Leaving an agent

  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    A friend of mine is looking to leave their agent. the big question is should they look for another agent whilst still with their old agent or just leave the old agent and hope for the best???

    • 16th Dec 2009
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  • Feargus Woods Dunlop

    Actor

    When I left my former agent, it was all very amicable. We had a chat about why things weren't working and both left it open to a possible return. I gave myself a couple of months cooling off period and then I was going to set about finding a new agent. In the two months I got myself quite a few auditions and landed a couple of roles. Since then I've stayed self-represented and in complete control of my exposure and this Christmas I'll be celebrating my second straight year of soley acting-earned income.

    My advice to your friend would be, talk about why he is not satisfied and what could be done. If he is not happy with the solutions politely leave the partnership and see what else is out there for him.

    • 13th Dec 2009
    • 1
  • Law Ballard

    Actor

    Think it depends on whether they have got any work from their agent or are likely to? And whether they have a communicative relationship with them?

    If it's clear the relationship is not working then I am not sure there is any point staying.

    I am not sure having an agent will attract another?

    If they do decide to leave, make sure they check their contract, there maybe a notice period needed to be given.

    • 13th Dec 2009
    • 2
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Ive always been told its best to speak to the agent and explain you may be seeking new representation (if nothing can be sorted between the two of them first).

    It comes back to the age old situation where this buisness is so small and agents will talk to each other, so the last thing your friend would want it is an interested agent calling his current one to ask what they are like, only for the current one to get annoyed and relay this, and for the prospective agent to decide your friend has been unprofessional.

    This happened to a guy who was with my old agent and he ended up losing both agents.

    Hope that helps! x

    • 14th Dec 2009
    • 3
  • Jenna Sharpe

    Actor

    At the risk of hijacking the thread I have another agent related question.

    I was wondering how often an actor should phone their agent? I am one of these people that tends to assume that if they have something for me they will call and I don't want to bother them but maybe I am being way too polite.

    How often do you guys phone your agents? Are we talking daily, weekly, monthly? If you call regularly what is it you are usually calling about or do you just call when you have not heard anything from them in a while, to remind them you still exist?

    The reason I ask is someone told me a lot of the actors in their agency phone them daily in the mornings to discuss the castings on Spotlight. This seemed a bit excessive to me but perhaps I am wrong.

    Jen

    • 14th Dec 2009
    • 4
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Regards to Jen's point - that's a question I often wonder myself...also, better to call rather than e-mail or the other way round? Mine's a bit scary on the phone! Lovely in real life - but definitely scary on the phone.

    • 14th Dec 2009
    • 5
  • Toni Brooks

    Actor

    I hardly ever phone mine and she never contacts me. When I do call her she says she's put me up for things but she doesn't say what and I don't get a breakdown at all. I'm not really happy with the situation and am going to call her to see where we're at.

    • 14th Dec 2009
    • 6
  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    Jenna: I think your basic feelings on this point are correct. It is absolutely true that any agent worth his/her salt will make sure you are contacted as quickly as possible if there is something in the offing that concerns you, because, of course, they need you to make the audition in order for them to secure a return. They are never going to leave you in the dark if there is something on offer.

    But, equally, if there isn't, there is not really time in the day to be worrying about contacting any clients who are *not* being offered work just at the moment apropos of nothing whatsoever. So agents get in contact when they need to.

    How often the actor should contact the agent is a different question. I think this rather depends on the relationship between actor and agency - some are based on a much more personalised and one-to-one relationship between agent and client, and some setups (particularly the larger ones) are rather faceless, which does alter the ease with which this sort of rapport can be struck. Generally, though, it is most useful, in my opinion, to contact the agent when there is something of significance to be mentioned to them. Again, what you can 'get away' with revealing is dependent on the attitude that your agency/agent holds towards you, but, amongst other things, I speak to my agent to tell him about any problems with availability I may have in a coming work period, to alert him to any work I have done (with his blessing) independent of work he has secured me which he might be interested in seeing/promoting/showing to interested employers, to keep him up to date on things like new headshots and showreel development, to mention any castings that I have seen that I think suit me in order to doublecheck that these breakdowns have been addressed by the office, and so on. This all sounds very businesslike, but it all allows very powerful incentives to talk directly to an agent about issues that are arising and affecting your career, to demonstrate your professionalism, to remind your agent of your commitment to their work, and to help them (hopefully) promote you more effectively. The agent may not have masses of time to deal with this, but they will not consider that the time is wasted discussing such things either.

    On the other hand, I tend to discuss this most effectively with my agent via email, rather than directly on the phone - tending to phone the office only when something has arisen directly in response to the agent's phoning me previously. Luckily, my agent is very email responsive, even to the extent of being happy to cut and paste from his database of Spotlight applications made on my behalf in, say, the past month, and sending me an attachment so I can review these for myself. Not all agents/agency are, perhaps, so accomodating. But email is often preferable - for the simple reason that an agent can deal with it on his/her terms, as and when they need to, rather than feeling pressured to deal with enquiries or details as and NOW, which tends to be the result with phone calls. Some clients have agreements with their agents that they put aside applications for, say, the first hour of the working day, and this is the time for the client to ring the agent if they wish to touch base with them. All of these kinds of arrangements can be useful for reassuring the actor that the agent is working hard on their behalf and, if work is drying up, it's not for want of trying - and they tend to be based on personalised agreements. It is worth canvassing your agent/agency on what their attitudes towards these kinds of setups are if you don't already know it, because they may be more prepared to 'keep you in the loop' than you realise - provided that you play in accordance with a set of rules they are allowed to specify. Often, this should be something you should try and establish with the agency before you even sign with them - most agents know whether they are prepared to field calls, emails etc. etc. long before they agree to take you on.

    As to ringing *every* day for the Spotlight applications - I imagine that it could work for some actors if the agents are prepared to reel off these details, and if it helps them to keep in touch with their agent - but it strikes me as excessive, not least because knowing these details is hardly relevant in itself - anything that secures an audition you are bound to get alerted to, anyway. The benefits of it are: to remind the agent of your commitment to the agency, and to get feedback on how hard the agent is working for you. Still and all, I don't think every actor is put up for something every single day of the year, and I also think it is just as simple to get this kind of information at intervals - for example, I can obtain lists of Spotlight applications made on my behalf with dates of application appended when I ask for it, and I ask for it sporadically, say after a month or two has gone by since I've seen the last one. That seems more than adequate to me.

    One final point is that, if you are afraid to *ever* ring up the agency office, for fear of being bawled out, or are actually at risk of being criticised over the phone for having had the *audacity* to ring, you are undoubtedly with the wrong agent. Most agents won't have much to say to you if you are ringing for no good reason, and, even if you have a good reason, they may be so harried that they will listen briefly, take down what you've said, and then promise to be in touch soon (i.e. give you short shrift), but you should not be in a situation where your own agent doesn't even want to give you the time of day - that's just wrong.

    • 14th Dec 2009
    • 7
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    My agent phones me every week with an update on things he has put me up for. Sometimes I will randomly phone him about something in particular and its always welcomed. I actually believe ( and I may be wrong) that a good personal relationship with my agent is essential and enables us to discuss things with a candour that gets results.

    I'm actually meeting my agent this week for a festive pint or two.

    • 15th Dec 2009
    • 8
  • Mark Kempner

    Actor

    To answer the original question!

    Unless you are under contract, you are perfectly entitled to better yourself by finding or seeking another agent whilst still under representation from your old agent.

    The important thing is to be polite and businesslike, and if you do get a new agent, to let your original agent know when and why you wish to leave them. You may find a conversation ensues that you should have had in the first place!!

    As long as its understood all round you wish to move on and keep any existing commissions payments with the agent who got the job in the first place, what is to worry about?

    I think agents understand their actors may seek better representation from time to time....that's life!

    the one thing from this thread that shines through......is respect your agent, but never be frightened of your agent...... after all....they work for you don't they!

    As for social contact etc…..nice to be friendly, but for me, an agent that has so much time on their hands as to be able to chat with all their clients regularly would worry me, that they have too much time on their hands!! Just a thought!!!

    • 15th Dec 2009
    • 9
  • Renee Castle

    Actor

    Always an awkward thing! I think it's best to discreetly approach new agents while still represented. At meetings, avoid slagging off your old agent, and stick to justifiable, professional reasons for seeking new representation

    • 15th Dec 2009
    • 10
  • Daniel Jude Gennis

    Actor

    Oddly enough a friend who is also an actor called me to ask me this precise question. He was with more than one agent and was not getting any work from any of them. I think (though not sure,) that these three or four agents were on his Spotlight page and none of them were specialist agencies (e.g. Voice-overs, Commercials etc.), to which I told him I felt he had too many agencies on his spotlight page, all doing the same thing, which may well be why he was not getting anywhere because if a Casting Director or anyone else looks at his Spotlight Page, who do they contact?

    My advice to him was to break free of all them and make a clean start but before he does that, find himself a new agent first, then leave.

    Another issue he had was he doesn't have an online presence other than Spotlight and this is another of his woes he has so far failed to address. Agents can only do so much but we as actors have to market ourselves also.

    To answer the original question. How you leave your agent, depends on what kind of relationship you have with them. If you are not getting any auditions/work via them, if you have very little contact with them, never have a conversation on any level, then my answer is just move on.

    • 15th Dec 2009
    • 11
  • Jenna Sharpe

    Actor

    I never really understood why agents should take a cut of work you have found yourself. There is no way I would find that acceptable unless maybe they made the initial introduction or something. Or I was earning so much money I'd give them a % as a gesture of good will LOL.

    I guess it is when you start dealing with clients that your agent has worked with previously that it becomes less black and white. But very often it is the client's choice to subvert the agency and contact actors directly. In which case should you feel obligated to

    cut your agent in if this is the way clients want to do business? Hmm ethical dilemma.

    • 15th Dec 2009
    • 12
  • Helen Belbin

    Actor

    Hi Jenna,

    The reason that an agent can justifiably take a cut of work you find yourself is because while you're doing that work you're not free for any castings they might be getting you.

    Some agents don't take a cut or take a smaller percentage in this case but many will take the full amount.

    If you have a good relationship with your agent and feel that they're putting you up for lots of work - you probably won't mind this too much, especially if they're doing campaigns for you and trying to get CDs to come see the show.

    Hx

    • 16th Dec 2009
    • 13