Sunday, December 23, 2007

Question: I was dropped by my agent...what do I do now???

"Im totally heart broken. After all the hard work and effort that I put into trying my best I later call my agent and he tells me that maybe I should find a smaller agency. He hasn't been able to put 100% in my career and prety much in a nutshell they are giving me the boot. After 7 years of work..Ive done tons of commercials and at least 7 feature films then later I'm told that he has his mind on a thousand different things...mainly not me. I on the verge of suicide. What can I do?"


When I used to work in the corporate world, when employees decided to leave the company, we always had what we called an exit interview. The reason was to try and understand WHY the person decided to leave.

In this case, I would be trying really hard to find out exactly why they decided to terminate me. There is a reason and you have a right to know what it is! Whether they want to tell you or not is a different story.

Knowing that will help you grow.
Another thing I would have been doing is keeping track of all the projects I got booked on vs. the number of times I was actually sent out on auditions. I keep track of all my auditions, submission, etc. Why? Because the numbers don't lie. It gives you a great base to analyze your efforts and see what's wrong and where to go to fix it.

You talked about the tons of commercials and the 7 feature films. Analyze those numbers and break them down over the entire 7 year period. How many jobs did you actually book per week, per month, per year and what kinds of projects were they? Was there any trend in the amount of commercials and films that you booked, say at the beginning of that seven-year period? What was the trend of your bookings in the last two years? Was it on the rise or on the decline. And whatever the answer to that question is, you can always ask yourself another question: Why? If you don't know the answer to that question then you could stand to pay a little closer attention to your career.

There is always a reason. And given the fact that agents are in the business to make money. If you had been making money for them, they would never have terminated you. It just doesn't make good business sense. What other reason could there possibly be? Did they acquire other actors that were performing better than you, meaning were there others that had a better audition to booking ratio than you? Was your ratio on the decline? There is always a reason. Find out what it was before you go on. Do you have a particular type that is no longer requested often? How is your versatility as an actor? Can you play different roles and does your agent know that? Or are you always seen in the same way and called in for the same kinds of roles. If you are more versatile, you will get called in more?

So, whatever the case is, learn from this experience. Maybe your booking rate, even though it was good, wasn’t' as good as the other top actors they represent.

The fact is, I'm speculating. If I were you, I would try and find out as much as possible from your agent.

Don't call him/her to talk about it on the phone, ask for an appointment and tell them that you WOULD LIKE to know the EXACT reasons why you were terminated so that you can grow. If you do it on the phone, you might only get part of the answer, because it is easier for a person not to tell the whole truth on the phone, because they don't see you. If, on the other hand, you have a face to face conversation, you can see all his/her non-verbal communication and ask appropriate questions when you see that they are not giving you the whole truth. Some people aren't comfortable being up front with people. In fact MANY people aren't comfortable with that.

Last thing is, you may or may not like what they tell you, but at least you will know and you can learn from that.
Do the interview if you can. It's important. They might not grant it to you, but if you don't try, you'll never know. No matter what happens, let this be a lesson to you. Always keep in constant contact with your agent (the way that they prefer) and try to build a relationship over time, so that you know as much as possible about where you stand. This might be easier with some agents vs. others, but that should be your goal.

After that, don't fret. Rejection is part of the game and because of it, many actors either get stronger or they fade out. I would like to think that because of this experience, you would get stronger and persevere! If you were successful once, you can be so again!

You'll find another agent. You have a lot going for you and you will be successful. Have a look at this page link and see what I would do if I were in your situation. This strategy has worked before for me and I have no doubt that it will work again should I need it. It might work for you too.

Just one more thing. Make a habit of using post-cards with your headshot on it (if you are not already doing so) to say thank you to casting directors for having you in to audition. Also use them to communicate with casting directors, agents and production companies to communicate what you have been doing, ie. jobs that you've booked and even CLOSE CALLS, meaning call-backs even if you didn't get the job. Those are interesting pieces of information for casting directors and agents to hear. You'll see that they might start calling you directly.

Hope this helps. Keep your head up!
Good luck!


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