So You’ve Been “Dropped”: What it Means for Your Self Esteem and, More Importantly, Your Career

“I’m sorry,” your agent says (but they don’t sound sorry at all!), “we’re going to have to drop you. It’s just not working out.”

Being dropped sounds just as awful as it is—it means, simply, that your agent and/or manager has decided to “drop” you from their roster. This could be for many reasons: they’ve decided you’re not going on as many auditions as they’d like, you’re changing appointments too often—or, most likely—you’re not booking jobs and bringing in money (see Why Actors Get Dropped). The reality is that entertainment is a business; while acting may be your passion (and your team likes to help you succeed in making a living out of your passion), if you don’t book jobs and make money, it becomes harder and harder for your reps to justify spending large amounts of their time on you. Agents and managers work for you—they get on the phone, they network, they use their connections—and they talk you up. They sell you to casting directors and producers in order to either get you in the room to audition or to get you an offer and, in return, they get a percentage of what you make from getting those jobs. That’s how they make their living. They’re passionate about actors, but in order to have a steady income, they need their clients to be making money and booking jobs.

That being said, if you’re let go, most likely it’s not personal. It’s not that they don’t believe in you or that you’re not good at your craft; it’s just that you and your agent and/or manager aren’t a good fit and they’re just not the right team for you, and for it to end up being mutually beneficial in the long run, they need to let you go. That way they can sign a client that can make them the money they want, and you can go ahead and find a team more suited for your needs to move forward. If you’ve just been dropped by your agent, your manager can buoy you and help you find a better fit. If it’s the other way around, same thing. Unfortunately, it’s also possible to get dropped by both your agent and manager at the same time.

It’s important not to get dejected or feel lost if this happens to you; to do so is detrimental to your well-being and goals as an actor. Take it as a sign that your team wasn’t the right fit for you. Recognize that giving yourself a chance to regroup, reach out to contacts and fellow actors, and being able to meet with new people will give your career path a breath of fresh air and the revamping it needs to put you on a more prosperous path. Being dropped is not a sign of failure—just a chance to see what else is out there. Don’t feel the need to be desperate or picky in going out on agent or manager meetings—really take the opportunity to meet with different kinds of managers and agents and try to find the right fit for you. In that vein, don’t be afraid to ask your fellow actors for their opinions of agents and managers you’re going to meet—especially if they’re clients or former clients. Agents and managers are always ready to sell themselves in the room (just like you are!), so don’t be afraid to question the veneer by going with gut feelings or from what other people have to say in addition to your own opinion. Most importantly, know that, just as acting is your passion, being an agent is theirs! You both are attempting to figure one another out in the room, so be honest and don’t bolster your confidence by putting on a false face or “acting” too much in the room. No one likes falsity—in either direction.

Just remember: being dropped happens to the best of the best in this industry, and it’s hardly uncommon. It’s just important to keep on track, know yourself and your abilities, and realize that it’s not personal or meant to demean or ruin you. Keep confidence in your passion and put yourself out there to find an even better team!

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tara McGrath started her career in entertainment mainly because she couldn't see a life where she wasn't surrounded and inspired by actors in some way or another. After graduating from SUNY Purchase's Conservatory of Theatre Arts and Film with a degree in Screenwriting, she worked for a year at Roundabout Theatre Company in New York. Interning under their casting department with casting directors Carrie Gardner and Jim Carnahan, she assisted in casting such productions as Spring Awakening, American Idiot and Fox's hit show, Glee. From there she moved 3,000 miles to Los Angeles and for the last year has been working for a well-known boutique talent agency in West Hollywood. She has also worked as a reader and marketing assistant for the Blue Cat Screenwriting Competition and has worked on independent features as both producer's assistant and P.A.

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