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Secret Agent Man

Do You Make Time for the Things You Love?

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Do You Make Time for the Things You Love?
Photo Source: Jonathan Bartlett

A lot of you wonder how a working agent like me has time to write a weekly column. Well, it’s a solid question, and my answer is simple: I make time for the things I love.

The life of an agent can be stressful. I have more than a hundred clients who depend on me for career guidance and opportunities. That’s a lot of needy energy directed at me on a regular basis. And I’ve got a news flash for you—this isn’t the kind of job you leave behind when the whistle blows. Work tends to follow me home in the form of scripts and contracts. Sometimes it takes a massive effort on my part just to disconnect and have a life outside the industry.

Agents also endure a great deal of financial pressure. It’s like a weight on our shoulders that never gets lighter. If I don’t book enough work to cover my annual nut at the office, I’ll be tossed out like yesterday’s trash.

(Maybe Mom was right. Maybe I should’ve gone to law school.)

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not whining about my chosen profession. I like being an agent. But I have a lot of brothers and sisters in this business who have burned out because being an agent is all they had. That’s why I write. It’s something I love, and it keeps me sane.

Thanks to Stephen King, I got hooked on writing at an early age, a time when most people knew me as Secret Agent Boy. And the thing you have to understand is, I never wanted to be a professional writer. It’s just something I’ve always enjoyed. The fact that this fine publication now pays me to write is a blessing.

What about you? The life of an actor can be exhausting. It’s a hustle that never ends. So here’s the million-dollar question. Do you make time for the things you love?

Two years ago, I took a meeting with a working actor who was pushing 30. The guy was smart. You could tell he was an educated man. As we talked, he noticed a copy of Jonathan Franzen’s new book on my desk. I told him it was excellent, well worth his time. The guy sighed. He confessed that reading was one of his passions, but he never had time to indulge it. Every free moment was dedicated to his acting career.   

Ironically, the name of Franzen’s book is “Freedom.”

A few months later, I went out on a date with a young lady of the thespian persuasion. She was a series regular on a show that had just wrapped for hiatus. And no, I wasn’t trying to sign her. My interests were of a more intimate nature.  

Anyway, dinner was going well till she noticed a French travel poster on the wall. The energy between us suddenly changed. It wasn’t like I farted or anything so I asked her if anything was wrong. After a dramatic pause, my date explained she always wanted to see Paris before she turned 30. Now it was too late.

Stunned, I reminded her that she had three months off, and Paris is gorgeous in the spring. Why not go now? Surely, she could afford the trip with all that series regular money. But no, my date didn’t want to leave town because she was afraid she might miss an important audition.

Later that night as I was sneaking out of her home, I felt a little sad for her. This woman was living the dream with a high-paying job on a successful TV show, but she was still thinking like a desperate actor.

Your life as an actor should never consume your life as a person. Making time for things that make you happy will keep you sane in a business in which gifted directors jump off bridges and comedy writers take their own lives.

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