Change Your Attitude for the New Year

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Photo Source: Steve Weigl

I am writing this column from a very, very, very quiet place.

My holiday travel plans usually take me to exotic locations like Hawaii or Thailand, but this year I decided to try something different. So instead of getting on a plane, I hopped in my car and drove up to the [NAME REDACTED TO PROTECT SAM FROM ENTERPRISING ACTORS] retreat center in Northern California.

Located between the mountains and the ocean, this monastery is run by real monks, not extras in robes. They live a simple life. Their days are about chores, meals, and reflection. If these guys ever saw HD TV, their eyes would explode.

My career as an agent forces me to live with blinders on, and sometimes I forget what really matters. Like when my bitch of a mother asked me to visit her in the home for her birthday. I had to explain that February is pilot season and I can’t leave town during that month. I also reminded her that the only reason she isn’t eating Purina Cat Chow for dinner is because I’m footing the bill for that overpriced money suck she now calls home.

My time here at the center has made me realize I could’ve handled that situation better. The monks are helping me see the light. They’re showing me how to be a force for good.

I’m also beginning to understand there are many situations in my professional life I could handle in a more spiritual manner. So after hours of meditating in a room that could really use a heater, I’d like to share my resolutions for 2014:

When I want to sign a young actor who already has representation, I wage a war of trash-talking that would make Ari Emanuel blush. I do my sleazy best to convince the actor his career will take off if he dumps his worthless agent and signs with me. This is not a positive way to behave. So from now on, I will simply hand the actor my card and pray he gets in touch. I’m sure that will work just fine.

A few months ago, I took out a contract on a manager who yelled at me for talking directly to our shared client instead of going through him. The monks have convinced me that hiring a professional killer is not the way Jesus would handle this situation. So next time a manager makes me angry, I will invite him or her to break bread. I’m sure that will work just fine. (And I’ll probably get stuck with the bill. Managers are the cheapest creatures on this planet!)

Scarlett Johansson is engaged. I will accept this and move on. After all, how many cease and desist orders do I really need?

Last year, I made over $6,000 by attending workshops where I didn’t meet one single actor worth signing. I used that money to go on the ultimate weekend bender in Vegas. That probably wasn’t very spiritual, so next year I’m going to donate my workshop money to this retreat center. I’m thinking I should get a decent tax deduction, so I’m sure that will work just fine.

(OK. That comment I made earlier about managers being the cheapest creatures on this planet was a cheap shot in itself. Forget I said that. The fact that it’s true doesn’t make it right.)

Well, tomorrow is my last day here. It’s time to go home. And thanks to these amazing monks who refuse to heat my room, I’m bringing a ton of good energy back with me. I just need to stay positive in the world’s most negative business.

I think can do it. I really do…

Happy New Year!

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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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