You may have not heard about them or even read about CK Talent Management, other than what you can read about them on their website. However, industry insiders and talent will tell you it’s the most exclusive ticket in Hollywood to get represented by them. US MAG was given an exclusive interview with its managing partner who prefers to stay out of the limelight many of his clients seek.
It did take us a while to work with your office to get this interview as you have a very busy schedule. We know that you do not grant many interviews with the media. So, I want to thank you in advance for granting US Mag one and sitting down with us.
US Mag : Tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Craig Rogalski : I attended SUNY at Buffalo and went to Law School at Penn. State. I am proud of my education as I was raised in a family that believed that education was very important. I hold several certifications in negotiations as well and I have worked with many of the industries leading Hollywood studios in varying capacities. I also sit on the board of a media company called FlickDirect.com the company is the trend setter for movie reviews and the studio routinely invite their correspondents to review their movies.
US Mag : We could not help but notice your agency is starting to gain a lot of attention for it’s representation and management of your talent, how does it feel?
Craig Rogalski : Attention is always a good thing for any company, but our talent is the most important thing to our agency. They are the first and foremost in our mind everyday we come to work. Helping them succeed in their careers gives our staff great pride and a feeling of accomplishment. To us, attention and success is a by-product of what we do, our agency is very client centered, driven and we pride ourselves on this.
US Mag : At what point did you decided to become a talent agent?
Craig Rogalski : It started when I founded my own amusement company, over 15 to 20 years ago. I was very driven in the industry and my peers recognized it when they elected me their state representative for the trade association. Where I had the opportunity to represent Disney, Universal Studios etc who had theme parks in my state. As State Representative, I also worked with Disney, Marvel and US customs enforcement to stop knock off products of their characters from coming into the US. But the biggest thing that I feel led me to want to be an agent was when I founded the first professional paint ball team and signed them to professional athlete contracts. I negotiated their contracts with sponsors for them and got them paid to play. I have learned in the industry that you have to have a soft and hard side. Be hard when advocating for your talent and soft when you are working with you talent one on one. My hard side is driven by my desire to help others succeed. My soft side is my ability to empathize with others. Working with talent in my different capacities, I saw how representing them can be better perfected. That’s why I wanted to form my own agency.
US Mag : What did you see in the industry in relation to this?
Craig Rogalski : I saw talent was not being helped by their agents and that most agencies took a wide net when representing talent. This is where they represent many and neglect some or most of their talent at the expense of the more marketable ones. I heard from many talent my agent never calls me, that not our agency. Basically most agencies adopt a policy to throw something at the wall and see what sticks is their mentality in relation to what talent succeeds. I recently had a well-know television talent tell me her agency, which was a well known and larger agency, say to her interestingly she signed with them, that they refused to work with her at all until she had more social media followers. I told her that’s BS. An agency once they sign a talent should go all in to help them succeed. An agency should never sign a talent and file them away like a book on a shelf waiting to see if they becomes popular. This old industry sentiment does not help the talent and does more harm then good for them. I have seen talent waste years at an agency that has this practice. Being an agent in my opinion is not all about booking a talent. There is a lot that happens in between gigs for the talent. Talent needs constant cultivating in regards to their careers. A lot of my time is providing advice, strategizing and counseling my talent on their careers. The other major part of what I do is negotiating the best deal I can for my talent. My talent knows that when I come to them with a deal that’s the best offer their going to get and they know I gave it everything I had to get them it. One talent once called me a barracuda, when they saw me negotiate a contract on their behalf, I said “No I’m a really nice guy.” She laughed and said I know that but they don’t. I guess its because, I don’t have a filter and I have no time for the regular Hollywood BS.
US Mag : You represent several well-known Talent, so what are you working on now with them, any insights for our readers?
Craig Rogalski : Not all my talent is well known, some are just starting their careers and some are very seasoned in the industry. Several have motion picture deals, others are busy attending fashion weeks and others are working on book deals etc. Each talent gets the same help and effort from us, but at the end of the day its up to them to communicate, put the effort in with their talent team and provide their team with the tools they need to represent them.
US Mag : Can you tell our readers some the types of Talent you represent?
Craig Rogalski : We represent social media personalities, athletes, models, actors, actresses and recording artists.
US Mag : We have spoken with some of your talent, thanks for allowing us to do that by the way, they all seem to have a similar perspectives on the company and especially you. Can you tell us about your perspective on the agency since we got their already?
Craig Rogalski : Before I answer, I am curious as to what they said?
US Mag : They said as an agent that you’re tough, but caring at the same time. You push them to be successful and you provide them challenges in their careers in order to gain success. They all said that the agency was very tough to get into; some even said they were rejected several times before they were finally accepted. The over all the constant opinion from them was that they value your insight and appreciate your guidance.
Craig Rogalski : Phew, thought they were going to say I was a mad man. (Laughs)
US Mag : No they all seemed to have admiration for you and respect you. Which we found this same sentiment out side your agency as well when we spoke to studio executives, various media, sponsors and other reporters who have worked with you and your talent.
Craig Rogalski : I see you did your homework.
US Mag : Yes, we like to be prepared for our interviews. So back to my initial question, can you tell us more about your agency, how it started, how it functions, etc.?
Craig Rogalski : Sure, when I started the agency, I wanted to flip the idea of the standard talent agency that people have on its head. I wanted to make the agency talent centered and talent driven. Not an agency that is based on volume of talent it signs or represents, but on providing a personal touch with each talent. I tell our talent that they can make the most of their careers or not its up to them. We are here as a guide to help them navigate the path of their individual careers its ups and downs. So, I designed the process to be tough to get into our agency, I wanted to work with talent that truly wanted to be in the industry and not treat it as a hobby. As for our new talent process we have several levels to our screening processes for new and prospective applicants. All prospective talent must pass each of these screening levels in order to receive an invitation to join the agency. We want to work with talent that really wants to be here in the agency and be successful in their careers. I instill in our staff that the talent is always in front and the only time we step in front of our talent is to protect them. Which I believe any agency should do, unfortunately many do not.
US Mag : I see that you have many departments in your agency that most agencies do not have?
Craig Rogalski : Yes, our departments were created to be centered on our talent and their career goals. We created each department to fill a need that is missing in the support of our talents success. Our various departments work in support of this mission to support our talent and the Talent team.
US Mag : Can you please share with our readers how the agency’s talent team is set up to work with the talent?
Craig Rogalski : Well a talent team is made up of a Sr. Agent, two Jr. Agents and an Admin Assistant. The team’s duties are spread basically between present, immediate future and future/future as we call it. Present is current projects the talent are working on and immediate future is projects coming up in the next few months for them and future/future are things we are planning with talent 8-12 months or further out. This way things keep moving forward for our talent and should obstacles appear we then are able to navigate them with our talent. This we feel gives the team and our talent a road map for their careers. Providing our talent with a business plan, which most agency’s do not do, puts everyone on the same track for success. Every January we meet with our talent to adjust these business plans for the coming year.
US Mag : What is your future plans for the agency? Your vision for the coming years.
Craig Rogalski : I am interested in keeping our standard of talent to agent ratios and hands on interaction with them. I find this is always a balance and as we grow this is one of the things I am unwilling to give up on. So when necessary we add staff to keep these ratios or we put a freeze on new talent signing with us. This is most challenging thing for me right now as we move forward.
US Mag: I saw that when we looked at your site there was a waitlist to get into the agency..
Craig Rogalski: Yes, at times we stop accepting applications or we start a waitlist. Right now our waitlist is for new talent developmental program, which is for talent that has never worked in their industry. Our developmental program helps talent just starting out to lay a strong foundation and mentor with our agents and other talent in the industry. This helps them develop the skills and tools they will need to be successful in the industry.
US Mag : We see that you started a charity call Rogalski Family Foundation, can you tell our reader what it does?
Craig Rogalski : The foundation was started to help athletes most of whom are self funded, bridge the gap between not being able to compete due to finances to being able to compete. It levels the playing field for them with other well-funded athletes. I did not want an athlete’s talent to be limited by their inability to get funding. Which I saw happening a lot in competitive sports. A lot of talented athletes have been lost due to this in professional athletics, especially in the area of the Olympics.
US Mag : Everybody needs time out. What do you do in your free time?
Craig Rogalski : Spend time with my spouse, our dog’s, friends and family. I try to keep a solid structure between work and off time, as everyone should. My talent knows that and understands that I can be of no use to them if I can’t have my off time to decompress and they all are very respectful of that.
US Mag : How can people find your agency online?