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Secret Agent Man

How to Stay on Your Agent’s Good Side

How to Stay on Your Agent’s Good Side
Photo Source: Spencer Alexander

I love this time of year. The pressures of pilot season have faded, we’re about to enter the slow period, and I’m making vacation plans. Life is good.

When April rolls around, I always look in my rearview mirror so I can figure out what kind of changes need to be made in both my personal and professional lives. A big part of that is getting rid of all the junk I no longer need so I can make room for new and improved stuff. This process tends to invigorate me on every level. 

For instance, on the personal side, it’s time for some fancy new tires for my car, because the old ones are looking a little worn. That goes double for my home computer and collection of dress socks. On the professional side, we’re entering drop season, which means it’s time to clean house at work.   

You see, this is the time when agents study all the activity they’ve generated for their clients over the last 12 months so they can figure out who should stay and who should go. You might think this is strictly a financial decision, but you’d be wrong. There are all sorts of reasons for dropping a client.

One of the deciding factors is momentum. You either have it or you don’t. If an actor went out on 30 auditions and had no callbacks, then he needs to leave. But if another actor had 30 auditions and got called back on 10, he’s shown potential and we’re keeping him—even if none of those callbacks resulted in a booking. Why? Because the kid’s got momentum, and momentum leads to money. 

Clients who create more problems than they’re worth will also find their heads on the chopping block during drop season. I’m talking about actors who are never available when you need them, who forget to book out, who don’t follow instructions, and who always show up late for auditions.   

Sometimes, a client gets dropped for personal reasons. That group consists of actors who call every day to complain, who always have a bad attitude, and who are unrealistic about their expectations. 

This dropping process is unpleasant but necessary. The only way I can be effective at my job is if I have a manageable client list. Too many people can become a problem. Actors have to be dropped so new talent can be signed. That’s the circle of life in the agency business.

You should do a little spring cleaning, too. This is the perfect time to take inventory and figure out what’s serving you and what’s not. For instance, are you pretty much the star of your acting class? If the answer is yes, then it’s time to make a move. That school has become a safe place and is no longer challenging you. What about your friends? Do you have a lot of negative nellies in your life? I mean the kind of people who are always bringing you down when they should be building you up. If you do, cut them loose! 

It’s gonna be slow for the next couple of months, but the craziness will return soon enough. And this cat will be 100 percent ready because his list will be as refreshed as his attitude. That’s the magic of drop season! 

Ask Secret Agent Man your acting questions on the Backstage Community forums!

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