Agent Common Sense
In today’s 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 you are free to submit to as many other agencies as you’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. Ask yourself the following questions:
Are they sending you out for the right material?
Are they updating their website with your current demos? (Past agencies I’ve worked with complain it’s “too much money and time to add new reels”)
Or do they not use discretion when home auditions are sent out via email? Meaning they just bombard you with mass material that doesn’t always suite you.
Now I’ve certainly gotten my fair share of “African American 50+ deep resonant voice a la Morgan Freeman or Dennis Haysbert” and hit the DELETE button. 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 paucity of union jobs, online 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. “This is good money for us! We cannot turn this down!” And I’m sure 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. Once I auditioned for a project with a nearly $200K buyout. You’ll know.
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 drops you from representation after you politely decline to read for something because of common occurrences in today’s market like:
1.) Your other rep got it to you faster
2.) The pay is too low
3.) The specs aren’t right (it’s too much of a stretch for you even if you tried)
4.) Or you 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!