By Brian M. Rafferty
When Antoinette Dailey got an idea 10 years ago for a tool to help fellow black and Latino actors succeed in Hollywood, she made a mock-up of her book.
On the cover of the 1992 prototype of the Black and Latino Talent and Trade Directory she put up-and-coming actress Halle Berry and acclaimed actor Denzel Washington.
Her idea ended up on a back burner until last year when the cover talent on “the directory that never was” won the Academy Awards for best actor and best actress.
“My friends who knew what I had done 10 years earlier told me that maybe it was time for me to get this idea moving again,” Dailey said.
And move she did.
Dailey has pre-sold more than 100 of her books to casting directors and other acting industry insiders, and is hoping to reach a large percentage of the people who make decisions on casting for television, film, theater, commercials and more.
The Bayside native has won the backing of industry professionals as well as well-respected actors, directors, agents and more. Public service announcements for the directory run on KISS-FM and a list of legitimate businesses have signed on to throw their weight behind the idea.
The concept of the directory is rather simple — a single source that lists black and Latino actors, comedians, dancers, models, singers, writers, choreographers, stylists, acting coaches, managers, agents, set designers and more.
The directory will come out twice a year, and will also be updated regularly online for the directory’s internet subscribers.
“I have heard from various industry professionals that the market is opening up for blacks and Latinos, and roles are increasing,” Dailey said. “At the same time I hear that somehow, Hollywood cannot find the black and Latino talent. I am wondering where exactly they are looking.”
Starting in May, they need look no further than the directory Dailey is preparing to publish.
“It won’t be the Yellow Pages, but it will be a great resource for anybody in the industry to have and for anybody who wants to make it in the industry to be in,” she said.
Dailey, a professional actress who put her career on hold to raise a family, said “I can’t imagine this not working for someone.”
Already, actors spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a year mailing out headshots and resumes, taking classes and putting in untold hours of legwork to break into the business. For $150, twice a year, people can get listed in the trade directory, and will get a discount on listings in additional editions.
In addition, ads can be purchased within the directory for a range between $60 for a 1/16 page and $700 for a full-page.
“That is the price you pay to be in the book, but you know that the book is going to be in the right place,” Dailey said.
In addition to the print edition of the book, members will get a password and ID that will allow them to update their listing or put in new pictures.
On Thursday, March 13, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., the Black and Latino Talent & Trade Directory will hold a pre-launch party at he Soul Cafe, 444 W. 42nd St. in Manhattan.
Spike Lee, Denzel Washington, Malcolm Lee and others have already agreed to attend the party, which Dailey said will feature a Who’s Who of black and Latino Hollywood heavies.
Dailey said she is disappointed that the cast of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” currently being revived on Broadway with Charles S. Dutton and Whoopi Goldberg, will be unable to attend the event, though they have expressed their best wishes.
“Everybody is excited, and everybody wants to get it,” Dailey said.
For more information on the directory or the party, call 718-907-0738 or go to www.thetalentandtradedirectory.com.