The BEAR (British Ethical Agents' Register) - Complete the survey, if you've had problems with an Agent...

  • K.c. Flanagan

    Actor

    The BEAR (The British Ethical Agents' Register) is a not-for-profit Register of Talent Agents and Agencies operating ethically in the United Kingdom.

    The BEAR will forever be accessible to the general public at no cost. The BEAR will go live in May or June 2020.

    The purpose of The BEAR is to protect actors, actresses and performers from unscrupulous individuals operating or masquerading as Talent Agents.

    Inclusion on to The BEAR infers that Members are operating ethically in pursuant of their duties when representing talent. Please note, we can never guarantee the good behaviour of any of our Members, nor can we ever be held liable for the behaviour of others.

    Agents seeking admission to The BEAR must be prepared to allow their clients to provide evidence of continuous ethical behaviour and be willing to be called upon to do so at anytime, (including following admission).

    Members must accept that confirmed or suspected incidences of unethical behaviour will or may exclude them temporarily or permanently from membership of The BEAR and result in their details being removed from the Register.

    The survey is here:

    www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Y85G8TP

    • 27th Apr 2020
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  • Mark Lisseman

    Actor

    The survey can be completed anonymously - so you won't know if people fill it out falsely (plus many performers avoid broadcasting bad experiences for fear of 'making waves' and 'getting a bad name'). Is there going to be some other means of submitting agents? Will agents have to ask their clients to provide feedback? Will their clients feel obligated to do so...? Will the agents only ask certain clients - say those they have a particularly good relationship with - to provide feedback...? If an agent isn't a member of BEAR, will that mean they should be avoided at all costs, or might the agent just not have heard of BEAR, or that the agent doesn't want to join (for other reasons)? How will that be dealt with?

    Don't get me wrong, I think this is a good idea but (IMHO) it would need to be a) compulsory and b) have the official stamp of Equity (or even better - Equity should formalise their 'black list' and do this themselves).

    • 27th Apr 2020
    • 1
  • K.c. Flanagan

    Actor

    Thanks for your response Mark. I'll do my best to address each of your questions raised:

    Let me first start by explaining why the survey has been created in the first place - which might go some way in answering some of your points.

    The purpose behind the current survey is to build up a case and point of view for industry organisations by demonstrating there is a need for a Register in the first place. If there is an identified need, then the remedy (or something like a remedy) should be supported. This also goes beyond the industry in terms of The BEAR attracting Charitable status and additional support from other charitable organisations such as 'MIND' or 'CALM' etc.

    If we first identify a proven need/remedy and the objective of The BEAR (being to protect the vulnerable), that in itself increases the chances of garnering support inside and outside of the Industry. But, without 'proof', there is nothing.

    The survey can be completed anonymously because making it so was the lesser of two evils. We were concerned that by making it impossible to complete the survey without giving personal details, some may not wish to complete it at all for fear of retribution from their current agent or even a previous agency.

    Agents will no doubt depend on clients with whom they have a 'good' relationship with to complete the survey and write positive things about them. Therefore, awareness is key. The more aware of The BEAR and the survey all actors are the better. Individuals who believe they do not have a good relationship with their agent can still complete the survey (and definitely should). It's even possible that by completing the survey; the actor/performer may come to the realisation that they should move-on and find better representation.

    Agents/Agencies that do not appear on the Register are by no means unethical. However, if your Agent (for example) does not appear on The BEAR, one might consider asking the question 'Why?' One would hope that any Agent/Agency worth considering would wish to appear on it as a 'kite-mark' of ethical standards - much the same as organisations outside the Industry might wish to appear on a similar Register. The clear benefits to Agents that do appear on The BEAR are obvious.

    I hope that this has helped in some way.

    Thanks for your support and I hope you complete the survey - anonymously or not :)

    • 27th Apr 2020
    • 2
  • K.c. Flanagan

    Actor

    PS. I should also have mentioned that clients stating their Agent is operating ethically does not then naturally result in that Agent being added to the Register. The Agent/Agency will also have to meet 5-key criteria and agree to Terms & Conditions in order to enter onto The BEAR and also, to remain on it. Further details can be found at: www.uk-bear.co.uk

    • 27th Apr 2020
    • 3
  • Mark Lisseman

    Actor

    It's certainly a laudable aim, and much needed (as evidenced by the various FB groups that have been set up purely to flag 'dodgy' agencies, etc). Hopefully with the right amount of publicity it'll be something agents would be keen to sign up to (as the CDG is for casting directors, for instance). I myself am painfully aware of the existence of such agents (my ex-agents are being taken to court by the government after several years of investigation). Hopefully Equity will be able to offer their support to BEAR - that would go a very long way to establishing it as a bona fide entity.

    • 27th Apr 2020
    • 4
  • K.c. Flanagan

    Actor

    Thanks again Mark,

    I'm sorry to read about your previous experience. It would be useful to use whatever information is available (without prejudicing any party) in order to strengthen our claim.

    Equity support is definitely something we're aiming for, along with the PMA, Spotlight, Mandy and others. But in order to do so we must first collate evidence to present as our argument that this unregulated side of our Industry needs to become much more accountable for itself.

    Thanks also for your supportive comments about The BEAR.

    Feel free to get in contact via email at: [email protected]

    Best wishes,

    KC

    • 27th Apr 2020
    • 5