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Agents: Worth it or not?

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#1 Kevin Martin

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Posted 09 August 2015 - 04:33 PM

Howdy, y'all- I'm a 27 year-old DP in the New York/New Jersey area and as I've been looking for more and more work over the years I feel that I have been hitting a wall. I come from a G&E background so I've been more used to forming relationships with DPs, owner/ops, and production companies, but I find getting work as a DP to be a different ballgame, so I wanted to know what the pros and cons of hiring an agent are- do they actually find you work, is the cost of hiring someone offset by the increase in gigs, is it better to wait until you join local 600 to hire an agent versus having one in the non-union world, what are some better agencies for less known DPs, is it better to hire someone local or can they be on the other side of the country, etc. etc. Any advice would be appreciated because anything's gotta be better than blindly giving resumes to people who don't know you or scouring Mandy.com. Thanks in advance!
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 09 August 2015 - 10:48 PM

you don't really hire an agent; an agent agrees to rep you.


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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 10 August 2015 - 03:29 AM

Further to Adrian's observation, I've always felt (and been told) that when you need an agent, one will come and find you. You don't necessarily go looking.

 

The likelihood of this happening, that is, of anyone in particular ever becoming so successful as to genuinely need the services of an agent, is very small.

 

P


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#4 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 10 August 2015 - 03:48 AM

I'd have to agree with what's already been said. When the time is right, an agent will find you. Also, at 27, you are at an age where most camera people are still assisting, so try not to be in too much of a hurry.


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#5 Nathan Walters

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Posted 10 August 2015 - 02:51 PM

I can't imagine having an agent would benefit in any way unless you're at the absolute top.  I think it just requires a different type of networking.  Because if you're looking for G&E work, a good bit of it is just knowing the technical side.  But if you're looking for DP work, it's way more on what the results look like and what you've done before.  So in a sense, it is very different.  But just have to switch over to that world of being more on the creative side than the technical (though obviously DP's have to know a ridiculous amount on the technical side too, that's not what I'm saying).


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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 10 August 2015 - 03:01 PM

Plenty of midrange DP's have agents.  Agents are useful for negotiating contracts and for filtering inquiries for work, they can do background research on the productions contacting you, help set-up meetings, etc.

 

Agents often find you -- I suspect what happens is that when you climb high enough to get jobs over other DP's who have agents, then an agent get interested in who is competing with their clients and contact you, usually with an innocent-sounding "Just wanted to say hello, introduce myself..." sort of call or email.  Or they see something you shot at a film festival or some other venue and like the work enough to be curious if you are being repped or not.

 

But there is no point in pushing yourself on an agent because they have to be motivated because they like your work and think they can push you along to get even more and better work.  So it is better when they contact you rather than the other way.  The exception is when you get offered a decent-sized job and then call an agent saying that you need help in negotiating a deal, then the agent knows you are the sort of person who is going out for the bigger jobs and will take an interest.


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#7 Edward Kostakis

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Posted 10 August 2015 - 03:50 PM

some very good useful information in this feed. thanks to everyone who contributed.
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#8 Freya Black

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 08:18 AM

Plenty of midrange DP's have agents.  Agents are useful for negotiating contracts and for filtering inquiries for work, they can do background research on the productions contacting you, help set-up meetings, etc.

 

 

I think a lot of people misunderstand what agents are about. While people sometimes pick up work through an agency when working at a reasonably high level, the agent isn't really there to find you work, instead it's more about the agent having great negotiating skills when you do find work. They are also a 3rd party who isn't caught up in the situation.

 

I suspect that when you are working at a very low level that agents are more likely to do harm than good. On some low t no budget movie for example, if you say "talk to my agent", they are more likely to say "talk to the hand!". It's not like there is a shortage of people for the DP role.

 

For people starting out it's all about building relationships with people and your ability to sell yourself.

 

Freya


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#9 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 10:00 AM

If Iam paying X % to an agent .. I would expect him or her to be putting my name forward for work.. !  I think that is totally part of what an agent does.. they represent you.. and they also make money out of you working .. 


Edited by Robin R Probyn, 11 August 2015 - 10:02 AM.

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#10 Freya Black

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 10:26 AM

If Iam paying X % to an agent .. I would expect him or her to be putting my name forward for work.. !  I think that is totally part of what an agent does.. they represent you.. and they also make money out of you working .. 

 

 

Don't disagree with what you say, and I'm sure they might put your name forward if a production company approached them but the idea that they would be out there searching for work for you I feel more skeptical about. Most of the people I know with agents say they get little work directly thru their agent.

 

Are you finding the case to be different?


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