Welcome everyone, to Ask Bob Blume – a weekly visual column with summary discussing issues pertinent to the entertainment industry and appearing exclusively here on Times Square Chronicles (T2Conline.com).
I am your host President of Step Forward Entertainment, a Talent Management and Production company located in both New York and Los Angeles.
This column is also a benefit for The Actors Fund Covid 19 relief effort. actorsfund.org/stepforward if you are able to donate they are most grateful to accept your donation which is used to help out eligible members of the entertainment community as a stimulus while in the pandemic.
In my career, I have been both a union and non-union actor, a stage manager, a theater manager, a longtime producer and talent manager who did and did not submit like an agent. Thus, I am uniquely qualified to speak about today’s topic in column #48:
Challenges to the Actor-Representative Relationship, which will deal with some the problems encountered between the Actor and their Representative (whether agent or manager) and the issues they face together in making the actor successful and staying together as a team.
In its simplest terms, for an actor to be successful in any facet of the entertainment industry they need to be represented by an agent and/or a manager.
In theory, the agent tries to get the actor jobs and builds their career. The talent manager is the actor’s guide, consultant and advisor, while working together with the actor and the agent.
The lines get blurred when experienced and recognized talent managers are vetted to submit the actor for jobs, acting like an agent. This is necessary when the actor cannot get an agent, or the manager is recognized to have strong relationships with the casting offices, and the agent looks upon the manager’s submitting as a help, not a detriment.
To work together in tandem, “the team” (the agent/manager relationship with the actor and each other) must be harmonious. In my opinion, an actor with this type of team has the best chance of ‘making it.”
One of the biggest challenges facing “the team” is that each member can do their job perfectly, but if the actor does not book the job there in no reward despite the effort.
The reasons for this can be one or more of the following:
- The sheer number of actors vying for the role (1500 average in NY; 4000 average in LA)
- Those actors chosen to audition for roles on major Union TV, film, commercials and theatre usually have extensive credits, so being chosen may come down to factors other than talent, i.e. type, height, hair color, looks resembling the other actors chosen, etc.
- Personality shown at auditions
- Reputation within the industry
- Strength of resume which inspires trust or lack of trust to producers, directors, CDs
Another challenge facing the team is the patience or lack there of by any of its members.
“The team” must understand the current status of the actor with respect to how well known he/she is, their reputation, amount of training, the strength of their resume, in order to understand the time needed to get the actor auditions and other opportunities. When one member is illogical regarding their current status, it can cause a rift.
Other challenges to the relationship are:
- An actor who gets an abundant opportunities, but has a very low ‘booking quotient’ (% of bookings against auditions) may lose the faith of the representative and without a convincing argument may be dropped by representative.
- A representative who does not get the actor enough opportunities, may have the actor wanting to end that relationship.
- Should an actor feel that their career is not moving fast enough (with good reason or not), they could blame both the manager and/or the agent.
However, more often than not, it is the actor’s impatience and the thought that they are more important to the industry than they are, which leads to the splitting up of “the team.”
Ultimately, ‘the team’ that will have a successful working relationship possess’ these qualities:
- Both the actor and the representative(s) continue to evolve which makes the team stronger in all areas
- An actor who achieves some success, should remember that the representative, whose sweat equity (hard work with little pay) got them the opportunities and not succumb to the wooing by larger companies promising them the world if they leave their current rep to join them. “The grass is always greener on the other side” syndrome. Note: smaller agencies normally work harder for you and are more personal.
- The representative continues to move the actor forward in their career and not just hold on.
- They all must have great respect, if not love, for the other. It helps if they all like each other as they go through the ups and downs of an actor’s career.
In conclusion, “the team” that best faces these challenges and thinks rationally with common sense prevailing, usually winds up with the most success and enjoyment that comes with being part of an actor’s success and high stature in the business.
Thank you for viewing/reading my column and I hope it leads to better understanding how the business works with respect to relationships between representatives and actors.
Have a good day!
Step Forward Entertainment site is www.StepForwardEntertainment.com
To Donate to The Actors Fund: www.actorsfund.org/stepforward
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To see ALL of the prior columns: ASK BOB BLUME columns