An Agent Turns Honest for a Day

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Photo Source: Pete McDonnell

It is Friday morning. I am tired. The last four days have been rough. I started lying on Monday and I didn’t stop till Thursday was over. This is what agents do. We lie. But today will be different. I will not lie.

I arrive at work 10 minutes before 10 a.m. As I walk across the garage, I see a brand new Audi pull into the blue zone. It does not have a handicapped placard. The man who jumps out is not disabled. He is a liar.

I represent an actor in a wheelchair who is very talented. He does not audition much because the industry is rarely open to people like him. But we fight the good fight. Sometimes we win. Sometimes we don’t.

If my client was coming to see me today, he would have nowhere to park because the man in the brand-new Audi took the handicapped spot. This makes me angry. So I pick up a metal trash can and I hurl it into the car’s windshield. It cracks in several places. I feel this is an honest act. I want the man to understand, so I leave a note that explains why I destroyed his windshield.

It is almost 11 a.m. A client calls asking for feedback on a recent pilot audition. On a normal day, I would explain that he did well but they are going in a different direction. But today is not a normal day. So I tell him the casting director did not like his take on the character. She also felt he was too old for the part. There is a moment of silence and then my client thanks me for being honest.

I am having lunch in Beverly Hills. A manager is pitching me his clients. They are not his best people. They are at the bottom of his list. On a normal day, I would act interested and ask him to send me the material so I can show it to the other agents in my office. But today is not a normal day. So I explain I have no interest in his low-priority clients. I tell him I want a meeting with his best actor, a man with a name you would know. The manager sees that I am honest and agrees to arrange a meeting.

It is now just past seven and I am leaving the office. As I enter the garage, I see the owner of the Audi has posted a note by the elevator. It is addressed to the person who destroyed his windshield. He is saying thank you. He is glad someone pointed out the error of his ways.

It is almost nine and I am watching a client perform in a waiver play. The production is an atrocity. There is no story. The writing is terrible. The characters are not real. I will put a stop to this. Enough is enough.

I jump up onstage and command them to stop. I explain that what they are doing is not real theater. It is a joke and cannot go on. The actors stare at me. The audience stares at me. And then they start to clap. They understand I am an honest man.

It is midnight. I am in bed. I am starting to doze off. Today was a good day. Tomorrow will be…

The alarm goes off and I snap out of bed. It’s Friday morning and damn, I’ve got a staff meeting today. I also have vague memories of a dream where I behaved like an idiot. Boy, I could use a day off. So I decide to lie and call in sick. Why not? I’ve earned a break, and three-day weekends are good for the soul, right?

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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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