Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Day 1 - The Hunt for An Agent

Agents Contacted:5
Responses: 0

So it's Day 1 of my search proper to find myself a new agent. Don't worry, I don't intend to write every day about this rather dull search. I realise that would be boring for everyone involved (mainly me) but I will try and update you all as regularly as possible so you can share a tiny piece of my fruitless hunt.

My aim (at the moment) is to write to 5 agents a day. This means that I'm not just doing blanket submissions and actually thinking carefully about the agents I'm getting in touch with and making sure that they're agents I actually like the look of. Also, applying to agents isn't the most fun job in the world and it means I won't get bored, wonder what the heck I'm doing with my life and run down the road screaming with my character skirt pulled over my head. So, 5 agents have been contacted so far and that means, hopefully, by Friday, I'll have passed on my meagre details to 20 agents. If I carry on at this rate then I'll have written to 1650 agencies by the end of the year and will likely have lost the will to live. If I haven't had at least one favourable response by 31 December then you all have the right to tell me to give up and get a proper job. I promise. Or you can at least give me a gentle pat on the back while I weep uncontrollably through New Year's Eve celebrations.

When I was last looking for an agent, I had the idea of creating a spreadsheet so I could keep track of those I'd already contacted to make sure I wasn't just targetting the same poor fool every day. Creating Excel spreadsheets is the most glorious form of procrastination as it makes you feel like you're actually working and doing something positive when really you've just found another way to not do any real work. I decided that I should probably do the same again so opened up the old file to have a little look. I was quite lucky last time as in the midst of writing to agents (I was a bit slack with it last time and maybe writing to a couple a week) an agent actually approached me and, well, you all know how that story recently ended. However, it seems I wrote to 20 agents last time. Out of those I received 5 flat "No's" or, as they're known in the business, "Go away and leave us alone. We won't make a bean out of you." I had meetings with 2, one who turned me down and another that I turned down and then a lovely 13 who never got back to me. So, 10% meetings, 25% "NO!" and 65% "Lalalalalaalalala(is she still there? Damn, she is.)lalalalalalalalalala." It's no wonder my energies were not even half-baked.

So let's see what happens this time. I bet you can't bloody wait.


  1. Is it worth thinking about whether an agent is really going to do anything for you? If you'd like some more statistics: I reckon about 1 in 4 of the actors-with-agents that I know and work with regularly actually gets meaningful paid work through their agent. The other 3/4 end up paying their agent for work they have found themselves. Of the agents that I do deal with through actors I work with (and as a director I almost never go through agents - if I don't know the actor I want to work with I go through personal recommendations) three-quarters actually make life harder with their poor admin and one-extra-step-in-the-chainness. On a recent commercial job, where I had to poll 5 agents for their suggested fee in order to negotiate a flat fee for 12 actors we'd used (the other 7 were self representing), 4 of the agents proposed a fee that was under 50% of what I managed to settle for the actors. None of those actors had got the job through their agent - they'd all got cast because I knew their work. I could go on.

    I appreciate life without an agent is in some ways harder - but I definitely question regularly the automatic assumption that they are essential, or that they cut you a better deal than you could cut yourself a lot of the time.

  2. LOL I feel your pain - I am in the middle of applying to agents as well :-/

    I look forward to reading more!xxx

  3. Oh definitely and I'm more than happy representing myself for as long as I need to. Some of the best jobs I've done I've secured myself and I rather like being in charge of my own career. The only problem is that my CV is woefully lacking in film and TV work and while that's not necessarily a bad thing, it's something I'd like more of on my CV and getting that type of work is far harder without an agent.

    Unfortunately, unless you have a very wide network of people in power, having access to all the acting jobs out there is very tough and having an agent can sometimes take the pressure off a little. Of course, they can also add to the pressure too! :-)