Listen to Your Agent, Actors: The World Doesn’t Revolve Around You

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Photo Source: Spencer Alexander

The most precious thing in the world is time. We’re all given a limited amount, and our ability to lead a productive life largely depends on how we decide to spend it.

That’s why agents hate wasting their time; our days are so busy. Every moment counts. But you know who doesn’t get that? The actors we represent!

Here’s what you have to understand: The world revolves around the sun, not you. That means you have to consider how your actions affect others—and if the “others” in question are the people responsible for your career, you might want to add some common sense to your morning protein shake.

One of the biggest time sucks in my life revolves around booking auditions. I’ve spoken to other reps and they all agree: Clients always find a way to complicate everything.

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Here’s the routine: An agent will call an actor about an audition. The agent will explain that the email with all the details won’t go out for a while because the casting office hasn’t posted the sides yet. Simple, right? Well, an hour after that call, the client will “check back in” to see if the material is there yet. And if it’s not, the client will “check back in” again after another hour goes by. I guess they feel agents need to be reminded of the obvious.

This sort of thing makes me feel Joker-level crazy. Agents are not in the habit of withholding audition information; we only make money if you book work, so it’s in our best interest to get the material out ASAP. So please cut us a break and learn to be patient. (It’s a virtue for a reason!)

Speaking of auditions, you wouldn’t believe how much time I waste following up on those emails to make sure my people are confirmed. I don’t leave work till every audition has been confirmed. The last thing I want to do when I get home is stop and wonder if one of my clients will actually show up the next morning for his audition, so please respond with a confirmation the moment you’re done reviewing the details.

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And before I move on from auditions, don’t call to ask for information that’s in the email I just sent you. Trust me. It’s all there. If I took the time to write it, you can certainly take the time to read it.

One of the other time sucks in my life stems from the lovely times a client will announce they have taken new headshots. I absolutely want to have a say in the final choices, but please don’t send me a file with more than 200 options. I don’t have time to dig through that, and I’m sure if you apply yourself, you can narrow it down to around 50 favorites. I can help you from there.

And here’s another time suck: the way some actors self-tape their auditions. If I send you three scenes, don’t send back multiple takes of each one. I don’t have time to watch all that material, and the odds are you’re not the only client I have taping for that role. Please make a choice.

Oh, no. This is so ironic. I have several more examples that I’d really like to share, but I’ve run out of that precious thing: time!

Ready to get to work? Check out Backstage’s Los Angeles audition listings!

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Secret Agent Man
Secret Agent Man is a Los Angeles–based talent agent and our resident tell-all columnist. Writing anonymously, he dishes out the candid and honest industry insight all actors need to hear.
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