Our history speaks for itself

(With a click and a tap from you)

The Mary Collins Agency has seen a lot of changes to the industry over the years. When we opened in 1984, glossy 8×10 b&w headshots, reel-to-reel audio tape and three-quarter inch videocassettes were the standards. We printed elaborate “headbooks” (collections of photographs) of our actors to promote them to casting directors. Clients used to messenger (a forerunner of Uber) or FedEx scripts to us for auditions. Since cell phones didn’t exist, actors wore pagers, sometimes called “beepers”, so we could reach them in a hurry, although “in a hurry” meant they had to respond to the pager by finding a telephone to call us back; quarters in the pocket or car were a must. If time was not of the essence, an “answering machine” (the ancestor of voicemail), was the cool technology of the time, allowing messages to be left on small cassettes for retrieval later. It was a different, slower, analog world, hardly remembered now, and arguably not missed.

We went digital as soon as it became available, with CDs compiled of our voiceover demos, and headshots in color. In 2000, we launched our first website, replacing all physical media with digital. Since actors’ materials were on our websites, we no longer had to produce these materials in the “old school” way. It was a long time coming.

It’s always challenging to change with the times, but also rewarding and sometimes even fun. We hope you enjoy looking through our past. It got us to where we are today.

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The Collins Agency has always been an early adopter. Over the years, we produced updated sets of our voiceover compilation demos on CD. Throughout the 1990s, these were mailed to producers by the thousands to promote our talent.

In 2018, Mary Collins was the recipient of the Dallas Producers Association’s “Pioneer Award,” given at their 40th celebration gala, for longevity in, impact on, and contributions to the industry.

As her business had grown beyond local and regional work to have a national reach, Collins changed her logo to better represent her clientele and services.

Throughout the 1990s, the agency continued to produce headbooks to promote on camera talent, and to provide casting directors with ease of use in their talent selection. These elaborate and expensive books were soon to be replaced by websites.

At the millennium, the agency launched its first website with a 2001 theme, appropriate considering the web was just emerging as a platform for promoting talent.

The agency’s first voiceover demos, called “Master Tapes,” along with audio cassettes. Quite the technology for the time, these were promoted and handed out to producers for voiceover talent selection.

In 1984, Mary Collins created the region’s only specialized broadcast/film talent agency. Her identity then was “Mary Collins, Agent C.” She wanted to show that her agency was going to be different, and she did.

Talent agents used to print bound books known as “headbooks” of their performers. In keeping with staying ahead of the curve, Mary Collins’ first headbook was unique. Splitting the pages meant producers and directors were able to compare talent side by side.

In 2012, Mary Collins received the Dallas Women In Film Spirit Award, honoring a woman who has not only made significant contributions to local and Texas production, but also has worked to develop other women’s careers in the industry.

Mary Collins’ first promotional materials were branded with “pink for girls” and “blue for boys,” including her first headbook, reel-to-reel and cassette demo tapes.

In 2010, the agency rebranded, now firmly established nationally as the agency for serious, career actors and voiceover talent.