Paying Commission for self found work

  • Bob Sanderson

    Actor

    Hi Folks,

    I have just auditioned and been offered a place on the books of an agent. Having read their terms and conditions I see that they want me to pay them a commission on work that I find for myself, albeit at a reduced rate. As a matter of principal I will thank them and decline (I'm so polite).

    My concern is that this might be standard practice and that I will hit this barrier every time I try to get an agent. It sounds a good deal for them because I already have regular TIE and other bread an butter work that is money in the bank for them and of course thay can guarantee me nothing.

    Is this common practice?

    • 1st Jul 2005
    • 2271
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  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I am afraid it is as far as I know!

    But congratulations on getting offered representation. As if that is not hard enough in the first place eh?!

    H x

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 1
  • Mark Joseph

    Actor

    Indeed it is.

    You are their client, and they cannot put you up for anything while you are doing this work, so they feel it is fair enough to take commission on self-gained stuff.

    The percentage is usually lower though, so youwon't lose as much.

    Mark.

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 2
  • Bob Sanderson

    Actor

    Thanks Helen, what a business eh! I'm also a musician and in that arena you can have as many agents as you like, none of whom want sole representation or take a commision other than on work they find, acting is obviously a whole different world from a business perspective

    regards

    Bob

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 3
  • Bob Sanderson

    Actor

    Thanks Mark,thats how I read their terms, they say 50% of the normal commision rate is payable for self found work i.e between 5 and 7.5% dependant on work type.And their reasoning is exactly as you say.On that basis though I would not be available when I am performing with my band so would they expect a cut of that?. I would also not be available when I am producing coprporate videos?, would they also expect a cut of that. If that is the case I could see me paying them far more than they get for me

    regards

    Bob

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 4
  • Augustine Flint-Hartle

    Actor

    Hi,

    Just to let you know I know of a number of agencys that do not ask for commission for work you find yourself, i think this is a relatively new practice.

    I see agents like a pa/co-ordinator & advisors (my words), they should be constantly representing you, sending you up for jobs, taking calls for you and scheduling diaries. They also deal with your contracts, payments which can be quite time consuming. I think if an agent does all this they are worth their weight in gold.

    ooh plus get you fantastically well paid gigs (still waiting on this one) :)

    Augustine xx

    • 1st Jun 2006
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  • Augustine Flint-Hartle

    Actor

    Agencys as in Agents/ Personal Management etc

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 6
  • Bob Sanderson

    Actor

    Thanks Augustine,

    The nice thing about Casting Call Pro is that you get a broad view of the business, I appreciate your thoughts

    regards

    Bob

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 7
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I'm sorry to appear dense (!) but 50% commission-does this mean if you get a job that for example, pays £300 a week, you have to give them £150 of it every week?

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 8
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Nooooo. 50% off their normal commission of 10-20 % of you earnings if you find work yourself.

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 9
  • Bob Sanderson

    Actor

    Hi Oscardarling,

    No, what they are saying is 50% of the normal commision rate i.e if you did a film for them they would take 15% commision, but if you found a film part for yourself they would expect you to pay them 7.5 % commision of your gross earnings for that gig.

    At present I have an agent who specialises in Extra and walk on work. A very professional agency who only take a commision on work found. From time to time they have found me speaking roles in Corporate videos and TV documentaries as a principal. I have a good relationship with this agency but feel that they are probably not best placed to take my TV and film ambitions much further into principal roles, hence the recent audition. I would like to continue to work with my current agent as I have been pleased with the opoortunities so far and as I say I have a good friendly relationship and in my book that counts for a lot, but I find it strange (based on experience of my music agents)that You are expected to have only one agent representing your interests.

    I suppose that coming from a business/sales background I am used to being a door kicker and do not have an expectation of waiting by the phone for an agent to call, when thay do that's fine but in the meantime I am set up to find or make my own work.

    regards

    Bob

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 10
  • Lewis Harwood

    Actor

    Hi bob,

    As far as I'm aware it is common practice, usually the agents that don't are within the first few years of being set up as they have extra laws to abide by. A highly reputable agent explained to me another reason was that it was because at times when you may not be working, they will still be working to promote you even if the results are unfruitful. Therefore it is paying for all their work that goes unnoticed. Obviously the more reputable the agent, the more you know that the money is actually going to benefit you... and I suppose the more you work, the more your name crops up and the more likely they are to think of you when auditions arise.

    Who are the agency? Turning them down may not be the wisest move, depending on their successes.

    And Oscardarling...50%, thats crazy!! hehe.

    Hope this helps

    --

    Lewis

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 11
  • Bob Sanderson

    Actor

    Hi Lewis,

    thanks for your comments. they are a new launch agency, starting business in September of this year. Currently they are trading in other media based areas and do seem very professional and have a track record of success in their current business's.

    I think you are right this is a good opportunity, but I must think long and hard as to where I want to be. I am used to being my own master and have produced a regular income over the last three years working regularly in performance work and production, hence the thought of paying commission on work that I have worked hard to build up goes very much against the grain.

    If i'm honest I think the service's they offer in addition, such as show reel production, website, CV etc are of no interest to me, as I produce my own being into video production myself. Therefore my expectation is that the service I require, is for for an agency with contacts to point casting directors to my casting call pro /spotlight page, arrange an audition and for that take a reasonable commision. I'm probably nieve (and a bad speller) but thats the service I get from my current agent and music agents. But its a great help using you guys as a sounding board-thanks

    regards

    bob

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 12
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Hi Bob,

    I like you have spent my entire professional life sourcing my own work and being very successful at it, however I think there does come a time, as with literary agents, that some producers and directors will not give you a second look if you have no representation. And you can not get away with sending your details to Cameron Mackintosh for example hoping he is in a good mood!

    If you feel a good bond with your new agent and have discussed your career path and where you want to be, then bite the bullet! Agents are crucial if you want to go places.

    H x

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 13
  • Bob Sanderson

    Actor

    Helen you are right, I must now decide if I want to play with the big boys or plod along paddling my own canoe. A big decision.I value your comments

    regards

    Bob

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 14
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Thanks guys! I pretty much figured that what I said COULDN'T be right, but I wasn't sure what it meant so thanks for your help! (I did warn you I was having a dense moment!)

    • 1st Jun 2006
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  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    Its a traditional thing. Agents get commission for all work not sourced..there are agents who dont do this, but they figure that if you use tier name, and you are paying them in effect for each sub,ission they make and they are desrvimg of it,..it is the way it is unfortunately....I would also check out www.talentroom.com and read up there...it may help you.

    • 1st Jun 2006
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  • Bob Sanderson

    Actor

    thanks Blake, appreciate your comments

    • 1st Jun 2006
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  • Joseph Mitchell

    Actor

    Hi Bob,

    After a year of working for walk-on agencies (outside London)to pay my way through Uni, I have been lucky enough to find an agent in London that will represent me. One of the questions that I had for them was reference to self solicited work. They said that I would not pay commision for work generated by myself, although I do see your agent's point. My argument is that if they worked hard enough for you, you would not have to generate your own gigs, or is that a tad naive?

    Good luck and stay busy

    Regards

    Joe

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 18
  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    Think of it from this angle..., as many agent really DO work hard and do thier bit for actors, but theres a world of difference between a lazy agents who doesnt submit and an agent who submits, chases up etc and nags them to see you ...many agents do work hatrd, but cant make a casting directr see you if they UTTERLY REFUSE. In thsi regard, it is understandable if they want comisiion, but agents cant get an actor a job, they are just there to get you seen and put your name forward where you could not do it on your own.

    As strange as it may seem, agents are not gods. Although us actors seem to treat them like this...

    • 1st Jun 2006
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