Casting Networks® caught up with talent agent Rick Ferrari of Ferrari Talent. Rick talks about what inspired him to become a talent agent, his advice for those aspiring to work in his field and his hopes for the future of the entertainment industry.
1. How did you start working in the industry?
I started as an intern in 1981 at Zoli Models in New York City. I was an agent in the model industry from 1981 to 1996 which introduced me and educated me on the entertainment business. Eventually, I made a natural migration to being a talent manager with Sandy Gallin at Gallin Morey Associates. This move got me into the commercial talent game and the commercial department at Photogenics in 2008. At Photogenics, I represented Robert Downey Jr. and Paul Walker among other great young up-and-coming talents. With this talent and known and unknown actors, I was able to secure branding endorsements which caused the on-camera roster to grow impressively.
2. What inspired you to work as a talent representative?
I grew up in a family of performers. On my mom’s side of the family, we had actors and on my dad’s side, we had musicians and recording artists. So, I was born into the entertainment industry but without the performer gene. This left me with my only other option in the industry — to be an agent or a producer. I have spent my life doing both and loving being on the other side of the camera. One night at one of my mom’s dinners peppered with industry folks, I asked naively, “Where do managers and agents get their education to work with actors and musicians?” Someone said, “The same place film critics get theirs” and the table erupted in laughter. From that moment I was fascinated with the business side of entertainment.
3. What would you say to those aspiring to work in your field?
I would tell an aspiring artist or entertainment executive to ask themselves if their desire comes from a need deep within them. If an artist is in the business strictly for the money, they will be disappointed. The entertainment business has many ups and downs and an artist or anyone working in entertainment must have a passion to ride the rollercoaster.
4. What was a pivotal moment for you within your industry during the pandemic? How has your role and/or your day-to-day routine changed in the past year and a half?
After soaring high with record numbers in 2019 and three years of building my previous commercial agency department, our numbers plummeted due to the pandemic. They fell to a number I had not seen since the first six months of the department being open. However, we were able to recover and finish the year with a record high, of which I am extremely proud. Because of the pandemic, I was able to transition to starting my own business, FERRARI TALENT.
5. If you could cast yourself in any role of all time, what would it be?
Well, I am not an actor, but if I had to pick, it would be Jerry Maguire. “Help me, help you!”
6. What are your favorite activities or hobbies to do outside of work?
I love spending time with my dogs and my husband doing any outdoor activity. I am also happy to binge Netflix at home with them. When I’m not working, I’m usually listening to audiobooks and tons of music, new and old.
7. What is one of your favorite acting performances to date?
Beatrice Straight in “Network.” I name that one because it exemplifies the old adage that no part is too small. She won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1976 for less than 7 minutes of total screen time in the film.
8. Who is an industry professional you admire and why?
David Geffen, by far. David has been a lifelong friend and mentor. I have never stopped being in awe of him. His unparalleled accomplishments and his ability to stay relevant over all these years is admirable.
9. Do you have a quote or mantra that you live by?
Growth and change are painful and the chance of failure is scary, but not as frightening as never having taken the chance.
10. What are you looking forward to in the industry in the coming year and beyond?
I am looking forward to the industry and the world at large to return to a healthy and free way of living. I am looking forward to the success of FERRARI TALENT and cementing its new place in the entertainment industry.