Tina Randolph Contogenis: “There is plenty of room at the top”

I love how the industry is changing. There is always something new so it is never boring! I would like to see the openness continue for independent film projects. I love indies! I also want to see more small companies be accepted and make power moves. There is plenty of room at the top. As a […]

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I love how the industry is changing. There is always something new so it is never boring! I would like to see the openness continue for independent film projects. I love indies! I also want to see more small companies be accepted and make power moves. There is plenty of room at the top.

As a part of our series about Inspirational Women In Hollywood, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Tina Randolph Contogenis.

Tina Randolph Contogenis is a partner/owner at Eris Talent Agency. Founded in 2017, Eris is run by three dynamic female partners who oversee a team of agents and support staff, and represent over 1000 clients. The agency is headquartered in Los Angeles with offices in New York, Atlanta and Mexico and expanding quickly. Eris Agency represents talent working in TV, Film, Theatre, Commercial, Print, Literary, Voice Over, Comedy/Hosting, Creators, as well as film packaging and script sales.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I grew up in San Diego. I had a typical suburban childhood and went to private school for most of my life. I got my first taste of acting at age 6 when I was cast in a national Root Beer commercial. I went on to do a few more commercials and started getting involved in community theater, as well. I spent a lot of my time playing with my cousins making home movies (with a Super 8 camera…We would scratch the film and color it with markers so that we could make our own shooting films). I completed my first short film at age 13. It was an adaptation of a Truman Capote story called Miriam. All of my drama friends acted in it. I loved directing and seeing my vision turn into a reality. I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker!

I attended college locally at San Diego State University, majoring in TV and film. As a side project, I spent time in front of the camera hosting an extreme sports show. But, I slowly realized I needed and wanted to be on the other side of the camera. That is where I ended up.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I never thought I would be an agent, it was actually by accident. I had taken years away from the industry (after working for years in production after college, I knew it would be tough to raise a family). When my daughter was 10, I had started managing her singing career on the side. Eventually, a couple managers and I created a girl band and my daughter was one of the members. As luck (and talent) would have it, their band became very successful! Soon after, other parents began calling me to ask me to manage their kids. It took one of those kids’ careers taking off and my managing/agenting career began.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

It would have to be at the People’s Choice Awards Show a few years ago. I was seated in the sixth row with a client whose show was receiving the Award for “Best New Show”. We were surrounded by stars, from Jennifer Lopez, Ellen, Tom Hanks, Justin Timberlake. As they were all talking with my client, I was being introduced to them. I’m not one to get excited when I meet an actor — It truly has never happened. I am the one who sits and has a conversation with them and later realize I never took a picture. Anyway, the show won the award and we were all ushered backstage (as the only rep there, I was leading the cast). While waiting at the backstage elevator, it opened suddenly and Johnny Depp walked out. For the first time ever, I was at a loss for words. I literally had a “fan girl” moment. I could not stop saying, “Oh my god, oh my god”. Johnny grabbed my hands and introduced himself and asked me my name. I responded, “Oh my god.” His publicist pulled him away. I stood there and looked at the entire cast I was leading (of an Emmy nominated show nonetheless) who were all laughing. Their words: Nice, Tina. Good job. Lol.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I didn’t know what a “quote” was when I was first starting out. One of my brand new actor clients booked a show and they asked me for her quote. I called her and asked. And then called them back and said. “She said, ‘I would be honored to be on a show like this’ and ‘I love (the network)’” — I had no idea they were talking about money and what she made (the correct answer was that she had none… she was brand new and so was I!). I learned to ASK and not assume ANYTHING.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I am so grateful for this one particular person, who is a casting director. We met when I was doing a press conference for a film with one of my clients. I had actually met her casually before that as we had mutual friends. We clicked right away and starting having wine together every six months or so. She was always very nice to me as I was early in my career. She gave me advice, was always an ear to listen and has been a true friend. To this day, we have our wine night several times a year. It has actually turned into a great event and we have a wonderful group of women who are now part of this.

You have been blessed with great success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?

My dad has always told me to be nice and not to talk behind anyone’s back. That has been my rule. Kindness is not weakness. I can negotiate a damn good deal without being mean.

What drives you to get up everyday and work in TV and Film? What change do you want to see in the industry going forward?

I love how the industry is changing. There is always something new so it is never boring! I would like to see the openness continue for independent film projects. I love indies! I also want to see more small companies be accepted and make power moves. There is plenty of room at the top.

You have such impressive work. What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Where do you see yourself heading from here?

We are packaging some great films. We have been having terrific success, not only with our actors, but with our producers, directors, etc. I love this side of the business. It is going back to my roots.

We are very interested in looking at diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture and our youth growing up today?

Our society is diverse. Why would we not include diverse talent? It just does not make sense. I love when you look at our instagram and you see our diverse talent roster. Everyone needs to know they can book a job as they are. There are jobs for everyone.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Can you share with our readers any self care routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body, mind or heart to thrive? Please share a story for each one if you can.

I try to hike and clear my mind. I am also best friends with my partners. We support each other so much.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

You are a person of huge influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Just be kind. Have good values and be a good person. Don’t betray people. Integrity. Honesty.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

Johnny Depp, lol. I would love to finally tell him my name and assure him I am not a freak. 🙂 (I am not kidding!) I would also love to chat with Megan Ellison. She is such an inspiration. (Annapurna Pictures)

Are you on social media? How can our readers follow you online?

I don’t really post much other than family stuff with my goats so please follow the agency! @eristalentagency — But if you like goats @tinarandolph

This was so informative, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

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