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Secret Agent Man

Your Agent Doesn't Hate You

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Your Agent Doesn't Hate You

One of the reasons I signed on to write this column is that most actors don't understand what agents do or how we think. That lack of clarity doesn't serve any of us. After all, agents and actors are flip sides of the same coin. We need each other to survive.

Despite my Herculean efforts, I recently discovered there are still a lot of misperceptions out there about my people. This won't do. So I'd like to address three myths that pop up with as much regularity as the one about a certain movie star and his friendly gerbil.

The first one is that agents attend workshops because we're getting a hundred bucks to be there and not because we're actually looking for new clients. Well, trust me. Nothing could be further from the truth. Those companies only pay us $100 a pop, so even if I did one every single week, that's only $5,200 a year, which is less than 5 percent of my annual income. So it's not like I'm getting rich on these things. And on top of that, the extra money creates 1099 tax nightmares that force me to file a Schedule C with Uncle Sam. Quite frankly, if I weren't looking for new clients, it would make more sense to just stay home, crack open a beer, and watch the next episode of "Game of Thrones."

Another misperception is that agents hate the actors they represent. A lot of you think we see our clients as nothing more than emotionally challenged children who should be seen but not heard. I suppose there's some truth to that, but let's give it a name. Agents don't hate actors. We just hate some of the things you do.

I can't begin to tell you how much time I've wasted creating opportunities for my clients to squander. Just the other day, I shocked my assistant by screaming out in joy. The reason for my eruption was that after countless phone calls and emails, I had finally convinced a casting director to see one of my clients for a memorable role in a big-budget movie. And what you have to understand is that this particular actor had been bugging me for weeks to get her in the room.

Long story short, my irresponsible excuse for a client missed the audition because she left town without letting me know. When I finally got her on the phone, she was up in Canada visiting her family, and there was no way to get back in time. When I asked why she didn't book out, my client explained there wasn't much going on because of hiatus and she didn't think I'd be able to get her in for the film. So she took off with a last-minute ticket and "spaced" about letting me know.

It's a good thing I'm not David Banner, because I tend to lose my temper at least three times a day. Agent smash!

Now here's the biggest lie I've ever heard about my line of work. Actors seem to believe a guy like me can solve all their problems and make their dreams come true. That's an enticing fantasy, but it has no basis in reality. Agents create opportunities. We also provide advice and support. But that's it. I'm not a miracle worker. I can't pick up the phone and get you a part. That's your job.

I hope this week's column has helped you understand my reality a little bit better. But then again, most actors prefer a lie. Most of you live in a world of fantasy where you can blame others for your failures. So I guess it all comes down to this: When the time comes, will you take the blue pill or the red pill?

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