What You Should Do Before You Change Agents

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Q: What indicates that it might be time to change representation? —@Xeldin01, Backstage Community Forums*

The first thing to do before making a change is an audit of your career.

Start by requesting a copy of your rep’s submission reports from the various submission services they use. A report of their audition submission activity can be generated for any given time period on your behalf. When you get it, read it through carefully for signs of challenges that might exist in securing you auditions. Most actors are stunned to see the actual number of submissions made on their behalf that they didn’t get auditions for. It could be 800 or more roles in a given year.

It’s easy to think it might be time to change if you’re assessing your agent’s effectiveness based solely on the number of audition opportunities you received during a given time period. However, reps spend countless hours each day engaged in a submission process that often results in nothing to tell you about. This can be misleading to a client who is just invested in results and not the process of what it takes to make that happen.

In addition to the submission report, talk to your rep. Ask them if they have ideas about why you’re not more audition-active. Are you being submitted for roles that you’re not ready to play? Are you a nonunion actor who is being submitted for union roles?

There are lots of reasons why you might think it’s time for a rep change. Seek some answers first. If your agent won’t respond to your request to meet or your rep won’t give you a copy of your submission report, that’s a good indication that a once-committed relationship has cooled and a campaign to seek new representation is in order.

I don’t recommend you do any of this during pilot season. Wait until after mid-May. That’s usually the best time of year for these conversations and, if you decide to make a change, it’s a great time to seek out fresh options.

*Submit questions for our Experts on Backstage’s Facebook or Twitter accounts or via our forums page at backstage.com/forums!

This story originally appeared in the March 19 issue of Backstage Magazine. Subscribe here.

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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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Brad Lemack
Brad Lemack is a Los Angeles-based talent manager, educator, career coach, and author. He established Lemack & Company Talent Management in 1982. The company specializes in the career development of new and emerging artists and the brand maintenance and career enhancement of legacy artists and working actors. He also teaches The Business of Acting at the Emerson College Los Angeles Campus. His latest book is The New Business of Acting: The Next Edition.
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