How Igor Reiant Of Entertech Is Helping To Make the Entertainment Industry More Diverse and Representative
Striving for perfection is a double-edged sword. As a self-proclaimed perfectionist, I’ve learned that it can hinder my progress instead of propelling me forward. Perfectionism sets unrealistic expectations and can lead to procrastination and fear of failure. It’s okay to strive for excellence, but it’s important to remember that perfection is unattainable. Perfectionism can also hinder creativity and prevent risk-taking, leading to missed opportunities.
As a part of my series about leaders helping to make the entertainment industry more diverse and representative, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Igor Reiant.
Igor is a seasoned casting and entertainment industry professional with over two decades of experience. While attending university in Santa Barbara, California, he became interested in entertainment industry and began taking acting and modeling classes. However, he quickly realized the process of becoming an actor or model was difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. This experience sparked his passion to make the casting process more accessible and affordable for everyone, regardless of experience level or location. 20 years fast forward, Entertech is a leading entertainment technology company that is best known for its two talent platforms — allcasting and KidsCasting — that connect over 7M of active talents with top casting professionals.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
In the early 2000s, as an immigrant from Belarus, while attending university in Santa Barbara, California, and being a typical broke college student, I was curious to understand how the entertainment industry works. How can someone become an actor or a model?
I started taking acting and modeling classes, finding casting calls and auditioning. I quickly realized that this process is complicated, time-consuming, and costs thousands of dollars. It felt like only the lucky few with money and connections could make it.
Changing this process quickly became my mission. I wanted to create a product that would empower anyone to pursue their dreams, regardless of their age, location, or experience level. To have an opportunity to be a model, actor, or movie extra without investing thousands of dollars in this process. The vision was to power this process through technology.
I set out to revolutionize the casting process by creating online actor/model portfolios. No more mailing traditional 8×10 headshots or comp cards. Instead, talent could share their portfolios with anyone, anywhere, in just a few seconds via a link, email, or text. I then went on to create a platform that centralized casting calls, making it easier for aspiring actors and models to find opportunities and apply quickly and effortlessly.
Fast forward to today, the product my team created has helped thousands of kids and adults to break into the entertainment industry. It’s been an incredible journey, and I’m proud to say that my mission to create a product that empowers talent globally to achieve their dreams is still alive and well. Let’s keep chasing those dreams!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
When I first moved to San Francisco to start my company, one of the first employees we hired was Irene. She was a nursing student at the time, and we hired her for a part-time position to assist with data entry and shipping.
Irene was a superstar from day one — dedicated, responsible, and always punctual. I was fired up, on the mission to get things moving and get things done by any means necessary.
Fast forward to now, Irene and I have been happily married for 14+ years and have four beautiful children. Quick disclaimer — we only started dating after she stopped working for us.
To this day, our family and friends still joke about how demanding I was and how Irene had to cancel her trip to New York to see her friends when she was working for me.
It’s crazy to think that our love story started with a part-time data entry job! It just goes to show that you never know where life will take you. Sometimes, the most unexpected things can lead to the greatest joys.
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?
Starting a business is an exciting and challenging endeavor, and one mistake that many entrepreneurs make is trying to do everything themselves. I know I was guilty of this early on. Sure, it’s great to be well-rounded and have experience in different areas of the business, but if you really want to achieve rapid growth and scale efficiently, it’s all about building the right team.
Having the right people in place is essential for any successful business. You need to surround yourself with individuals who are experienced, knowledgeable, and passionate about their areas of expertise. From marketing to finance to operations, each role is critical to the success of the company.
But building a strong team isn’t just about finding the right skill set — it’s also about finding people who share your vision and values. You want to work with people who are aligned with your mission and committed to helping you achieve your goals. When everyone is working towards a common goal, the possibilities are endless.
I’ve learned that the success of my business is not just about me and my skills — it’s about the collective power of the team. By bringing together the right people with the right skills and mindset, we can accomplish amazing things. And that’s why I’m always on the lookout for talented individuals who are passionate about what they do and are excited to be part of a dynamic and growing team.
Ok, thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our discussion. Can you describe how you are helping to make popular culture more representative of the US population?
Entertech is on a mission to revolutionize the entertainment industry by creating a product that empowers talented individuals all over the world to achieve their dreams! We believe that every individual, regardless of their age, gender, location, experience level, size or financial situation, should have an equal opportunity to shine in the entertainment industry. I believe there is a spot for everyone, and we aim to make the entertainment industry as inclusive as possible.
With our innovative platform, we are simplifying the process and making it accessible for talents everywhere to connect directly with casting directors. No longer will talented individuals need to rely on having wealthy parents, living in major entertainment hubs like LA or NY, or having years of experience to get noticed. EnterTech and its two major casting networks — allcasting and KidsCasting — are changing the game by creating a level playing field for all.
Our platform is designed to be user-friendly and intuitive, allowing talents to showcase their skills and connect with casting directors with ease. Whether you aspire to be a model, actor, or even a movie extra, we provide the opportunity for you to make your dreams a reality.
Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted by the work you are doing?
I’ve been in the entertainment business for quite a few years, and there are literally hundreds and thousands of success stories. Some of them are bigger, and some are smaller. For some people, success means being an extra in a small project and being able to tell their kids that they will see me in the background of this cafeteria when they watch this old-school movie. And that can be a success for one person, but for somebody else, success might be to become a supermodel, the next Kim Kardashian, and so on.
We have thousands of fantastic projects and amazing success stories — from a single mom, who was bullied in childhood and later became a model, to a child actor who got a small voiceover gig and then was invited for a leading role in a children’s cartoon network. Or an elderly gentleman, an ex-teacher, who started participating in bodybuilding competitions and became a male fitness model. Stories like these make me happy and hopeful that anyone — literally anyone — has a chance to succeed and realize their passions through our talent platforms.
As an insider, this might be obvious to you, but I think it’s instructive to articulate this for the public who might not have the same inside knowledge. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why it’s really important to have diversity represented in Entertainment and its potential effects on our culture?
Diversity in entertainment is not only important but also vital to our culture for a plethora of reasons. When we represent different cultures, ethnicities, genders, and abilities in entertainment, it can have a significant impact on how we view and interact with each other. Here are three key reasons why diversity representation in entertainment is so crucial:
- Promotes Inclusivity: entertainment has the power to encourage viewers to appreciate the diversity that exists in our world and recognize the importance of inclusivity. When people see themselves and their cultures represented in the media, it can help to validate their own experiences and build a sense of community. The inclusivity promoted by entertainment can lead to a more tolerant, understanding society where everyone is free to express themselves.
- Creates Awareness: when diverse perspectives are represented in entertainment, it can help to create awareness of different issues and experiences. By portraying a variety of characters and stories, entertainment can educate viewers about a certain culture or topic and help to break down stereotypes and misinformation.
- Encourages Empathy: by depicting different perspectives in entertainment, it can help to foster empathy among viewers. Entertainment can provide insight into how other people think, feel, and experience the world, leading to a more comprehensive understanding of diverse perspectives. This empathy can lead to more understanding and respect for one another, making our society more tolerant and open-minded.
Can you recommend three things the community/society/the industry can do to help address the root of the diversity issues in the entertainment business?
The entertainment industry has a massive responsibility to promote diversity and inclusivity. Here are three steps that the industry can take to do just that:
- Mix Up the Hiring Game: entertainment companies need to do more than just talk the talk when it comes to diversity. They should strive to actively create a more diverse workforce by actively recruiting people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. By hiring more people from diverse backgrounds, it will create an atmosphere of inclusivity, acceptance, and understanding.
- Open the Doors: there’s no denying that people from marginalized backgrounds have a harder time breaking into the entertainment industry. One of the biggest issues in the entertainment industry is the lack of access to resources and opportunities available to people from diverse backgrounds. To ensure that everyone has an equal chance to succeed, the entertainment industry should strive to increase access to resources and opportunities. This can be done by providing mentorship programs, scholarships, and other forms of financial aid to people from diverse backgrounds.
- Get Real with Representation: It is important for people from diverse backgrounds to be represented in all aspects of the entertainment industry. This means that people from different ethnicities, genders, and other marginalized groups should be given the opportunity to portray characters in TV shows, movies, and other forms of media. This will help to create a more accurate and diverse representation of the world we live in.
By making these changes, the entertainment industry can level up when it comes to promoting diversity and inclusion. An industry that’s more inclusive and accessible is a win-win for everyone!
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
Leadership is like the secret sauce that makes any organization a success. It’s all about inspiring, motivating and guiding people to achieve their goals. Leaders are the ones who set the vision and inspire others to follow it. They bring people together to work as a team, make tough decisions and take charge when necessary.
Effective communication is a must-have skill for any leader. They need to be able to motivate, develop trust, build relationships, and keep their team members on the same page. Quick decision-making is another crucial trait, as leaders need to keep the organization moving forward, no matter what.
To be a great leader, one needs to have the confidence, knowledge, and skills to make the right calls. They need to spot opportunities, take risks, and have a solution ready when problems arise.
Being a leader is more than just a fancy title. It’s about creating a positive work environment and setting an example for others to follow. Great leaders inspire their team to be the best that they can be, every day.
Leadership is a continuous journey. To be successful, one must continuously work on improving one’s skills, knowledge, and mindset. The best leaders are always learning, growing, and evolving.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
- Striving for perfection is a double-edged sword. As a self-proclaimed perfectionist, I’ve learned that it can hinder my progress instead of propelling me forward. Perfectionism sets unrealistic expectations and can lead to procrastination and fear of failure. It’s okay to strive for excellence, but it’s important to remember that perfection is unattainable. Perfectionism can also hinder creativity and prevent risk-taking, leading to missed opportunities.
- When starting a business, having a clear vision is important, but it’s equally important to be flexible. As you gain experience, new challenges and trends will arise, and adjustments may need to be made. Being adaptable and open to change can make all the difference in the success of your business.
- Setbacks are inevitable, but it’s important to stay motivated and focused. Remember that success takes time and perseverance is key. Don’t let setbacks discourage you from pursuing your goals.
- Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Starting and running a business can be overwhelming, so it’s important to seek advice and support from others. Whether it’s from family, friends, mentors, or professionals, building a network of support can help you navigate challenging situations and make smarter decisions.
- Finally, finding balance is crucial for long-term success. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations of your business, but taking time to recharge and enjoy life outside of work is essential for maintaining your mental and physical health. So, take a break, enjoy your hobbies, and remember to take care of yourself.
You are a person of enormous 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? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Imagine a world where kindness and compassion are the norm. Where everyone is looking out for each other and trying to make the world a better place through small acts of kindness. That’s the movement I want to inspire.
I want people to start putting others’ well-being before their own, even if it’s just for a moment. I want them to practice empathy and understanding, and to call out any injustice or inequality they see.
This movement would bring people together from all walks of life. It doesn’t matter if you’re black, white, gay, straight, religious, or not — we’re all in this together. We need to work together to create a better world for everyone.
So let’s start spreading kindness like confetti. Let’s make it a habit to smile at strangers, hold open doors, and give compliments. Let’s lend a helping hand whenever we can and speak up when we see something that isn’t right.
Together, we can make the world a better place. It all starts with a little bit of kindness.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
There are many quotations that I appreciate and use as personal mottos, but one of my absolute favorites is, “Success is never owned, it is rented, and the rent is due every day.” This quote serves as a constant reminder that success is not a one-time event, but an ongoing pursuit that requires daily effort and attention.
Whether we’re striving for success in business, athletics, or the arts, it’s crucial to understand that success cannot be achieved and then forgotten. Instead, it must be actively sought out and maintained over time. Any complacency or neglect can lead to the loss of one’s hard-earned success.
Therefore, it’s imperative to remain driven and committed to the pursuit of success, day in and day out. We must remain steadfast in our efforts, always pushing ourselves to be better and to achieve greater heights. For the moment we become lax in our pursuits, success can easily slip away.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
If there’s a kid out there who dreams of making it big in the entertainment industry, but their parents are ready to throw in the towel, I’m here to help.
Whether it’s because of financial constraints, transportation issues, a lack of time, or frustration with the child’s progress, I want to offer my support. I’ll take them out to lunch, listen to their story, and do everything in my power to keep them going.
Every kid deserves a chance to chase their dreams, and I’m here to help make that happen. Whether it’s by connecting them with the right people, providing some guidance and advice, or just being a supportive presence, I’m committed to seeing that child succeed.
So if you know a kid who’s struggling to make it in the entertainment industry, send them my way. I’ll be their biggest cheerleader, and I’ll do everything I can to help them achieve their goals. Let’s make some dreams come true!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Find me on Facebook or on Instagram as @IgorReiant.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!
How Igor Reiant Of Entertech Is Helping To Make the Entertainment Industry More Diverse and… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.