A Word Or Two On Agents
It's been a long time since my last post. Hope you've been well since last we connected! Things suddenly got busy and I got side-tracked from the monthly blogging (for good reasons), which I have to admit has been a bit of challenge to keep up with. Honestly, I don't know where my fellow colleagues (you guys and gals) get the time to sit down and write.
At any rate, I'm back with another goodie from a couple of weeks ago, which was originally posted on my other FUN blog, "Voice of Wisdom", where you can find more scandalous material, including a by-invitation only private 24 hour web-cam, me doing funny things with a mic, and photos of my latest adventures in bars across Manhattan---No, in all seriousness, it's just another more active blog on which you can find inspirational quotes or one-liners from the biz, voice over educational videos or previously voiced commercials by myself or a colleague, articles and more. Be sure to stop by there too.
So, Welcome Back..
It recently dawned on me that in today’s ridiculously competive market, many working voice talents have multiple agents advocating their work across the country. A good majority of them are non-union and non-exclusive (meaning they are free to submit to as many other agencies as they'd like—well, provided they’re not all for the same audition) Perhaps some dabble in the occasional “union” job and everyone on their roster jumps at the opportunity to audition. Some also don’t. Because they’re happy just doing non-union work. And that shouldn’t be a problem.
Regardless, it is always a good idea to examine the relationship you have with all of your current representatives. At one point or another you have to ask yourself the following questions:
Are they sending you out for the right material?
Are they updating their website with your current demos?
Do they use (or not use) discretion when sending out home auditions? More specifically, do they just bombard you with mass material that doesn’t always suit you?
Now I can recall my fair share of “African American 50+ deep resonant voice a la Morgan Freeman or Dennis Haysbert" emails and when I immediately hit the delete button or emailed my agent asking what was up. On the contrary, I’m sure some talent think “Why not? What have I got to lose?” even if they’re not right for it.
But here’s the thing.
Wouldn’t you rather be selective and not jeopardize your current relationship with an agent by going half-assed on a project and risk them not taking you or your work seriously? You should never do something you’re not comfortable with. A good agent knows what you’re right for and doesn’t blindly send you material that’s incompatible. Or take it personal. (we’re getting to that)
And then of course you have to be careful of the “old timers”, someone who has an overall antiquated idea of how the business works based on their “experience” during the Golden Age of Voice Over. Most likely they haven’t adjusted to the current industry climate or take issue with everything under the sun— the infrequency of union jobs ("those damned celebrities"), online casting sites, self-marketing voice talents stepping on toes etc. Someone who creates a scene when you turn something down. Someone who refuses to honor your being mindful of all the jobs you audition for. If your agent keeps hassling you that any job is good because it’s financially and mutually beneficial. Everyone has their reasons but, to take the non-union world as an example, there is a difference between a $500 National TV Buyout and a $20,000 one. And I'm sure more sizeable amounts as well.
At any rate, it’s probably time to re-examine that relationship. Is it helping or hurting you? And do you believe everything this person says because they’re more experienced than you? Just because they think they know what’s best for you and them, doesn’t mean they’re right. They could just be getting in your way.
And when that said agent/agency then takes all your decisions personally and severs the relationship after you politely decline to read for something because of common occurrences in today’s market like:
Your other rep got it to you faster
The pay is too low
The specs aren't right (it's too much of a stretch even if you tried)
Or you just don't feel a connection to the material
….it is probably time to move on anyways. Another door is bound to open. Know that you are talented, business savvy and resourceful no matter what you do. Their loss. NEXT!
Thanks for taking the time to read.
Have a fabulous weekend and stay in trouble!