Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Agent Situation

Someday CAA or WME will come knocking on my door. Until that day... we must deal with the ever-present, ever-annoying struggle of assembling a team that actually makes shit happen. There have been some huge changes for me in this department over the last year.  I keep promising to fill you in on the details one day... well that one day is here.

Last year I had an agent whom I loved. He was great. He was at a great agency. We were finally starting to get some doors to open. Yes, it was slow progress, but we were working together and had a great relationship.  Then he decided to move back to the East coast to be closer to his family and left the agent game altogether.  I was seriously bummed.  

But I stayed at the agency with those other agents, despite the fact that they admitted to not even knowing I existed. (I didn't remind them that they passed on me when I first interviewed and my agent had secretly put me on his private list. Some details don't need to be shared.) I stayed and they were okay. Not amazing, not terrible. In the few months since my guy left, they got me a couple auditions for D-list projects. Nothing that blew my socks off. I was debating making a change, but I was dreading the process.

So when I bumped into an old friend at a film premiere, it seemed like the universe had planned it. I knew him from way back when he was an actor and we were both walking around parties in black ties, passing out flutes of champagne. Turns out he had been busy in the four years since I'd last seen him. He became a manager and was very quickly moving up the ladder in the talent rep world. We immediately felt like it was destiny to start working together. 

The only catch?? There was bad blood between the head manager he worked for and my current agent. Normally, signing on a new manager doesn't effect your agents; they serve different functions and you can have both simultaneously. However, you do kind of want them to like each other. You don't want to be the kid caught between two feuding parents. Everyone knows who ends up getting screwed the most in that situation.

This manager wanted to sign me, but wouldn't work with my current agent. I was left with a decision: Keep my respected agency logo and get a couple lame auditions every couple of months, or drop them and hope to heaven that the new manager will be able to get me meetings for a new agent.

I went for it. I felt like I'd seen very little to get excited about at my last agency. So it couldn't be worse than that, right?? My gut was telling me to sign with this old friend and (even though I had hesitations about the head manager) I like to trust my gut. I made the leap. 

Then I immediately booked a couple movies. Life was grand!

Life and career kept pushing forward. The waters started to get choppy when we could not get me into any meetings for a new agent. No one wanted to see me.

"Too many client conflicts."

"She doesn't have enough guest star credits."

Frustrating words we heard over and over and over again.

Still. No big deal, I'm not surprised.  I've been the driving force behind 100% of the major projects I've landed so far anyway. I don't need to pay someone 10% commission on what I'm doing myself. I still wasn't crazy about the other manager... especially after she misspelled my name in contract emails and I called her out on it because I feel like, at the very least, you should know how to spell your fucking client's name. I don't think that's asking too much.

Things started to get really exciting when, after only a couple months, my friend decided to leave and start his own management company.  (Turns out, my instincts were spot on and he didn't like working with terrible-speller manager either.)

Over the phone when he asked me to join him at his new company, I said, "Wow. We're in it deep now. We definitely need each other or we're both going to sink."

I felt like we were really in the trenches together.  In the span of a couple months, I found myself without an agent and sitting on the roster of a brand spanking new management company that didn't yet have access to breakdowns.  It was a risk by every definition of the word... but still, my gut was telling me to take it.

The risk has paid off. I booked another movie after that and I now have the management relationship I've always wanted. We are in constant communication and the man fights harder for me than you could possibly imagine. We have candid conversations about the challenges and strategy and the crappy times it doesn't go our way.

He's even landed me a new agent. Last week, I signed for commercial representation for now, with an option for theatrical down the road. I had to leave the commercial ladies I've been with for a while (whom I love) but have gotten me less than a dozen auditions in the last two years. It was hard to make that drop, but it was time for a change.  We need an injection of new blood. I'm pumped to see where it takes us.

May we always be brave enough to follow our instincts. If you haven't in a while, start listening to yours and see where they take you.

No comments:

Post a Comment