How to… work with your agent
1. It is a partnership
I have been an actor for more than 20 years, but also had the ‘behind the scenes tour’ of being an agent. It’s important to recognise that as the actor you should not be waiting for your agent to provide all the answers. If you work, you get paid and therefore the agent does. If you don’t, the agent doesn’t. Your agent will be busy and may not have the time to have phone calls to discuss ‘So… anything happening for me?’ Instead, book a meeting or send an email. Observe the cues about the agency’s ethos and schedule (Mondays are always manic, for example) so you can plan accordingly.
2. Tell the agent about you, the actor
The more your agent knows about you, the better – and not things like “I had a terrible journey to my audition”. It needs to be all about you: your skills, your quirks, the party tricks that impress your mates, your family history and background. Basically what makes you, you. This begins from the first meeting – use it wisely so you can work together effectively. Don’t use the time to whinge about a previous agent. That’s a big no-no.
3. Take action
If your agent offers advice or makes a request, take note and take action. Is it time to get some new headshots? Start saving and set a date. Need to update your CV? Log into Spotlight and spruce it up. Want to attend a workshop? Get it booked and be amazing. You would be surprised how many actors ignore advice from their agent, so take the opportunity to be different, stand out and be exceptional.
Nicky Raby, actor, coach, speaker and writer of a regular column for Surviving Actors and the book Be Ready for Your Lucky Break, was talking to John Byrne
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