Why You Should Ask Your Agent Out to Dinner

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Photo Source: Spencer Alexander

Can you feel it? The holidays are right around the corner. For most people, this is a joyous time full of celebration and gratitude. For me, it’s a reminder that I cannot eat everything that is placed in front of me, especially those sugary treats that go right to my waistline. I’m in fairly decent shape, but I still have to be careful about my weight and what I consume. And no, that’s not vanity talking. It’s my cardiologist.

Christmas is the time of year when my agency gets bombarded with edible gift baskets and ginormous cupcakes and other evil goodies. I understand clients mean well when they show up with this stuff, but I rarely eat any of it. I’ll have a taste (or two), and then I’ll pass the tempting treats on to the rest of the office or the janitorial staff.

You see, agents are surrounded by food. Eating is a big part of our job; there’s just no way around it. And I’m not just talking about the holidays.

I’m constantly taking clients out to breakfast or lunch or dinner. It’s how we connect. Luckily, I usually get to pick the spot, so I can make healthier choices than a cheeseburger and fries. But sometimes I get roped into going to a BBQ joint or some other cholesterol bomb, and I have to make up for my behavior with additional time at the gym.

READ: 4 Things You Should Never Say to Your Agent or Manager 

Don’t get me wrong. Sharing a meal is an excellent way to cement a relationship with a client, especially one that’s going places. Sure, we discuss business, but we also talk about personal matters. I’m not advocating against the dinner meeting; I just want you to understand how much food is part of an agent’s life.

And by the way, it’s not just me inviting clients. I get taken out all the time by managers and lawyers and other industry professionals who want some face time. This industry is all about making personal connections. Eating just aids the process.

(At least we’re not living in the ’60s, like “Mad Men.” Then I would be chugging martinis over lunch and I’d have a whole different set of problems.)

Set visits are another important part of my job, and they’re yet another opportunity to chow down. When I have a client working on a series, I try to pop in every now and then to make sure all is well. It’s customary to arrive about an hour before the meal break. That way, I get to watch the actor work for a while, and then we can catch up over lunch. This beats standing around all day, because if you’re not part of the crew, spending time on a set is mind-numbing. (Unless they’re blowing stuff up—that can be pretty cool.)

You’re probably wondering what all this eating nonsense has to do with you. Well, if you’re smart, you too can use food as a way to grease the wheels with your industry contacts. Invite your agent to a meal. Get to know each other while you break bread. Just don’t do it too often, because 100 clients equals 100 meals, and there are only so many calories a guy like me can ingest!

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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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