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Secret Agent Man

Secret Agent Man Prepares for Hiatus Season

Secret Agent Man Prepares for Hiatus Season

There's a good reason why I'm sitting here in my office, slumped over the desk, feeling like a drunken slug. You see, the human body wasn't designed to go from an extreme rate of movement to a dead stop. That kind of rapid deceleration can cause serious damage. And yet, that's exactly what agents endure every year right after pilot season. It's called hiatus, and just like hair loss, we all know it's coming but we're never quite ready.

Normal people, the ones who don't work in entertainment, base their lives around the four seasons Vivaldi captured in his famous concerto. But the year passes differently for us 10 percenters. We experience a mishmash of seasons that have no rhyme or reason. They're governed by the television industry, and we live and die by their cycles.

It all starts with episodic season. This is when most TV shows are cast. The season begins right around the end of June, and it goes on till the beginning of April. Agents bring in a lot of money during this period by booking recurring and guest-star roles. We also focus on helping less-established clients add credits to their résumés. That's our way of building a nest so those actor eggs will be ready to hatch when pilot season arrives.

But first, we get a chance to hibernate during the holidays. I'm talking about those golden, precious weeks between the middle of December and January. This is the time of the year when agents shut down and go into a very deep sleep. Our body temperature drops, and our heartbeat slows. Animals prepare for hibernation by storing food like acorns and nuts. We prepare by gorging on those monstrous food baskets clients deliver to our office.

When the new year begins, our pace kicks into high gear because pilot season has arrived and it's survival of the fittest. Careers can be made or broken between January and March, and I'm not just talking about actors. I spend most of my time submitting, reading, pitching, negotiating, and praying. Pilot season is a chance for me to make some serious long-term money. For example, if a client books a pilot that becomes a successful series, I'll be earning commissions from that deal for the next six years.

My stress level is especially high during this phase because episodic season doesn't stop for pilot season. They both go on, side by side, which doubles my workload and alcohol consumption.

Then, as pilot season finally starts to wind down, I lick my wounds and hope for the best. Just like the mighty caribou sensing the approach of winter, agents can feel the barren stillness of hiatus drawing near.

This is when you'll find a lot of us on vacation, trying to act like we're not worried about the future. A bright Hawaiian sky can help create that illusion. Hiatus is also the perfect time for agents to rethink their list. Everyone I know does a big drop in April. This is how we create openings for new actors.

That's something you want to keep in mind if you're an actor seeking representation. Agents are always looking for new clients, but May and June are an especially good time to send out submissions. We're much more receptive after breaking so many hearts.

When hiatus is over, the circle of life starts fresh in June with all of the new shows that were just picked up, along with returning favorites. As a new episodic season begins, there's more to see than can ever be seen and more to do than can ever be done. And that's the kind of energy that keeps us going, year after year. It sure beats migrating over the frozen tundra.

Happy New Year!

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