What do you do if your agent isn’t getting you in enough doors during pilot season? First, communicate with them.
It’s pilot season. Everyone’s stressed. You’re one of many clients on someone’s roster. Remember that they are working hard to get all of their clients jobs and it’s important to have faith that they know what they’re doing and they’re invested in helping you get work. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be working with you.
Perhaps it’s still early in pilot season and you haven’t gotten any auditions yet. You start doubting whether or not you’re with the right person, or if they’re doing anything on your behalf…or if they even like you.
Don’t hit the panic button. Often, the main roles for new shows are offers being made to famous actors so that’s why you’re not being seen. Once that part of the casting process winds down and the roles have been filled, the casting offices will start looking at other people for supporting roles and guest star and co-star roles.
You’ll get called in. Breathe.
Recently, though, I spoke to an actress who was not only not going out for pilot season, but when she was, her manager would undermine her confidence by giving her arbitrary bad feedback and tell her all the reasons why she wouldn’t get a role.
Everyone knows the business can be challenging. That it’s just numbers. That if you’re doing your best and getting callbacks things are working and it’s just a matter of time.
So when no one supports the artist in that process, you have two options.
1. Say nothing and hope it gets better. (But we all know it won’t.)
2. Express your truth, create boundaries, communicate your needs, find a way of making things work if they’re salvageable. If not, cut your losses and get out.
I know that’s a scary thought. “Oh my God, I can’t be agent-less during pilot season.” But the irony is, if you’re working with someone who’s abusive and non-supportive—you kind of already are.
It’s like a bad relationship. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
It’s important to retain our dignity and respect as actors on our journeys. So many times, what is being asked of us and what is being said to us can be demoralizing or hurtful. But you don’t have to stand for it just because you want a job.
No job is worth that. Nor is any agent or manager who makes you feel like there’s something wrong with you just because you haven’t booked a job for a few months.
You’re allowed to be human. Remember that.
The ones who care (and are excellent at their jobs) understand this, and they’re in it with you for the long haul.
So seek those people out if you’re feeling it’s scary to take the leap. They exist! Remember your self-worth. You deserve to be with someone who truly sees and celebrates your talent.
That’s not based on whether or not you sometimes tank an audition, or don’t get a callback, or get bad feedback.
That’s based on who you are.
Anthony Meindl is an award-winning writer, director, producer, and artistic director of Anthony Meindl's Actor Workshop (AMAW) with studios in Los Angeles, New York, London, and Vancouver. It was honored by Backstage three years in a row and named the Best Acting Studio in Los Angeles (Best Scene Study and Best Cold Read).
Meindl's first feature film, “Birds of a Feather,” won the Spirit of the Festival Award at the 2012 Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival, and he won Best Director at the Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles. It releases on iTunes and DVD in March of 2014. He is a regular contributor to The Daily Love, Backstage, and various spirituality podcasts. He has been featured in ABC News, Daily Variety, LA Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, and CW KTLA. He has been a guest speaker at the GATE 2013 Story Conference, founded by Jim Carrey and Eckhart Tolle, and David Lynch's Masters in Film Program (Maharishi University of Management).
He is also the author of the best-selling creativity book, At Left Brain Turn Right, which helps artists of all kinds unleash their creative genius within. Check out Meindl's free smartphone app on iTunes. Follow Meindl on Twitter @AnthonyMeindl.