Working With Your Reps

Working with a talent agent and or manager is a two-way street, and requires effort and work on both sides. Most actors think that once they get a rep, they can just sit back and watch the auditions roll in – expecting that their newfound representation will do all of the legwork. Although agents and managers are definitely there to work for the talent – you, as the actor, need to give them something to work with. There are definite right and wrong ways to go about working with a rep, and in order to maximize your relationship, you should keep the following in mind:

Establish your short and long term goals. Immediately after signing with an agent or manager, one of the first things you need to do is outline your goals with them. Start with your short-term goals. Depending on where you are in your career, your interests and needs will be different. Do you want to focus on TV, film, or both? Should you be doing co-stars or guest stars? Soap operas or no soap operas? Your agent/manager will have insight on what is most appropriate for you, and should be able to guide you in the right direction. Your long term goals aren’t as important as they are probably constantly changing, but it doesn’t hurt to express what you want to shoot for – being a series regular on a TV show or being strictly a film actor, for example.

Maintain good communication. Like all good relationships, in order to thrive, you need to be in regular contact with your agent/manager. Your rep will readily contact you when they have appointments to give, but if you haven’t heard a peep from them in a while, it doesn’t hurt to just call and “check-in” from time to time.  Open communication is especially important if you notice that you aren’t going out on very many auditions. A lack of auditions can really be attributed to a variety of reasons, but more often than not, it’s probably because your rep isn’t submitting you on very many things. This can be due to a lack of projects to submit you on, or because they just don’t think you’re “right” for any of the projects that are available. If you are desperate to audition more – just contact your rep and re-hash out what kinds of projects and roles you can be submitted for. This is why it’s important to maintain regular contact with your reps!

It’s also important to constantly update your rep(s) on your availability. If you are going out of town, let them know, even if it’s only for a weekend. Nothing irks an agent/manager more than an actor that suddenly skips town without letting anyone know. Besides for availability, you need to also make aware to your reps any issues that may affect your ability to audition, and or work on a job. Whether you are sick, injured, or just want to ease up on auditions for a bit – let you’re people know.

Be a team player. When you sign on to work with an agent or manager, you are no longer working for just yourself. The truth of the matter is, you are working for your rep just as much as they work for you. When it comes to receiving auditions, you should think twice before passing or flaking on them. That audition came to you most likely through the hard work of your rep, and casually neglecting that fact not only shows a blatant disregard to your rep, but also that you don’t care that much about acting. Of course, if you legitimately do not connect with the material, it is okay to pass – once again, just let your reps know.

Being a good team player can best be summed up by the following example. A client got an audition appointment for a feature film, but after looking at the materials, admitted that he did not connect with the role or story at all. However, he readily recognized that he hadn’t auditioned/booked a project in a while, and thus ultimately decided to go to the audition. In this example, even though the actor wasn’t that interested in the project, his decision to go in shows his reps that he appreciates their hard work in getting him the appointment, and that he takes his acting career seriously.

Your relationship with your agent/manager is complex and multi-layered. It’s not a simple matter of sitting back and waiting for auditions. In order to maximize your relationship, you need to communicate early and often. Your reps should always be aware of your schedule, your goals, and any other details that affect your acting career. Cooperation with your reps is also key. There will often be times when your reps are more excited about an audition than you are. Rather than passing on them outright, really look at the materials and, unless you have a visceral negative reaction, you should audition anyways. Secret tip: it almost never hurts to audition, if it turns out you’re not interested in the project, you can always pass at a later time. Good teamwork with your reps is essential for furthering your career, so play nicely.


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