Tips for working with your agent
by Scott Powers, Scott Powers Studios, NY
1. Have at least two ways to contact you, so there is a back up. Make sure the agent has these primary and secondary options for you. These are good choices to use: a cell phone, iPhone, Blackberry, texting and still a land line. Be able to receive a message withing 30 minutes of it being sent or called to you , and get back to the agent within 30 minutes.
2. Have a pen and paper handy. Have an extra pen handy just in case your first pen runs out of ink.
3. If you agent leaves you a message, listen to the message first, and then call back immediately! It could be a matter of a booking or at least a potential booking. Also keep in mind, some agents may call 10 actors for 5 audition slots. The first 5 that call back get the audition. Point made.
4. When getting back to your agent, when the agency’s phone is picked up, say: “This is ‘so-and-so’ returning ‘so-and-so’s’ call regarding a casting (for whatever). Saves a lot of needless questioning on their part to you.
5. Make sure you write the information down, and then repeat back the information that the agent gives you. This will confirm all the information. And always have a subway and street map with you. And a well-fed Metro card.
6. Make sure you have your date book or Blackberry/iPhone with you. Check the dates that they ask you about. There is nothing more annoying then an actor saying there are available for something and then call back and say they are not.
7. If you are multi listed, know who represents you.
8. If you are going out of town on vacation or whatever, make sure your agent knows this. Book yourself out.
9. Make sure you sign in the correct agent at a Go-See or Audition. You should sign in the one who called you first and gave you all the information. If you accept the casting and take the information down and then sign in another agent you are just causing problems. You may end up paying two commissions if you book the job, or loose both agents.
10. Dress appropriately for a casting. You will have a better chance of getting the job. If an agent does not give you the information about the dress and you are questioning it, ask them what to wear. That is part of their job.
11. DO NOT BE LATE! Do not be late for a Casting, an appointment with your agent or a job. Always take into account late trains, traffic jams, and that unexpected buffalo stampede down Park Avenue. If you are going to be late for an appointment with your agent, call them. If they can’t see you later, don’t be upset. Ask them if you could reschedule. If you are going to be late for a casting, do not call the Casting Director direct. Get your agent to call for you. Never be late for a booking!
12. Re-inventing yourself? Changing your look? Hair? Weight? Overall look? LET YOUR AGENT KNOW! And be sure to update your head shots to reflect the latest you, and make sure anything that is on a website is also updated.
13. An agent is one part of a professional marriage. You are the other part. To make any marriage work, requires work on both sides. Work to develop a harmonious relationship. In doing so, however, please keep in mind that these are very busy people, spending time hopefully getting you opportunities to work. Do not unnecessarily spend their time (and yours) when on the phone with them on unnecessary details- life’s story, the subway, the ailing gerbil, etc. Being succinct (but friendly) with your conversations with them will earn you great things being said about you- and being thought of more often!
14. Respect. Agents should respect you and you should respect those who work for you. Contrary to belief, agents are human, too. Agents have feelings too.
15. A companion to respect should always have a great attitude with everyone. It will get you much further in the business.
16. Do not lose sight of the fact that your agent works for free-until an actor they submit books the job. So be nice to them!
17. Finally, keep in mind we are all in the same boat: agents, actors, casting directors, managers. We are here to serve the client bu providing the best talent available – and that is you!