Approaching your agent

  • User Deleted

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    I don't know how to approach my agent and ask what he's put me up for that I wasn't seen for - every time I call or email to ask about work, he tells me it's very quiet at the moment and if anything comes up, he'll tell me. I get the feeling he'd really rather I didn't contact him, but aren't you supposed to? I don't know if I'm being too informal, using his first name and so forth, and breaking some sort of agent-client relationship taboo that no-one's told me about.

    Basically I want to know three things - where can I get a tattoo(odd, I know, but I think he's probably best placed to know), what has he put me up for that I haven't been auditioned for, and what is he looking for for me - is he looking beyond comedy fat girl roles in musical theatre? How do I ask?

    • 20th Jan 2011
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  • User Deleted

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    Ok so, I've had several chats with different agents about this and they've all said the same thing.

    You are well within your right as his client to ask him what your being put forward for and what you've been turned down for. However, it might be worth, rather than calling him, is pleasantly saying "I understand that your busy but I would really appreciate a few minutes of your time over coffee to discuss what is being done for me by the agency. Obviously you understand that things are quiet and its difficult for everyone but you just want to be kept informed"

    nothing aggressive there just a client asking her agent for advice on her career.

    Tattoos - ive got one on the base of my back and it doesnt seem to be a problem...however if u meant where you can get them (as in best places in London) i have no idea sorry lol!!

    hope that helps

    Janinr

    • 6th Jan 2011
    • 1
  • Nathan Head

    Actor

    Just ask him outright, or maybe ask him to email you everynow and then with just an update of what he's been doing or something?

    I know where you are coming from, but maybe give him the benefit of the doubt. For all you know he could be submitting you for five roles a day and writing off to CD's every week with your cv. You'll not know until you talk to him.

    Try to be friendly, remember it works like a partnership.

    • 6th Jan 2011
    • 2
  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    I think the really important aspect of the relationship for you is having the ability to feel that you can communicate with your agent, that your wishes and interests are being listened to, that you could arrange a personal meeting to discuss the direction your career is being steered in without fear of being fobbed off and so on. All these things need to be in place in a good actor-agent relationship and if you feel that you cannot hold your agent accoutable to you in some way, then this is a bad business partnership!

    With that said,whether or not providing the client with breakdowns for work that they have been put forward for but didn't get is really the agent's personal prerogative: some are quite happy to do it on request (as my agent is), whilst others are very reticent - but you can understand why they say they will let you know only when companies 'bite'. Its a simple way of maximising their time usage; the important information that needs to be channelled to you directly is the information about the auditions you have been specifically requested to attend. It can be reassuring to see a list of what you have been put up for, just to prove to yourself that your agent is working hard for you, and very often this list can also show you what casting bracket the agent feels you are in. But, in of itself, its rarely information that is useful to further your career - you hope to see the applications mainly to reassure yourself. With that said, it is not hard, now that most applications are made via the Spotlight link, for an agent to simply cut and paste the most recent applications on your behalf and send you the links by mail if they can be prevailed on to do so. If they are logged in, and you can see *their* computer terminal, they can also show you this information direct from their Spotlight account. Neither method necessitates endles man hours spent compiling lists on your behalf. What may be happening is that there is no easy way to give you the information you are looking for over the phone; instead, seeing if you can arrange an email attachment or, better yet, a personal meeting with a chance to look at recent applications may be a better option.

    Tattoo - wise, I'd say that is ultimately a decision that is up to you, but, almost certainly, any tatoo on any area of your body which is likely to be exposed regularly in, say, standard summer clothing may well be an inconvienience (i.e. anywhere near the neck line, on the shoulders, arms,lower leg, middle of the back). You may get away with more intimate tattoos elsewhere for the most part. There is always the option for make-up artists to blot out tattoos anyway, but its always more work, and, if your casting range is typically comedy, say, then simply having a visible tatoo may work against your casting bracket, and you are less likely to be seen as 'funny' or 'approachable' (unless that's what you were hoping for ?). I would hope an agent should at least be able to advise you on whether they would condone you having a tatoo or not - I wouldn't expect them to tell you exactly which part of the body they'd allow you to have it on - if they will allow it, I'd just apply common sense here.

    • 7th Jan 2011
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  • Paul Newbery

    Actor

    It takes 2 mins to send an actor jobs that they have been put forward for.

    • 7th Jan 2011
    • 4
  • Nathan Head

    Actor

    indeed!

    even if it's only every month or so, it's no trouble at all and it really supports the trust levels and helps you both to stay in contact regularly and keep each other posted on what you've been up to

    cos it works the other way too, you shoudl be contacting your agent every now and then to let them know what jobs you've been looking at yourself or what films you've been working at or what screenings or shows you have coming up etc.

    • 7th Jan 2011
    • 5
  • User Deleted

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    Thanks, everyone. You've all been reassuring. I don't want to sound like I'm accusing him of not doing his job, and that has probably been worrying me more than it should.

    I'll drop him a note about the tattoo.

    • 9th Jan 2011
    • 6
  • User Deleted

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    Glad you've been successfully reassured!! Hope everything works out ok!! Good luck with the tattoo aswell!! Getting one on my foot soon!! X

    • 9th Jan 2011
    • 7
  • User Deleted

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    Just a quick note about the tattoo thing. I have small ones on my wrist, fore arm and upper arm, which means I have to wear long sleeves to EVERY audition I go to! (Unless they ask for someone tattooed which, sadly, hasn't happened yet.) So I would really think hard about where you get it, and try and choose somewhere less obvious, because it can be a bit of a pain.

    The other thing is I don't think my agent even knows I have any! Not because I've hidden it from her, just because I think I happened to be wearing long sleeves every time we've met. I've debated telling her but there isn't anything she can do about it so I don't really think it's worth mentioning. I've never turned up to a job where it's then been a problem (touch wood!)

    Just remember that if it's down to you and another girl who doesn't have a visible tattoo that may be what makes an employer choose the other girl.

    • 11th Jan 2011
    • 8
  • User Deleted

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    Hi Madeline,

    It does sound a little odd that you can't get a quick run down of some of the jobs you've been put up for. Maybe he's not keeping much of a record, but he should be able to tell you.

    Just a wonder, I didn't see a spotlight pin on your profile so I was wondering if you were a member? I know some of the biggest CDs of musicals still prefer post but often they advertise through it. And it's worth it for the other industry jobs too if you're not already on it. CCP is truly brilliant for the hard-working actor to maintain their career but a lot of CDs only seem to use the one site. I find both sites a must have subscription.

    Good luck!

    • 11th Jan 2011
    • 9
  • Anne Bird

    Actor

    A good agent will give you a run down of *all* castings they have put you forward for.

    Seriously, you shouldn't be scared of your own agent!! You employ them remember, not the other way around.

    • 11th Jan 2011
    • 10
  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    Exactly! I asked my agent for a list of submissions today and had an email within minutes!

    • 12th Jan 2011
    • 11
  • Melissa Hartzel

    Actor

    On the subject of your tatoo, I believe you can get a special coverage make-up to cover it from Charles Fox make-up shop in Covent Garden.

    • 12th Jan 2011
    • 12
  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    My agent sends me an email after she makes every submission. She has a small stable of actors so its easy.

    An agent who either gets defensive or cagey, or says they don't have time to send out the email of submissions probably isn't making that many.

    • 13th Jan 2011
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  • Deborah Klayman

    Actor

    My previous agent was like that, which is why I looked for a new one! The relationship with your agent should work both ways and you shouldn't feel bad about contacting them - mine calls to ask if clients are ok if she hasn't heard from us in ages!

    On a slightly different note, apprently Spotlight are trialing a change to their agent submission system whereby actors would also see casting breakdowns and can then check with their gent that they've been put up for roles. Obviously you wouldn't want to bother them about every one, but then you could know what's available and nudge for jobs you think you are really well suited to, or low pay things you are still interested in that your agent might not immediately think you would want to do. Not sure when that'll be generally available, but if your agent uses Spotlight (and let's face it they should) you should be hearing about it soon.

    debs ;-)

    • 20th Jan 2011
    • 14
  • User Deleted

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    I'd agree with Deborah Madeliene. I have a similar relation with my agent, where he sends me an e-mail as soon as he's sent my submission through. It's a fairly small agency so I suppose I'm quite lucky, but you should be able to feel you can call your agent if you have any concerns or queries otherwise you're always gonna feel that you're burdening them. Possibly what I can suggest is ask if you can meet up regularly or if you could call once a week, they are representing you after all.

    • 20th Jan 2011
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