Through persistence, smarts, and luck you’ve been fortunate enough to sign with an agent or manager. Fostering a healthy, long-lasting relationship with them takes work just like any other partnership. Here are some helpful tips to follow if you are serious about keeping your rep on your side and working hard on your behalf.
1. Be honest. Establish a habit of honest communication from the beginning of your relationship. If you feel like you are not getting what you need, speak up. I had a client who was upset that she wasn’t getting feedback on her auditions. Instead of letting her manager know this was important for her, she became angry and resentful. Another client came to me asking if my other students had been auditioning for roles she was not getting appointments for. When I asked her to confront her agent, she said she was afraid to for fear of sounding like a nudge. You can’t expect people to know what you are thinking. Resentment will feed on your negativity and become stronger the longer it is ignored. Don’t let it fester – ask your rep for a meeting or a lunch date to talk face-to-face if something is bothering you.
2. Be reliable. Are you turning down auditions or are you late for appointments? Are you following up on suggestions from your rep to get back to acting class, get new headshots, and put together a new reel? Make sure your headshots and resume are up to date. If you are going to be out of town or unavailable for auditions “book out,” meaning let your rep know the dates you are not free to audition. Clear your voicemail if it is full so you will always get your messages. Check your e-mail and voicemail several times throughout the day so you don’t miss an important call from your rep. You are an integral part of the team, so do your part. Don’t expect your career to magically take off just because you now have representation. Woody Allen said it well: “Ninety percent of life is just showing up!” Show up, take action, and be reliable.
3. Be respectful. You’ve heard it said and read it here on Backstage many times. Your agent is busy getting you auditions. He is in meetings and on the phone all day working for you. Find out how he wants you to communicate with him and respect that. Not every office has an open door policy. Be courteous. Make an appointment before just dropping by the office.
Following these tips will go a long way towards keeping both you and your rep happy so you can work as a team and focus on the important task of moving your career forward. By the way, honesty, reliability, and respect are all important ingredients in any relationship. What other keys to developing good relationships can you suggest? Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!
Master your craft, empower yourself, and enjoy the journey.
Denise Simon is a New York-based acting coach and career consultant who has been involved in the entertainment industry for more than 25 years as an actor, teacher, director, and personal talent manager. For 10 years, she was an associate with Fox Albert Management, one of the leading talent management companies in New York, where she managed such clients as Scarlett Johansson, Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino, Lacey Chabert (“Party of Five”), and Judy Reyes (NBC’s “Scrubs”). Denise has coached hundreds of children and young adults appearing regularly on Broadway and in television and film, as well as educating parents on the business of show business.