Taking money from work you have found yourself

  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Hello.

    What is everyone's view on agents that take say 10% from theatre work that you have found yourself? I feel I am with a fair agent. What are your views?

    cheers

    scott

    • 22nd Dec 2010
    • 3864
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  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    I think that the situation naturally varies from agent to agent, and some agents will not be interested in taking a cut on material you have sourced yourself, if the money being offered is quite low. If you are being offered a standard Equity rate contract, then they will be far more likely to demand their cut, as the benefit to their own revenue is correspondingly higher. And some agencies do take a cut on all work that is sourced with no exceptions, almost as a matter of principle.

    But there is certainly nothing unusual in this - even if the work was initially sourced by you. 10% rate on theatre is about standard, and tends to be lower than the rate levelled on TV or film - in this, it just reflects business realities, as stage work is paid at far lesser rates than screen work. Naturally, one of the biggest issues involving allowing an agent to take a cut from work you have sourced yourself is that the cut can sometimes eat into your own earnings fairly substantially. It is true that, generally, if an agent negotiates the contract for you, their cut is partially catered for in the initial payment agreement, and doesn't tend to massively downgrade your own earnings. When you have sourced work yourself, often the agency cut is *not* negotiated within the original agreement (some may even be in doubt that you have an agent), and the cut may, as a result, affect your ultimate profit.

    • 15th Dec 2010
    • 1
  • Peter Sheldrake

    Actor

    From the other side of the fence, we do take commission from self generated work. It is true that if the money received by the client is quite low we will waive that fee, however we are working for clients each and every day and have expenses that have to be covered. Comm. is our our source of income (most actors have other jobs, we do not). I fully understand the frustration of someone who does not get an audition for awhile (for what ever reason) then gets a job themselves and then has to pay his 10% to his agent. But, as I explained above, it is the agents income.

    • 16th Dec 2010
    • 2
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    My agent doesn't take commission from work I generate myself. Just another viewpoint. :)

    • 16th Dec 2010
    • 3
  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    Peter, wether you work every day on behalf of your clients or not is quite frankly irrelevant! If you were successfully generating the leads and auditions that get your people work then noone is going to begrudge paying you the commission you deserve! By generating their own leads and auditions which subsequently results in paid work an actor is proving there is work out there which, to be frank, you should be securing on their behalf! We as actors have overheads and expenses to cover too and if we all simply sat on our arses waiting for the phone to ring we'd all be homeless pretty damn quickly!

    My agents job is to get me seen and to coordinate the legals, schedules and payments once successful and I don't begrusge her one penny 'cos she's got me some really decent work over the years! My agent also doesn't charge commission on self generated work as she doesn't feel she's entitled to payment for work she didn't do anything to contribute towards me getting and that, in my humble opinion, is only right and proper!

    My tuppence worth!

    • 17th Dec 2010
    • 4
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I totally understand both viewpoints - as actors we very rarely see a lot of the work that goes on behind the scenes by our agents on our behalf. Agents are a bit like swans - looking all cool and calm and collected, but paddling away like mad under the water!!

    I think a fair way to look at it is: If I find the work myself and negotiate the contract myself my agent wouldn't take a cut; however if I find it myself and then ask her to negotiate fees etc etc then she would take a cut.

    Unlike short films / commercials, I think it's difficult for agents when you take a theatre job which you have found for yourself - as that essentially takes you off their books for a couple of months, which reduces the income they can generate for you and so from you...

    But I think every actor/agent relationship is different and you have to decide that between yourselves.

    Suzanne

    x

    • 17th Dec 2010
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  • Peter Sheldrake

    Actor

    um Forbes totally irelevant eh? Interesting view!!! Good job for my clients I treat such comments with the contempt they deserve.

    • 17th Dec 2010
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  • Dan Gregory

    Actor

    Just a quick point to add. If you are not available your agent is not able to get a commission from you if other work comes up.

    When I was with a co-op we did take commission for all work whether self-sourced or not as it also meant the person concerned was also not able to man the office.

    • 17th Dec 2010
    • 7
  • Hainsley Lloyd Bennett

    Actor

    can see both sides as most do, my agent doesnt take a cut of my self sourced gigs and i personally dont think its right that they do in any scenario unless its a co op or a very big agency who is making lots of money for you anyway.

    • 17th Dec 2010
    • 8
  • Charles Delaney

    Actor

    I have been an agent so can see both sides of this discussion.

    It all depends on how pro-active the agent/client working relationship is altogether;Actor's have operating costs which are just as relevent to agent's.

    It all comes down to the deal agreed by both parties from the outset in my opinion;It's a collaborative assosiation overall & it should be a mutually fair one!

    • 17th Dec 2010
    • 9
  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    Treat my words with contempt if you will, matters not...as contemptuous as they are sometimes perceived to be I stand by them as I always do!

    If an agent takes commission from an actor for self-generated work but hasn't contributed anything towards securing that work where's the incentive for the unscrupulous agent, and we all know they exist, to do anything?

    Work hard or do nothing...both methods seem to generate income for the agent so why choose the more difficult option!

    If only the same could be said for the actor!

    • 18th Dec 2010
    • 10
  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    Sorry Forbes,

    I think you are wrong. I side with Peter. If an agent is submitting you, working hard etc and getting you either seen or in front of the CDs who count, they are doing their job.

    Agents get you SEEN. They cannot give an actor a job. And even the best agents out there cannot guarantee an actor will get seen. The actor gets the job, the agent negotiates, plays good cop/bad cop etc and sorts legal issues and promotes you.

    Its a TEAM effort-

    BUT: if you have gotten a job yourself and pay commission- the agent should be gracious enough to see you in the show and bring a CD with, if possible.

    I'm sure you would agree, Peter.

    • 19th Dec 2010
    • 11
  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    Nope! Peters opinion is that it is the agent's right to demand commission on all self-generated work even though they didn't have any direct involvement with that job and that's where I have the issue! I have absolutely no problems paying commissions to anyone who legitimately contributes in finding and securing me paid work however if my agent hadn't had me seen for months and then came chasing me for commissions for the work I'd got myself we'd be having a much more detailed conversation about why she though she deserved it!

    To say that agents have all the overheads to consider is blatantly incorrect and misleading! When was the last time your agent paid your Spotlight subscription, Equity fee's, travel expenses to attend auditions, drama school and supplementary course fee's, etc.

    I'm well aware that there's no guarantees in this game and yes I fully accept that agents have the administrative overheads to cover but with the right stable of actors behind them any agent worth their salt should be able to generate enough in the way of legitimate commissions in order to make their agency successful. If they can't, then they have to look at the products they are selling ie. the actors, dancers, presenters, etc., and adjust their portfolio accordingly!

    This is a business and a ruthless one at that. We as actors are products to be bought and sold...if you as an actor aren't generating sufficient income for your agent then they are quite at liberty to replace you with someone who will and conversely if your agent isn't working out for you it's time to move on and find someone who will!

    Team effort, absolutely, but if Rooney wasn't scoring goals Fergy would replace him pretty damn quick! Hang on...

    • 19th Dec 2010
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  • Alexander Theodossiadis

    Actor

    My agent is a fair person i advise her on any jobs i am doing and when i am available so there is no conflict of interest. Times are difficult and if you find work to pay your bills, it shows you are an active Actor wanting to move forward.

    • 20th Dec 2010
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  • Mark Kempner

    Actor

    My agent has never taken a commission from me for work I have found. I always keep her informed and up to date. I think taking money from actors for their own work is not right though unless that work clearly came as a result of connected former work from the agent .

    Actors also have masses of overheads and bills to pay. Agents do not pay the actors spotlight. Photos or Showreel fees etc. So I fail to see an argument fir taking commission on jobs the actor has generated unless the instruct the agent to handle the contract etc.

    • 21st Dec 2010
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  • Kali Hughes

    Actor

    This is the industry standard. If you get yourself a theatre job then that's 2 or 3 months you're not available for stuff your agent might want to put you up for. They could be missing out on a potentially lucrative ad campaign because you're tied up in the theatre. Everyone's got to make a buck

    • 21st Dec 2010
    • 15
  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    Just because it's the industry standard does not make it morally and ethically right! I could give you a whole stream of dubious practices in our industry that seem to be standard practice that the EAC and Equity are powerless to stop!

    • 21st Dec 2010
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  • Kali Hughes

    Actor

    Forbes, I'm new to the CCP forum discussion thingy. Would I be safe in assuming you've already done one about headshots (and why they need not conform to industry standards)? :-)

    • 21st Dec 2010
    • 17
  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    The forum is an informal meeting place! I think you'll find my official headshot, as displayed on my profile page, Spotlight, et al, complies perfectly! I'm not a complete maverick! :-)

    • 21st Dec 2010
    • 18
  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    In Forbes's defence on that one, he is absolutely right, to be fair. In fact, I believe, that even though there is a current vogue for defaulting to use of colour headshots on the forums, direct applications still show the standard black and white for preference when the application goes through the CCP system.

    • 21st Dec 2010
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