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How do you approach an Agent to hire an actor?


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#1 John M

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Posted 02 October 2010 - 09:15 AM

I know it may seem a simple question, but I've not contacted an Agent for the purposes of hiring an Actor before, and I was wondering if there is a certain etiquette I should follow?
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#2 Richard Boddington

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Posted 02 October 2010 - 10:49 AM

Keep one thing in mind, you are the customer, therefore you should be treated as one. That said most agents will not take this tact with you because they most likely won't know you. So what you'll often get is a brief conversation with the agent's assistant, be told the agent is "in a meeting" and he'll get back to you. Then he'll never call back.

This is the standard procedure, some times you'll find a nice one that will talk to you.

I recommend you use a casting director and get them to make your calls for you. They usually have better relationships with agents and can get a call returned where you can't.

Many agents are also always trying to fend off people that are looking for agents, so they usually duck calls until they are sure they know who you are.

I've had so many situations where I have talked to an actor directly about a role and then been asked by the actor to speak with their agent, fair enough I say. So I call the agent and of course he won't take my call. So I call back the actor and say hey look you had better speak to your agent because he is being difficult. The actor makes a call then I can get through.

I suggest you use the casting agent approach, you'll look like a more professional producer and it will be a lot less frustrating for you.

R,
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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 02 October 2010 - 03:29 PM

So what you'll often get is a brief conversation with the agent's assistant, be told the agent is "in a meeting" and he'll get back to you. Then he'll never call back.




Too true, and alarmingly, this is so even for - how can I put this tactfully - people who are so far from the A-list they wouldn't notice if Julia Roberts was on fire, and who I know would take more or less anything that involves a monetary exchange.


What I really wonder about this is if the actors have any idea that agents are this shabby. I mean, y'know. Employment opportunities vanishing?


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#4 Richard Boddington

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Posted 02 October 2010 - 04:13 PM

And then Phil if you do get through to the agent of the total unknown you'll often hear....is this project fully funded? Will there be a theatrical release? Can you pay my client 10 million dollars? How about just 5 million then?

R,
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 02 October 2010 - 05:01 PM

On one hand you've got to give them a little bit of slack. Personally, I tend to assume a default position of carefully dubious suspicion until I find out if someone's paying, and that situation is if anything worse for actors. An agent giving an actor away on a freebie is literally wasting his time, so I understand them filtering. I also understand that - say - when I phone up Angels, they're renting out a costume, it's an object. An agent is renting out a human being, and it does behove them to take a little care with what they get involved with.

But still, yeah. For fuck's sake.

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#6 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 03 October 2010 - 12:48 AM

'How do you approach an agent?'

From behind, with a set of brass knuckles.

Seriously.

An actor friend of mine introduced me to his agent at a premiere last week This guy was all of 25 years old, overweight, and in a badly cut black suit that made him look like an undertaker's assistant. He was eating donuts at the time and evidently found them to be more important than having the manners to shake my hand, say hello or otherwise acknowledge the fact that I was standing in front him, because he didn't say a word to me, just kept eating.

Obviously, I'm a below the line worker, and of no interest to him, but if it was my agent treating people so ignorantly, I'd have something strong to say about it.
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#7 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 03 October 2010 - 05:51 AM

They tend to ask if you've got any funding in place, if you have their interest increases.
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#8 John M

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Posted 03 October 2010 - 09:51 AM

I heard this quote once, "Be carefull who's feet you step on today, for they may be connected to the ass you kiss tomorrow" Now I'm a nobody in this business right now. But who the hell knows what can happen and when. I never understood why people just can't be polite and respectuful. The person I am interested about has a Talent Agent and a Manager. I would like to see if there is any interest in the project first and foremost, as it is still in it's infancy in terms of development. I understand the whole Pay to Play idea but I'm just not at that point yet. This particular actors input is crucial to this projects development. Now should I be contacting the Manager instead? I tend to set my sites high. I know it's a long shot, but so were many succeses through out history. If I'm outright refused, I'll try again until I've exhausted all avenues. I just don't want to look like an idiot doing so.

Thanks
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#9 Richard Boddington

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Posted 03 October 2010 - 04:58 PM

They tend to ask if you've got any funding in place, if you have their interest increases.


I know why they do this, yes. But look at all the dozens of giant studio movies that where backed by tens of millions, only to have the plug pulled the day before production was to start.

It just goes to show that in this business, big or small, the same rule always applies. You have nothing until the cheque clears.

And John M, if you need an actor for a show that currently has zero financing and you're new to this industry, it would be better for you to wait and see if even coming up with the fee for the actor is even a possibility. Other wise you would be wasting, your time, and the agents and the actors. In all fairness to every one involved.

If you do get through to the agent he'll be typing your name into IMDB at the same time he's talking to you.

R,
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#10 John M

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Posted 03 October 2010 - 09:08 PM

And John M, if you need an actor for a show that currently has zero financing and you're new to this industry, it would be better for you to wait and see if even coming up with the fee for the actor is even a possibility. Other wise you would be wasting, your time, and the agents and the actors. In all fairness to every one involved.

If you do get through to the agent he'll be typing your name into IMDB at the same time he's talking to you.

R,



I do have a fairly substantial amount of Capital at hand. The reason I want the Actors input is because the script development is dependent on this particular person. I just want to be able to find out if something like this would be of interest to this certain individual. Then I can move on from there. All I'm asking is for 10 minuyes of there time to pass off a synopis basically.
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#11 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 04 October 2010 - 05:03 AM

I know why they do this, yes. But look at all the dozens of giant studio movies that where backed by tens of millions, only to have the plug pulled the day before production was to start.


Absolutely, but I guess it makes their clients feel good if they're booked up on what look like solid productions. The reality may be entirely different closer to shooting time.
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#12 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 05:53 AM

All I'm asking is for 10 minuyes of there time to pass off a synopis basically.

You and a million other people want the exact same thing. That's a lot of "10 minutes".
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#13 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 06:08 AM

You and a million other people want the exact same thing. That's a lot of "10 minutes".


I had almost exactly that message halfway typed up, then opted not to post it. Congrats, Brad - you're harsher than me!

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#14 John M

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 08:43 AM

I had almost exactly that message halfway typed up, then opted not to post it. Congrats, Brad - you're harsher than me!

P


Well I went for it and gave it a go. Was on the phone for a little over 30 minutes. They are very interested. This is no A-lister but a little known.
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#15 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 09:57 AM

Well, I guess that shuts us curmudgeons up - good for you!

Let us know how things turn out.

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#16 Richard Boddington

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 10:56 AM

Well, I guess that shuts us curmudgeons up - good for you!

Let us know how things turn out.

P


The US is in a recession.....who knows that can work to ones advantage in some cases. :)

R,
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#17 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 01:27 PM

Well I went for it and gave it a go. Was on the phone for a little over 30 minutes. They are very interested. This is no A-lister but a little known.


Agents can consider productions which give the less known or inexperienced actors roles that can build up their CVs and experience and therefore make them more employable.
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#18 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 12:38 AM

I had almost exactly that message halfway typed up, then opted not to post it. Congrats, Brad - you're harsher than me!

P

I don't think it's harsh, it's just realistic.
But it's good to know we agree on something Phil!
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