Thursday, 10 January 2013

Just Drop It

Being dropped. Apart from the acting nightmare that every performer has where they haven’t learnt their lines for a show opening that night, being dropped by an agent is probably what every actor fears most. And it’s not necessarily because you love your agent so much that you’re sad to see them go. It’s the rejection and that horrible feeling that you’re not wanted any more.

Followers of my Twitter account will know that I was dropped by my agent recently. You’d hope that when your agent decides they don’t want you any more that they might get you in for a meeting and discuss where things have gone wrong. Even though the decision has already been made, you’d hope that there could still be some discussion. Sadly this wasn’t the case with me. Oh no. I found out via email while I was out shopping. It’s quite something to find out you’re being culled while browsing the reduced items in Waitrose. Rejection plus half price mushrooms do not make for feelings of confidence. Believe me.

I’m sure I was meant to be upset but the sheer disbelief of reading this news on my phone very quickly blocked my tear ducts. Disbelief turned to rage which then turned to me angrily muttering to myself in the crisp aisle. Once I’d got over the anger of being dumped via the internet, I then turned the anger on to myself as I questioned why I hadn’t got in there first. Although lovely, my agents hadn’t done me any good over the last year. They’d secured me the equivalent of one audition a month and unfortunately I hadn’t managed to get any of those roles so it’s safe to say that I wasn’t best pleased. The majority of the castings they did get me were for jobs that I really wasn’t suitable for and one of the last jobs they put me up for was for an open audition where I was mainly performing alongside 16 year olds. All the acting work I got last year, I’d got myself so clearly something wasn't working.  If we’d be in a relationship then I’m sure my mum would’ve put her hat back into storage sometime around September.

Of course there was upset there too. You have the doubts over whether you’re in the right job. Maybe this is the wake-up call you need to realise that you’re not good enough and you need to start thinking of a new career. But if we gave up at the first sign of rejection then most actors’ careers would last about as long as a bag of crisps in my greedy hands. I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong. I went up for every single audition they got me and I did all I could to try and get the part. Sadly just some things don’t work out and my year with my agent just so happened to be one of those ill-fated things.  
As I told people about what had happened, once they’d gotten over the email method, I found myself using the term ‘blessing in disguise’ at such a rate that ‘end of the day’ was getting worried about being bumped off the top spot. And I felt fine. Not in a ‘you should really remove all sharp objects from north London’ type way in but in a ‘this is actually bloody exciting way.’ As actors we’re taught that having an agent is the most important thing in the world. And it’s true that a good agent can be more precious than a Nando’s Black Card. But get yourself a bad agent and you might as well ask your resident kitchen mouse to put you up for work. 

I can honestly say that my acting career has been at its best when I’ve been looking after myself and while I of course I wouldn’t say no to a good agent, there’s something exciting about being in charge of your own career. It makes you work that little bit harder and you’re not constantly worrying about your agent calling with an audition for a vaguely paid touring show just 10 minutes after you’ve got yourself a £12 an hour temp job. It’s surprisingly liberating to be back in control and know that I’m not going to wake up tomorrow morning to find out that I’m going to an audition where I have to spend three hours pretending to be a sloth while attempting to play the harmonica. 

So now everything’s down to me. Which is basically how it was before I was dropped from an exceedingly low height. Business as usual, then.  

1 comment:

  1. absolutely. and so much so, that after 2 amazingly productive "going it alone" years, i am now terrified of the opposite, i.e. giving in to the many agents offers of representation. so well done you, I say. it's a lot of fun, alone.
    btw something i just saw somewhere, a different cause I know is very dear to you. unbelievable. so flipping annoying:

    "DowlingErdelyCasting ‏@DowlingErdely
    Looking for 'real women' Age 25 - 30 for online ad. No Actors or Models please. Please RT. "


    I am thinking of properly harrassing equity about this and campaign against this scam. i thought casting director claimed they "are there to help actors not against them". yeah right.