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Agent for DP?


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#1 Benji Bakshi

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 12:46 AM

I'm realizing it's very hard to both market myself AND shoot full time (or more than full time as we all know it is...)

I'm investigating the services of an agent.


Anyone know how to go about the process of finding a good agent?
What are agents looking for in terms of MY marketability?
An pointers about what to watch out for? Signs of a bad agent?
What is a reasonable percentage for agents to take?

I could go on and on with questions.
Any insights?
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#2 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 07:26 PM

The sad story about agents is that they don't really get you any work until you've already made it. That's the thruth. It's a bit like an old popstar once remarked; "When you finally make it and can afford to buy all those drinks - that's when they're all for free".

Agents can put you up for jobs, try to get your name out there, put you in context, but you have to kind of make it on your own, in my experience. And you can't stop marketing yourself just because you have an agent.

As for what agents are looking for - marketability. The DP that can earn them the most amount of cash. Therefore, they'd much rather have a succesful DP than one starting out, since that makes their job easier. This is another Catch-22 for a starting DP - they don't need to work twice as hard to earn half the money with a bigwig DP that's already known.

I don't want to sound to disparaging, but that's basically my experience after 4 years with 2 different agents. Do sign with one if you prefer to 'belong', so to speak, but don't expect it to take off immediately. And sometimes just having an agent as your contact can add a slight air of quality or success, as in 'Oh, he must be busy, since he has an agent and all'. It's all about perception, anyway. Project the image of strenght at all times, and all that.

Agents normally take 10% of your earnings. ALL your earnings - not just the jobs they got you. That can either be expensive or cheap depending on what kind of guy you are. I'm too nice and not very good at negotiating fees, so my agent can play hardball and be bad cop and will therefore earn me more money than I would have done myself - i.e. he pays for himself. It also removes me from the dirty business of money and I can untainted and creativeley just turn up on set. But if you're a tough negotiator, then those 10% might be better off in your pocket rather than in some agents.
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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 08:14 PM

Hi,

As Adam said.

It isn't a choice. When the time comes, they'll find you.

And don't take too much notice of other people. My demo reel is appalling, I don't even show it to people, and I've still been told "You should get an agent!" by people who should know better.

Phil
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#4 Matthew Buick

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 04:06 PM

My demo reel is appalling

Phil


I know this may sound stupid, but what exactly is a Demo Reel.
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#5 David Sweetman

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 04:48 PM

I know this may sound stupid, but what exactly is a Demo Reel.

A demo reel is a short (5-minute-range) montage of the best and most recent work of an individual in his respective discipline. It is used as a kind of resume in the entertainment industry - to show your skills for examination by a potential employer.
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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 05:38 PM

Or rather more to the point, it's something to not show to anyone until you're very sure that it won't be laughed out of the office and poison your relationship with them forever.

Phil
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#7 Tomas Koolhaas

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 05:41 PM

Hi,
I dont have an agent but know numerous people that do...It varies massively from agent to agent, some are pretty useless, others have got people I know LOADS of work they couldnt have got themselves, I suppose it varies from country to country too, a mate of mine in the UK has had numerous agents and they got him 0 jobs and just mooched of the jobs he got himself. Whereas I know people in LA who rely solely on their agent to get the work and work regularly (they are not well known or anything either). It depends but usually is not a free ride to success or lots of regular work. There is a manager aswell which varies from an agent, im not sure exactly how, but some people have told me is way better than having an agent??
I would like a GOOD agent (I wont settle for a lazy mooch just so I can say I have an agent) but I am quite a tough negotiator so unless a good one comes my way I will keep hustling for myslef.
Cheers.

Or rather more to the point, it's something to not show to anyone until you're very sure that it won't be laughed out of the office and poison your relationship with them forever.

Phil


Phil,
Is your reel online? I would like to see it.
Cheers.
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#8 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 06:18 PM

No, you wouldn't.
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#9 Tomas Koolhaas

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 10:47 PM

I guarentee you I'm not the only one here who wants to see it.....How bad can it be??
I bet its quite good and you are just being hypercritical of your own stuff, I saw some stills you posted ages ago of a S16 project that looked pretty good.....
C'mon lets have a look Phil....seriously it will be a freeing experience for you, conquer your demons!
Cheers.
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#10 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 18 October 2006 - 01:54 AM

Speaking of reels....I recently have heard from a few operators I know that they prefer not to have a reel. These particular guys are working on pretty big jobs and staying busy constantly. They've come to find that telling someone you don't have a reel can be a good thing. I assume, when asked for a reel, they say something like, "I haven't had a reel in years", and the perception is that their work is so well known (which it is in some instances) that they don't need a reel. One guy in particular tells people to go to Blockbuster when they ask for a reel.
This approach may sound a bit arrogant, but they're just letting producers form a certain perception about them, and it seems to be working because they are constantly busy with work. I found this to be an interesting theory. I'm wondering if anyone takes this approach and/or what you think of it.
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#11 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 18 October 2006 - 06:13 AM

Hi,

> This approach may sound a bit arrogant

No, it just sounds like a steadicam operator.

Ow! Hey, quitit! Argh! Ouch! Hey! I - ow!

Phil
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#12 Matthew Buick

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Posted 18 October 2006 - 06:45 AM

A demo reel is a short (5-minute-range) montage of the best and most recent work of an individual in his respective discipline. It is used as a kind of resume in the entertainment industry - to show your skills for examination by a potential employer.


cool im doing one of them 2 show all u n00bs that i am pro and u are n00bs like david mullen

(Joke)

Matthew Buick
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#13 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 18 October 2006 - 11:38 AM

Speaking of reels....I recently have heard from a few operators I know that they prefer not to have a reel. These particular guys are working on pretty big jobs and staying busy constantly. They've come to find that telling someone you don't have a reel can be a good thing. I assume, when asked for a reel, they say something like, "I haven't had a reel in years", and the perception is that their work is so well known (which it is in some instances) that they don't need a reel. One guy in particular tells people to go to Blockbuster when they ask for a reel.
This approach may sound a bit arrogant, but they're just letting producers form a certain perception about them, and it seems to be working because they are constantly busy with work. I found this to be an interesting theory. I'm wondering if anyone takes this approach and/or what you think of it.


That's what Alex Thomson, BSC, also did for years and years. No reel - his CV was proof enough. It all comes back to the perception of success, anyway.

Lie through you teeth and tell everyone how busy you are (even if you've only been busy scratching your arse for the last 8 months) whenever someone asks. Even complain about how hard it is to never have any time off. Sounds shallow and stupid (and it took me years to stop telling everyone how poop it was when I had nothing to do - goes against my inner sincere self), but it WORKS. Success breeds success and everyone wants to give all the jobs to the winner/busiest guy because they think they get more value. It's not a very charming side of humanity, but unfortunately that's roughly how the human brain works.

Just think about how we react to prices on products (one of my pet peeves coming along here): the fastest way to increase your brands quality and market value, is simply to raise the price. Immediatley people will start to buy more of it, becasue they think they get more quality. Hence also why all brands will at some point try to go up-market - because that's where you sell more AND earn more money per unit.
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#14 Frank Barrera

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Posted 18 October 2006 - 09:51 PM

i am so busy right now. i am so busy right now. i am so busy right now. i am so busy right now.
i am so busy right now. i am so busy right now. i am so busy right now. i am so busy right now.
wow, you're right. i feel much better already

f
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#15 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 02:37 PM

Hi,

> This approach may sound a bit arrogant

No, it just sounds like a steadicam operator.

Ow! Hey, quitit! Argh! Ouch! Hey! I - ow!

Phil

Good ole Phil....
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#16 kelly tippett

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 04:53 PM

[quote name='Adam Frisch' date='Oct 18 2006, 08:38 AM' post='133395']
That's what Alex Thomson, BSC, also did for years and years. No reel - his CV was proof enough. It all comes back to the perception of success, anyway.

Lie through you teeth and tell everyone how busy you are (even if you've only been busy scratching your arse for the last 8 months) whenever someone asks. Even complain about how hard it is to never have any time off. Sounds shallow and stupid (and it took me years to stop telling everyone how poop it was when I had nothing to do - goes against my inner sincere self), but it WORKS. Success breeds success and everyone wants to give all the jobs to the winner/busiest guy because they think they get more value. It's not a very charming side of humanity, but unfortunately that's roughly how the human brain works.

I think if you sound too busy you're not going to get looked at as much. Who wants soemone too busy? They will not give time to a project I would think. Not that sounding like a hard worker is a bad thing but i think you would have to sound busy in a subtle way. No?
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CineTape

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Rig Wheels Passport

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Visual Products

Glidecam

Wooden Camera

Willys Widgets

Metropolis Post

Tai Audio

rebotnix Technologies

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Ritter Battery

Technodolly

Opal

Aerial Filmworks

Abel Cine