The 5 P’s To A Productive Agent Relationship

Founders Jodie Bentley and Kevin Urban have taken their combined 20+ years of experience in acting, marketing, branding, and sales, to create the first and only guide that puts every career tool the actor needs in one place. Their mission is to empower actors to think like small business owners by creating and implementing an effective business plan, branding their unique product, and developing marketing strategies that get them noticed and in the door; ultimately merging career and life into one of abundance and success. They want actors to become successful, savvy business people, empowered with the skills necessary to compete in the biz today.

This is an excerpt from The Savvy Actor Career Manual

The Secret to an Ideal Relationship with Your Agent

At some point an actor will inevitably begin their search to get an agent. Many actors look at the agent relationship as the be?all and end?all. Really, that’s when the work begins, but on a different level.

When an actor gets an agent, we often find that one of two things happen:

1. They’re at a loss as to how to proceed.

2. They rely too much on the agent, and stop their own self?promotion.

Both of these can hurt the agent relationship.

At the Savvy Actor we have created the Five P’s to a Productive Agent Relationship to help you unlock the secret to building the ideal relationship with your agent.

1. Proper Setup of Relationship

The first step, mainly with legit representation, is making sure they agree with what you sell. This is why packaging and aligning your brand is so important. If you have done all your branding homework and know where you fit in the industry, and they agree, then the relationship will thrive.

In beginning any business relationship, setting up proper communication is vital. Do they prefer email, phone, or dropping by? If there is a project you’re right for, how should you communicate that? These are important questions to answer because if you establish the communication style upfront you never have to second?guess or worry when contacting them. When you do contact your agent, it must be for a reason – not just to check in.

2. Peer and Partner Thinking

Your relationship with your agent is a business partnership, it’s not a time to be passive! Remember, they only get 10% commission. It is your job to do 90% of the work. It’s your career, not theirs.

Think of them as a peer, not an authority figure; ask for what you want and need without fear. Being afraid of your agents is not the way to have a relationship. When you come from a place of fear, you are not being your authentic self. It’s harder to function in a productive way.

3. (Be) Proactive

You’ve got to be proactive with your agents. This means filling them in on what’s going on in your career and giving them the tools to sell you.

Tools that “sell” you would be:

  • Feedback you get in the room when you audition.
  • When someone you know is directing/casting/producing/musical directing/ writing a project.
  • Casting directors who know you and what they’ve said about you.
  • Maintaining and updating information on your website and submission sites.

4. Professionalism and ‘Preciation

You are a small business owner, and it’s of the utmost importance to be professional. Actors tend to complain about their agent situations – whether they don’t have one or they feel their agent isn’t working with them. A small business owner would not complain but rather take steps to fix it. If you treat your agent with professionalism, they will do the same.

‘Preciation or gratitude is the key in maintaining relationships and being professional. Thanking your agent for negotiating contracts and getting you in for auditions is just good business practice. Thank you’s are a must.

5. Position of Trust

When you start working with an agent in a freelance or signed capacity, both parties are really saying,“ I trust you to do your job.“ The actor must trust that they are being submitted, and the agent must trust that you are doing your best work in the room and being professional.

Yet, agents hear these words countless times ?“Can you submit me for this?” What actors don’t realize, is by asking this question they are basically saying, “I don’t think you did your job, so I have to check up on you.” There’s a big difference between saying, “Can you submit me for this?” and “ I’m sure you submitted me, but I’m very interested in this project” or “I’m sure you submitted me, I just wanted to let  you know the director knows my work.” By demonstrating trust, your relationship will be based on a foundation of respect and, inevitably, grow.

Use these five P’s and you are guaranteed to create a successful, savvy partnership with your agent.

1 Comment

  1. Dana Kaminski

    April 27, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    I liked this topic and article. I, myself, found that so much of relationship-with-agent and type of relationship with agent really depended on two things:

    1. The agent. Some agents love you coming in, unannounced, and hanging out. Really, just comin by and socializing. (Rare, but true!) Many agents, on the other hand, consider most input by actors a real bother, and interruption.

    Those agents regard their job, their office space even, as very professional and “off-limits”. To call and ask to be submitted is akin to insulting them. Interfering, and annoying them.

    THere are even some agents that don’t want to know if they forgot to submit you for an audition, even in the rare case that they do. For the most part, they regard such calls from actors out-of-line, mostly because they either:
    a.Didn’t submit an actor (you) because they didn’t think you were right
    b. Didn’t submit you because they aren’t interested in promoting you that hard, and the casting person wasn’t interested; or they have other favorites within the agency that are more right on, or that they want to push before they push you.
    c. They aren’t interested in submitting you. Either the ‘pot has gone cold’ (maybe you gave a string of so-so auditions lately); or they never really liked you, but their associate/s really do.

    In all of the above: a,b, and c, they aren’t gonna turn around and submit you, just because you call them about it (or call them on it, rather).

    2. Relationship dynamic.
    So much of an actor’s (you) specific relationship with their agent, really has to do with personality match.

    Oh yes, there’s a number 3. If you are doing well, and a big success, you can call your agent and ask to play the King Of Siam…even if you are female, African American, and speak only French. They will consider you for the part, and kiss your butt during the phone call.

    If you are brand new, you can call and ask them to get you an audition to play the King Of Siam. But even if you were born in Thailand, are Asian, and truly are from the King’s Dynasty–they won’t give you the time of day.

    (It’s a lead, silly. Which is what they won’t say, but they will hang up, mad; because you wasted their time.)

    [Hmm… I like this comment. Think I’ll post this on my blog….!

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