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Secret Agent Man

When the Situation Gets Sticky…

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When the Situation Gets Sticky…
I love action heroes. They always know what to do. James Bond never made a bad move. Indiana Jones could figure out a way to escape the deadliest of traps. And even yours truly, Secret Agent Man, can talk his way out of any jam. What about you? As an actor, I doubt you'll ever have to face a huge Asian guy named Oddjob or a pit full of deadly snakes or a casting director claiming you lied about a client's quote. But as you pursue a career in this industry, you'll still find yourself in sticky situations that require you to think fast and make all the right moves. So let's see if I can help guide you through a few of those difficult scenarios.

Sticky Situation 1: You just booked your first guest-star role as my client. David Caruso's being nice, and you're thrilled because the footage will look great on your reel. During a break, a man you've never seen before walks over and introduces himself. He's a manager. One of his clients is working on the show. The man claims he's a big fan and would love to manage your career. Your spider-sense starts to tingle. How can he be a big fan? This is your first real job. But then again, you've always heard that successful actors have both an agent and a manager. What do you do?

Here's what you don't do: You don't say yes without talking to me first. Instead, try saying, "Call my agent." You might be flattered by his approach, but by industry standards the guy's being sleazy. If he's the real deal, the manager should ask who represents you, so he can call to express interest.

Sticky Situation 2: You're sitting at the Urth Caffé on Melrose because the guys from "Entourage" hang out there and it looks cool. A hipster sporting way too much facial hair saunters over to find out if you're an actor. When you respond yes, the dude jumps up and down in delight. It turns out he's directing an independent film and you're right for one of the parts. He wants your email address so his producing partner can send you the script. What do you do?

Well, you never give out personal information, even an email address, to a stranger. Instead, you might want to say, "Call my agent." That way, I can ask all the right questions and make sure the project is on the up-and-up. And if the dude objects, he's not worth knowing and you're better off not getting involved.

Sticky Situation 3: A well-known casting director calls you directly, wanting to bring you in for a few lines on her TV show. You're at the point where you're only doing guest stars, and the casting director knows that, so she calls it a favor. You feel pressured. What do you do?

You tell her, "Call my agent." The casting director knows that what she's doing is wrong. That's why she called you directly. It's her job to get the best possible actor for every role. It's not her job to worry about your career. That's why I'm in your corner. So just explain that your agent will get angry if you accept the audition. Make me the bad guy. And I'll take it from there.

Looking back at these scenarios, they all have something in common. The solution involves you saying the three magic words that will always mark you as a professional: "Call my agent." When you say that to someone with a secret agenda, it's game on. They'll know right away you're the real deal, not a dopey actor who doesn't know any better.

Remember, James Bond is licensed to kill. When you have representation, you're licensed to say, "Call my agent."

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