’t spend a lot on the first headshots you take — but don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can take them yourself, or use photos taken at a commercial studio, either. Chances are that you’ll have to reshoot the headshots once you land an agent, and sending photos taken at a commercial studio (glamour shots, school photographs, etc.) shows that you don’t understand the business or how a photo copyright works. It can be a red flag for an agent.
Children under 14 should be photographed without make-up, in a natural pose that lets their peprsonality shine through. No glamour shots or beauty queen photos, please! Agencies want “real kids”.
You’ll need to know your child’s sizes and measurements, and to report them accurately. Everything from shoe size to collar size, arm length to waist size, and of course height and weight matter.
Even though your daughter wants to model, some acting classes wouldn’t hurt. Many acting coaches and schools host annual agent showcases, where talent agencies come to evaluate the talent the coaches think are ready to sign with an agency. Look for schools that specialize in training young people for commercials (not theater, which is a completely different discipline).
Don’t be put off if you find that some of the mannerisms and habits that have helped your daughter in the dance world have to be “unlearned” for commercial acting. And don’t be put off if she isn’t signed the first time — or the 14th time — you submit a photo to an agency.
Each agency needs certain “types” or “looks” — and they base their roster on what casting directors want. There may be room on an agent’s roster for just one adorable pre-school redhead, or two teen blondes.
Last, but not least, look for opportunities where your daughter can work as an extra in films or commercials (unpaid) or model in community fashion shows. These events will bring you in contact with the parents of other working child models or actors, and they are a wealth of information.
Best of luck — Deb
I am currently working on a research paper for my college where I am trying to associate certain keywords that seem to get companies attentions when writing a negative review, like you stated in your article. You said you reviewed 200 cases and I was wondering where you got that information, if it is public, private, etc, and if possible could I use it as material? Would be extremely helpful any help you could give.
Thanks for the informative article, is the best I have come across!
Hi, Scott — I replied privately to the email address attached to your comment. Thanks!
An attorney friend of mine from Dallas sent me your link. I thoroughly enjoy your blogs on how to phrase online reviews and other blogs you have written. I am the editor of a state bar section newsletter in Michigan whose members would greatly benefit from the information in that article. How would I ask your permission to reprint it, or, quote from portions of it, making certain the readers know where to look for this great info.
Thanks for sharing online what many consumers are ignorant about.
Pingback: Magicians that Master Social Media - Recommended Reading How to do Magic Tricks
Pingback: Magicians that Master Social Media – Recommended Reading – How to do Magic Tricks
If Debbie is doing something, she’ll do it right. Cannot wait for her next webinar. Always worth the money. 😉
Gee, thanks, Joe! The real brains in the next webinar is Tyson Kirksey — it’s why he’s the expert I hired for my own SEO and web analytics! Hope to see you next week! Regards, Deb
stumbled on your posting in an insurance group on linkedin, and came over to your blog… sure enough, the one and only Deborah McAlister from Dallas/Fort Worth Texas.
I have a blog of sorts of my own now, but its become more of a sounding off board then an impressive sales tool. There’s lots of competition in the PI world, and I’d like to get a huge leg up on the rest through productive use of social networking and media.
Anyway, all my contact information is on my Blog. Take a look when you get a chance. Oh yes, I left Texas and am in Virginia now.
You are off to a GREAT start with this one, Deb!