I've been wrestling with the right way to approach this one. A little back story.
You know I recently lost my agent to COVID. It's bad enough to lose someone period, but now I have to get new representation. If you've read my posts that's old news.
Here's new news. I had a zoom meeting with an agency last week. Wednesday, to be exact. It was scheduled a month earlier which, in an of itself struck me as unusual. But, what do I know? I haven't looked for representation in eight years and it's a pandemic. Maybe that's just the way it goes.
The individual who scheduled for me was a nice guy, it turns out, I met from a cold reading series I did in LA called "Tuesday's." No surprise, it meets on Tuesdays. Anyway, I found out we met there because I had to call him at the appointed time plus ten minutes since the agency was zoomless, at least in my little corner of the world.
"Alistair," he says, "good to hear from you." I stammered something like uh, yeah, I have an appointment at 2:30? "Oh," he says, "I left the agency." Hmmm. I hear that, it always makes me think. "So, she's not keeping her zoom appointments?", he asks fatefully. "You could try the office, or [email]. Hey, by the way, we've actually met." "Really?" "At Tueday's." I'm flummoxed because the name doesn't ring a bell. "I'm sorry," I said, "but I can't place your face. Can you give me clue?" "I'm just a white guy." "That was you?" Oldest gag in the book, but it was fun. I snuck a look at his IMDB and recognized him, so all's well.
I'm thinking, "This guy's pretty cool. Wonder why he left?" Naturally, I didn't ask. None of my business. We shared a few more minutes of pleasantries when he tells me two other agents left as well. That got me thinking. But, I don't want to be unfairly prejudiced (as if there's a fair prejudice), so I don't ask the obvious question.
Before we say goodbye he says, "Do you have management?" "No," I reply a little too eagerly. "Contact my friend at another agency. Absolutely use my name." Well, I think, isn't that great. Good to know good people. Still, there's that niggling question rolling around between my ears.
Undaunted, I call the agency directly. Oh sure, they have a call with me but couldn't get through. On zoom. Some technical glitch. "We didn't have a number to call you." Though the two emails I sent them previously prominently display my phone number, email address, website, imdbpage, twitter and instagram. But, okay. They couldn't get a hold of me. No big deal. "Can you send us a zoom link. Maybe it'll work that way?" Having never done it before, I soldiered on. Mission accomplished. Link sent.
Here's where it gets dicey. I spend half an hour or so talking with the owner of the agency about my credits, my training, my interests only to be told, in essence, it's our way or the highway. "We're a full service agency," she says, "and we're very hands on. If you get an audition on Monday and it's due Friday, we want it done Tuesday." Okay. That's not so bad. But then she says, "Don't worry. You won't be getting cast. Not for a while, anyway." I'm thinking, I've been doing this in LA ten years, just finished my second booking in a month and have a couple call backs lined up. Why won't I get cast?
As we continued she shared a couple more pearls of her wisdom. "We work twelve hours a day for you for free," "We don't have time to massage actors egos," "In office visits are a waste of our time," and a few more. Taken out of context these comments seem innocuous enough. But in context they were unusually harsh.
I agreed to send them materials all agents want to see but after I got off the phone I still had that sinking feeling in my stomach. I don't know any actor who wants to close a door or burn a bridge, so I told myself to sit with it until tomorrow. When I talked to my support network their universal, slack jawed response was "what?"
The next day I sent a very polite email stating I didn't think a partnership between them and me would be a good fit.
Why am I telling you this? Sometimes we can get too blinded by panic to make good decisions. If I don't have an agent...if I don't get that promotion...if I don't meet that person...panic. At the end of the day I want to like my representative. I want a good working relationship. And, above all, I want to trust God and his plan. Not just on this one, but on everything.
I think my micro-experience can be extrapolated into life itself. Don't settle. Be bold. Be patient. It's true we don't have time for patience when it comes to developing our skills, but I think we do when putting together our team. After all, it's a team.