My 13-year-old client Samantha called me this week crying, “It feels like my boyfriend just dumped me!” Her agent had just dropped her. Whether you are in a romantic relationship or a business arrangement, it hurts when the other party moves on. You may be thinking, “I’ll never work again!” or “Will another agent or manager ever sign me?”
Don't fret! Here are some tips to handle your situation.
1. Find out why you are being dropped. Some common reasons include: your rep can’t get you appointments for auditions, you’re too tall for your age, or you’re in the dry teenage years.
2. Find out why you can’t get appointments. It is often for a specific reason: your cold reading skills, acting ability, or vocal qualities are suffering. If this is the case, beef up your training before approaching another industry rep. Maybe your look no longer works and it’s time for an image reassessment. One client was dropped by her agent and came to me for a consultation. I immediately advised her to cut her hair before seeking new representation. It was down to her knees and made her completely unmarketable.
3. Adopt a new attitude. Adolescence isn't a curse, but I am not saying it's easy either! Yes, the hard truth is that there are many actors over the age of 18 who can play teenagers. It is cheaper for production to hire them because these actors can work longer hours and don’t incur tutoring costs. Even though it is tough to get work in the teen years, many reps may be willing to take a chance on you for the long haul. Remember, you won’t be a teen forever. Focus on another part of the business like commercials. Take the time to study, hone your craft, and come back with a bang!
4. Take control of your career. Believe that things happen for a reason and take more control of your career by finding work yourself. You can get a fresh start by using resources such as Backstage to find your own auditions. Many agents and managers will not bother pursuing these leads for you.
5. Don't lose all hope! If you have worked before and have talent, it is time to reassess your assets with a trusted professional. Get an opinion of your strengths, repackage your portfolio, and shop till you drop. I'm not talking Macy's! Agents and managers need talent. Just because your current representation is unwilling to handle you, doesn’t mean someone else won’t. What may not be in vogue for one rep, may be just the thing another is looking for.
6. Make sure you exit with dignity even though you are the one being dropped. This is a tiny industry and what goes around comes around. Don't harbor anger and resentment; you will be the only one losing sleep over it.
Take the time to master your craft, empower yourself and enjoy the journey...
Denise Simon is an 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.