Finding An Agent Is Like Dating

Hey gang! A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog entry about how I started looking for new representation and that I received an offer in one week. I ended up not signing with that particular talent agency and I have since continued the search for theatrical representation (I received an offer for commercial representation on May 4th and I accepted that offer)

A few days ago in my PDP 3.0 class, I was chosen to do cold stand up comedy. I talked about how searching for an agent is like dating. Listen to my stand up comedy below and find out why! I would also love to read your agent dating stories in the comments section below.

 

 

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How I Got An Agent Offer In One Week

Hello everyone! Hope this new blog entry finds you all in great health and spirits. I’m really excited to share today’s blog entry, so let’s get to it!

On March 7th, I received a phone call from my agency informing me that they would be stepping down as a SAG-AFTRA franchised agency. And as a result, they wouldn’t be able to represent me anymore because I’m a union actor. They said that they could still represent me till mid-April, but that I was also free to start looking for new representation.

The phone call lasted a few minutes, and when we hung up, I was actually cool. I didn’t freak out. I didn’t start looking at the “loss” in this situation, but rather, the opportunity in this situation. I didn’t go into a dark place knowing that I would have to start an agent search from scratch. I didn’t look at the “burden” of having to start all over again. And look, there are millions of reasons for me to worry and stress over starting a new agent search.

For example, we are still in pilot season, and traditionally, that is considered the worst time to look for an agent. Pilot season is an insanely busy time for agents and they are not looking for nor have the time to interview and accept new clients. Actors are told to submit to agents after pilot season because that’s when agents drop some of their clients.

However, if you know me by now, I didn’t let that stop me. I said, “Fuck it. I’m going to start my agent search now.” Yes, that’s right! During pilot season! Why wait till mid-April when I can start now? Do it now. Do it now. Do it now.

I looked forward. I didn’t look at the burden of the workload ahead of me. Why? Because I know how to administrate the hell out of my career. I know what actions to take to get an agent. I know how to book the rooms that I walk into. I have a solid resume. I have a solid reel. I know my casting. I know what I want as an artist. I have a business plan. I have so many pros at my disposal. I’ve acquired agents before and I can acquire them again.

I set an intention to get an offer in two weeks. I got to work on March 8th with the first phase of research. I generated a list of agencies that spoke to me in terms of their mission statement and other qualifying factors that resonated with me. (The second phase is to reach out to my relationship map to see if anyone can act as a referral for me)

But back to the first phase and making sure that I followed it through to completion. I went through the list of talent agencies on IMDB Pro and focused on agencies in LA. I went to SAG-AFTRA’s website to get a list of SAG-AFTRA franchised agents. I cross-referenced both websites and created a spreadsheet of my target agencies.

I submitted to a total of 15 agencies. Each agency had different submission requirements and I tailored each submission to them. By Sunday, March 11th, I received an email from one of the 15 agencies asking to meet with me. I met with them on Thursday, March 15th and I received an offer from them.

One week later.

I went from not having an agent to having another offer.

What are the lessons I/we can take away from this?

*Intention without hesitation.

*Knowing that if I have to start all over again with something, that I have the tools necessary to get back in the game. That I have a system of actions, a structure, that will always get me back in the game.

*Rules can be broken. That it’s okay to go the other way. “Don’t submit during pilot season. That’s a no no.” I decided to go against that thinking and went for it. The turn over rates at agencies are frequent all year long. My intention put me in the right place at the right time.

Hollywood 101 Recap Part 2!

Hey everyone! It’s that time of the year when I like to stop for a moment, recap and catch everyone up on the exciting blog entries I’ve posted over the last 4 months. Ranging from When To Get An Agent to When To Leave Your Agent to What Is A Win to me dropping off my feature film script to James Franco’s production company, let’s take a stroll down memory lane from oldest blog entry to the newest:

 

Happy Birthday! https://wp.me/p8uI5M-iN

Taking It To The Next Level: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-jx

A Big Win With James Franco: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-jR

What Is A Win? https://wp.me/p8uI5M-mS

The Revolution Begins: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-os

When To Get An Agent Or Manager: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-6T

Happy 15th Anniversary! https://wp.me/p8uI5M-qq

Happy Labor Day Weekend! https://wp.me/p8uI5M-rq

Self-Tape Audition Adventures: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-rA

The Showrunner In Me: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-sx

Do You Celebrate? https://wp.me/p8uI5M-uj

A New Journey Begins: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-wo

The Power Of The Human Spirit: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-x6

Quick Tip: Callbacks https://wp.me/p8uI5M-xn

Pre-Production Begins! https://wp.me/p8uI5M-xx

When To Leave Your Agent: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-y5

When To Leave Your Agent

“When should I leave my agent?” This is a question I receive often from actors. I’ll do my best to offer my perspective because it’s a great question.

First, actors need to understand and realize that they are entering into a business partnership with their agents. And like any business partnership, there has to be a constant exchange that occurs between the two parties. In the partnership between an actor and agent, the actor is the one who needs to put in more work. Some actors expect the agent to do ALL the work for them. And these same actors sit back and complain that their agent is not getting them out enough or not getting them out at all for auditions.

Remember, when you book an acting job, you typically receive 90% of the pay and your agent receives the remaining 10%. So just these percentages alone should clearly indicate that you are the one who is driving your career bus. You are the driver. You are the one that is in charge of developing the relationship with your agent. You are the one that is in charge of sharing your dreams, your business plan, your goals, your hustle, your materials, etc. to your agent. It is your responsibility to keep the exchange in this business partnership alive and exciting.

Some actors do not do that. They don’t navigate their own journey and expect the agent to do all of the work for them. And in this day of technology, social media, insta-fame and insta-celebrity, people want things YESTERDAY. I want to be a star YESTERDAY. I should be working YESTERDAY. And so when an actor signs with an agent, some want to jump ship if their agent doesn’t produce results in a month! I’ve known actors who have jumped ship after being with a new agent for a few months. I’m like: What the fuck?!

It’s like those actors who jump from acting class to acting class and expect to receive a fully-realized education and experience in a few months. “I’ll take scene study for three months here and then I’ll jump into this on-camera acting class for four weeks.” I’ve had actors ask me what they can get out of a scene study class in two months. What the fuck?! It doesn’t work like that. When you enroll in an acting class, you need to commit time to it. You have to let the teaching work. It takes time, commitment and application to really get a handle and understanding of a particular acting approach. Your career is a marathon race. Your career is a life race.

Look at it from this perspective: Are you going to enroll in a gym and expect the long-term results you’re seeking to achieve in one month? Are you going to declare a college major and expect to master that discipline in a few months?

So, why do some actors jump ship so quickly when their new agent hasn’t secured an audition for them in a month? Give this relationship time. The agent is learning about you. They are learning about where you fit and belong. They are learning about your strengths. At the same time, you have to be present in this exchange and make them excited to have you on board.

So, going back to the original question (“When should I leave my agent?”), my personal advice is:

*Leave when you have been with your agent for a year and have exhausted every single avenue to get yourself out there. Meaning, in the year that you’ve been with your agent, did you do everything to update your headshots and reel; to be in an acting class; to utilize social media as a way to build relationships with industry people; to create evidence for yourself that you can share with your agent and the world; to give your agent a list of shows you can be on right now; to pitch you for projects in production or in development; did you ask them what they need from you; etc.

When you have done everything in your power to build this relationship in a year, then you can leave. You’ve exhausted every avenue.

And look, I know that some agents are better than others in terms of their ability/clout to get their clients into the door. I totally know that. Some agents have better/great relationships with casting directors and other industry people. So I know that all agents are not created equally. But don’t jump around from agent to agent when you haven’t done your part to build the relationship first and foremost.

Also, leave if your agent is hostile or unsupportive. If the atmosphere is hostile and unsupportive, leave. But you should have already sensed that from the first meeting with them. You’re interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you. You know in your gut if something is not a right fit. I remember meeting an agent–who on paper–seemed like a great fit. But as soon as I stepped into their office and met them, I could feel this was a hostile environment. When we talked, they had a hostile point of view about how an agent-actor relationship should work. They believed that an actor shouldn’t tell an agent what to do, they shouldn’t ask an agent to pitch them for things, etc. Basically, the agent runs the show and the actor is the passenger with no voice.

I clearly was not down for that. I’m looking for collaboration. I discovered during this meeting that the agent was a former actor and I understood why they were hostile: They had a failed purpose with acting and they were taking it out on other actors. No thank you. I was out the door for that agency.

Sometimes, when an actor has momentum and trajectory, they leave their agency for another one that can open bigger doors for them. If you are booking a certain level of work with one agency and find that you’re stuck on that level for a while–and that agent can’t get you bigger auditions–then you can set your sights on a higher-level agency that can get you bigger auditions and opportunities. So, as your career progresses and gets bigger and bigger, you can move up to an agency that can handle that higher level and caliber of your career status. So if you’re stuck in co-star land and want to graduate to guest star, recurring guest star and series regular status, then look at a higher-level agency that can get you those auditions. Just make sure that you leave your current agent cleanly, with a sense of integrity and ethics. Express gratitude to them for getting you to this level and now you’re ready to go with another agent who can get you to a higher level.

So my advice is to leave after you’ve done everything you could to build that relationship in a year’s time. Or leave if the environment is hostile and unsupportive. Or leave when your career evolves into a higher status and you need a higher-level agency that can support that status.

See you next week! Maybe next week’s entry will be another video blog!

When To Get An Agent or Manager

This is a question I hear often: When should I get an agent or manager?

At the end of the day, this is just my opinion. Rules are definitely meant to be broken. However, based upon what I’ve learned and how I’ve applied those lessons to success, this is what I can offer…

Get an agent when you are ready. When you have something to offer to them. Come with a full arsenal of tools that they can work with. If you’re at home and thinking about getting an agent or manager, take a look below to see if these dynamics are in place:

**Do you have a clear vision for yourself and what you want? Can you walk into an agent’s office and clearly lay out what you’re about? I have discovered that agents and managers really like it when someone is clear about their journey versus someone who is not clear about their journey. Having clarity about yourself gives them something to work with. Having clarity about yourself lets them know that you don’t expect them to do all the work. Think about it, if an agent is receiving a 10% commission on every job you book, that means you’re receiving the remaining 90% on every job you book. So you better be pulling your weight and doing the majority of the work in your journey. I have also discovered that some agents and managers are against/resistant to someone who is clear about what they want. For me, these representatives are not worth my time because they are not going to be supportive of or in collaboration with or excited about my dream. We won’t be able to dance together.

I just shared my DOIN’ (Declaration of Independence aka business plan) with my agent and she was blown away. She wrote:

BRAVO! I think that is a brilliant plan of business action. Very impressive! My pleasure to read such a complete well thought out plan. Keep up the great work towards goals. Extremely proactive of you.

So we are dancing together because she saw first-hand what I’m about through my business plan. And so when I ask her to pitch me to this person or to look out for this TV series in production or this TV series in development, she’s excited to do so because she gets my plan. She gets my dream.

**Do you have specific, current headshots that reflect your first circle of casting? First circle of casting refers to those characters that come easily and naturally to you. Characters you have mastery over and don’t have to work so hard at playing. You walk into a room and we immediately get, “Oh, he’s the college star athlete.” “Oh, she’s the bitchy high school ‘it’ girl.” “Oh, he’s definitely a cop.” “Oh, he’s the gang member.” These specific headshots will help an agent submit you, pitch you and market you into the right neighborhood of shows, films, casting directors, producers, etc.

**Do you have a reel that reflects your first circle of casting? A reel containing a few short scenes that reveal what you can do? It’s one thing to have a headshot, but it’s another thing to have scenes on your reel that show you can actually play these characters in your headshots and that you know how to act on camera. Recently, I added a new scene to my reel as a computer hacker. I uploaded the clip to Actors Access and let my agent know. A few days ago, she emailed me:

By the way you were submitted on a IT tech expert role…Guess what video was attached? Of course, the new one! 🙂

**Are you in an acting class which shows the agent or manager that you are staying current and sharp with your training? That you are working out in an artistic gym? That you are pushing yourself artistically?

These are just the basic dynamics to have in place the next time you find yourself asking, “When should I get an agent or manager?”

Again, rules are meant to be broken. There have been actors who have secured representation without the above dynamics. For whatever reasons, they were able to secure representation without the above dynamics. Maybe those actors were in the right place at the right time. I can only speculate. Ultimately, you have to decide for yourself when to get an agent or manager. For me, I’d rather invest the time to build my arsenal and my artistry first before securing representation. I feel that I would get more mileage out of my journey with them if I do that first.

Until next Sunday!

 

Happy Birthday!

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Photo courtesy of Party Ark

Chasing The George is 2 years old! (Actual birthday is July 10th, but I post new blogs every Sunday)

I am so proud and grateful that my weekly blog has come this far and has inspired so many people around the world. What an incredible and magical ride it has been. I look forward to the year ahead and continuing my journey with you all!

I would like to thank:

  • Richard Lawson for encouraging me to begin this blog
  • My fellow friends and classmates at the Richard Lawson Studios
  • Chris Beber
  • My family and friends
  • My reps
  • The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  • The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
  • Madonna
  • RuPaul
  • Alyssa Edwards
  • Bianca Del Rio
  • Sahsa Velour
  • Tatianna
  • Aja
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race
  • James Franco
  • Jennifer Garner
  • Evangeline Lilly
  • Harvey Weinstein
  • Tyler Perry
  • Vassar College
  • My acolytes
  • Champagne
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Superman
  • Three’s Company
  • The Twilight Zone

Creating The Evidence…Again!

On Friday, June 30th, I will be shooting a new scene for my actor reel. I want to make sure that I keep my arsenal, my actor package, current and marketable. I’ll be playing a computer hacker along with friend and fellow actress, Lindsay Hopper, who will also be playing a computer hacker. I’m excited to add this visual piece of evidence to my actor tool kit because this is a part I can play. I’m excited to share this scene with my reps so that they can use it as another tool to promote me with.

I’m excited that the script and production design are influenced by Mr. Robot to really hone in on a specific world of computer hacking. I’m excited that I asked Lindsay, “Hey, can you write a short scene for my reel where I play a computer hacker?”, and that she wrote the scene immediately. I’m excited that I’ve been working on my character so that on the day of shooting, I can let it go and trust that the work I’ve done will be there.

I’m excited that I have the ability to create the evidence (from filming my own products/projects to writing pilots and feature films) I’m excited that I’ll have a filmed scene for my reel that matches the computer hacker headshots I took earlier this year.

Creating the evidence puts me in the driver’s seat. Creating the evidence opens doors to opportunities.

What are you currently creating and working on? Let me know in the comments section below!