It seems like every new actor is desperately trying to find representation, but few of them know how to behave when an agent actually signs them. They don’t realize that once they become someone’s client, all of their actions are going to be carefully judged. That’s why it’s imperative you understand what your shiny new agent expects from you.
When I sign someone who is developmental, I know my company is going to put in a lot of time and energy before we see any kind of financial reward. That’s because it takes a while for new actors to find their way. Everything is new, mysteries abound, and no one hits a home run their first time up at bat. Hell, most of my developmental clients barely get on base during our first year together.
Since you’re not bringing money in right away, you have to make sure you play the game correctly. In other words, don’t give us a reason to not like you. Working actors who are generating income can get away with a certain amount of bad behavior. You can’t.
So here’s a four-item list of the most basic expectations an agent has for a new client. And yes, some of these might seem rudimentary, but I’ve got a news flash for you: Actors get them wrong all the time.
1. You have to be reachable.
I have a conniption fit every time I need to speak with a client and my assistant tells me that person isn’t returning her messages. Don’t you want to speak to your agent? Don’t you want direct communication with your reps? Don’t you want the relationship to work?
2. You have to book out when you’re not available.
I once had a cerebral hemorrhage because of this one. Imagine I’ve been bugging the hell out of a casting director, trying to get a major audition for a client. And when I finally do, it turns out the client isn’t available for the audition because they’re going out of town and forgot to book out. This one is not just grounds for being dropped—it’s grounds for justifiable homicide. (Seriously. In the state of California, a licensed talent agent is allowed to kill a client for failing to book out three times during a one-year period.)
3. You have to do what you’re told.
I need new pictures? An updated reel? Anything? Get it done. Period.
4. You have to behave like a professional.
This is important so I’m going to say it three times: Your actions reflect on me. Your actions reflect on me. Your actions reflect on me. That means you can’t arrive late for auditions. It also means you can’t be unprepared. And it especially means you can’t be disrespectful to the assistant in the casting director’s office. All that shit will hit the fan and land on me. And you can be guaranteed I’ll make sure you get your fair share.
When I sign a newbie, I have every expectation the relationship will work out for both of us. And you can rest assured I’ll do my best to make that happen, but this is a two-way street. You have to do your best, too. Actually, scratch that. Don’t do YOUR best. Do MY best!
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