Imagine the scenario.
Your acting career really seems to be taking off; you’re getting auditions, booking work, and seem to have a great relationship with your agent.
Then, out of the blue, you receive an e-mail that is similar to this…
‘… This is your 30 day notice for termination of your contact. I wish you all the best with your future endeavours…’
You have two choices here.
You can e-mail back asking what you’ve done wrong, plead with them to change their mind and try to figure out ‘why, oh why’ they have ditched you, declare your acting career is over and then go cry into a massive tub of Ben & Jerry’s.
Or you can send back a polite e-mail acknowledging receipt of your notice, ending your working relationship with professionalism and on good terms, before moving on with a new plan of action.
Which do you think would be the most productive?
It’s easy to let emotions get the better of you in situations like this, but you need to understand that it is not personal. There could be any number of reasons why your agent decided to end your professional relationship, but spending your time and energy trying to work out and guess what it is will only drive you mad.
Instead, accept that they have their reasons, remain calm and professional in your response and thank them for the work they have done for you.
Then… Allow yourself a set amount of time to wallow (hey, you are only human after all!) so go ahead and do what it is you need to do- scream, go crazy with a punchbag or indeed, cry into a massive tub of Ben & Jerry’s. BUT, make a commitment to yourself that it’ll only be for the amount of time you have set yourself, and then you will get on with your next plan of action. What you must not do, under any circumstances, is allow yourself to think for a second that this means the end of your acting career.
When your ‘wallow time’ comes to an end, replace that fear and loss with excitement. Because this is a new beginning. This is a chance for you to aim higher and to find yourself an agent that you can have an even better working relationship with. One who believes in you and who you can team up with to take your career to the next step!
You may even begin to feel grateful to your previous agent now for giving you this kick into action, because isn’t it the truth that you had got comfortable? Everything was moving along nicely but, looking back, you might think there was something missing- that fire you had at the beginning maybe? It’s time to re-ignite the fire and put your next plan of action into place!
The first thing to include in your plan of action is your search for a new agent. It’s important here that you do not hurriedly contact every agent you’ve ever heard of through panic and fear. Take your time to research and to find the ones you feel you would be a good fit with. Look at the other actors they represent and what they have been cast in. Notice other actors who are doing well and look at who they are represented by. Is the kind of work they normally get for their clients in line to where you want to be heading with your career? For example, if you see yourself with a future mainly on screen, but the agent’s clients seem to be booked mainly for stage, they may not be the best fit for you. Look at their websites and social media pages. Do they seem like somebody you would get along well with?
If you are confident that you would be a good fit, then go ahead and contact them.
When contacting a new agent for representation do not, under any circumstances, speak negatively about the agent you have just parted ways with. This is a sure fire way of making sure you are not taken onto their books! Just send an e-mail (unless they specify that they prefer to be contacted a different way- check their website), that is short, sharp and straight to the point letting them know that you are seeking new representation and why you feel you would be a good fit for them. No emotion, no pleas of how much you want this and how passionate you are and no fluffy talk- agents are very busy people, respect their time by getting straight to the point.
It’s possible you could be offered alternative representation very quickly, but on the other hand it could take any length of time, so what can you be doing in the meantime?
Take control of your own career and do everything in your power to be building professional relationships and booking your own roles. Having the right agent will benefit your career tremendously, but I have known instances where an actor has been dropped by their agent, have lifted their game and have actually started booking more work on their own than they did when they were with their agent!
Network, build your own connections, apply for work through Spotlight, through casting sites, and find castings on social media. Create your own work by putting on a show or making a film, build your online presence and get your creative brain into gear to think of more ways that you can be booking those roles.
Take your acting career in your own hands, plan how you will lift your game and then get out there and make it happen!
You weren’t born to be ordinary… You were born to shine!
Eirian Cohen | “I help new actors to fly into the industry like silver bullets. What you believe, you will achieve” | Founder of Northern Star Acting and co-producer of ESG Media, LTD