Lots Of Actor Advice Abounds.
You know that.
Some Of It Is Helpful, Supportive, And -Or Valid.
When you are a professional actor, it is often different, on the inside, than it appears from the outside.
[I've said that before and I will, again.]
When you are working, in acting, you have representation. A talent agent not only negotiates an actor’s salary after they book an acting role; but before that, the agent makes appointments with casting directors for you to audition…for roles that they feel are right for you.
That’s where a lot of professional problems, for actors, begin.
These two people are actors who work…they claim so, and have no reason to not believe them. I also know how difficult it can be to write about the world of professional acting. All different elements create lots of varied experiences.
I see lots of general advice, and I know it’s general because general is palatable. an easier read, and sells books. I notice, too, that beginning actors, especially, would rather hear generalized easy-to-take stuff, than some of the hardships and specifics.
Sure why not? The idea of professional acting is so daunting, that easy-reading stuff, and generalized info is far nicer on the psyche. Maybe more empowering, as a feeling, early on.
Yet general truths can leave out some specific truths that always the entire truth, and not great actor prep for some of the authentic challenges that will come every professional actor’s way. Almost certainly.
I do want to say that this advice from a pair that call themselves the Savvy Actor, is a lot of right-on, wonderful.
As informative as it is, it does cast a glow of a little bit of a Pollyanna expectation, and isn’t the whole specific truth, and there’s some other stuff you may find it important to know. To be informed of. (I’m mulling it over, and will pick and choose some tasty bits of my own…)
‘The Secret to an Ideal Relationship with Your Agent’
By Jodie Bentley and Kevin Urban
At some point an actor will inevitably begin their search to get an agent. Many actors look at the agent relationship as the be‐all and end‐all. Really, that’s when the work begins, but on a different level.
When an actor gets an agent, we often find that one of two things happen:
1. They’re at a loss as to how to proceed.
2. They rely too much on the agent, and stop their own self‐promotion.
Both of these can hurt the agent relationship.
At the Savvy Actor we have created the Five P’s to a Productive Agent Relationship to help you unlock the secret to building the ideal relationship with your agent.
1. Proper Setup of Relationship
The first step, mainly with legit representation, is making sure they agree with what you sell. This is why packaging and aligning your brand is so important. If you have done all your branding homework and know where you fit in the industry, and they agree, then the relationship will thrive.
In beginning any business relationship, setting up proper communication is vital. Do they prefer email, phone, or dropping by? If there is a project you’re right for, how should you communicate that? These are important questions to answer because if you establish the communication style upfront you never have to second‐guess or worry when contacting them.
When you do contact your agent, it must be for a reason – not just to check in.
2. Peer and Partner Thinking
Your relationship with your agent is a business partnership, it’s not a time to be passive! Remember, they only get 10% commission. It is your job to do 90% of the work. It’s your career, not theirs.
Think of them as a peer, not an authority figure; ask for what you want and need without fear. Being afraid of your agents is not the way to have a relationship. When you come from a place of fear, you are not being your authentic self. It’s harder to function in a productive way.
3. (Be) Proactive
You’ve got to be proactive with your agents. This means filling them in on what’s going on in your career and giving them the tools to sell you.
Tools that “sell” you would be:
- Feedback you get in the room when you audition.
- When someone you know is directing/casting/producing/musical directing/ writing a project.
- Casting directors who know you and what they’ve said about you.
- Maintaining and updating information on your website and submission sites.
4. Professionalism and ‘Preciation
You are a small business owner, and it’s of the utmost importance to be professional. Actors tend to complain about their agent situations – whether they don’t have one or they feel their agent isn’t working with them. A small business owner would not complain but rather take steps to fix it. If you treat your agent with professionalism, they will do the same.
‘Preciation or gratitude is the key in maintaining relationships and being professional. Thanking your agent for negotiating contracts and getting you in for auditions is just good business practice. Thank you’s are a must.
5. Position of Trust
When you start working with an agent in a freelance or signed capacity, both parties are really saying,“ I trust you to do your job.“ The actor must trust that they are being submitted, and the agent must trust that you are doing your best work in the room and being professional.
Yet, agents hear these words countless times ‐“Can you submit me for this?” What actors don’t realize, is by asking this question they are basically saying, “I don’t think you did your job, so I have to check up on you.” There’s a big difference between saying, “Can you submit me for this?” and “ I’m sure you submitted me, but I’m very interested in this project” or “I’m sure you submitted me, I just wanted to let you know the director knows my work.” By demonstrating trust, your relationship will be based on a foundation of respect and, inevitably, grow.
Use these five P’s and you are guaranteed to create a successful, savvy partnership with your agent.
Watch for my additions, and commentary to follow in an upcoming post, here at Hollywood Actor Prep…
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