Jump to content


Photo

How to get connected with an Agent?

agents director of photography agency agencies career

  • Please log in to reply
50 replies to this topic

#1 Kenny Keeler

Kenny Keeler
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 54 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 22 December 2016 - 06:10 PM

Hey Guys,

 

Im curious on getting seen or how to get in contact with agencies?

 

How have you guys gotten your agents?

 

I have done a lot of research and there is not much info about how DP's get agents. Do DP's email agencies their reel and make the first contact or do they come find you?

 

What is everyones experience with this. I want to contact agencies myself but dont know if this is the right path.

 

 

Thanks for you advice!


Edited by Kenny Keeler, 22 December 2016 - 06:12 PM.

  • 0


#2 Stuart Brereton

Stuart Brereton
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2939 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 22 December 2016 - 06:24 PM

You call or email, then send a reel. Most agencies won't respond. If you're lucky, they'll respond, but say no thanks. If you're very lucky, they'll ask you to meet. Then, if you're extremely lucky, they will like your work, have room on their roster, and not already have other DPs working in the same market. Prepare for some disappointment.


  • 0

#3 Richard Boddington

Richard Boddington
  • Sustaining Members
  • 5460 posts
  • Director

Posted 24 December 2016 - 05:55 PM

What is it you think an agent will do for you?  Find you work?

 

That is a falsehood believed by many young would be DOPs, they are not going to help find you any work.  A producer could care less if you have an agent or not, they are hiring you….not the agent.  What you will find is that the agent will happily help themselves to your hard earned money, that I can guarantee.

 

R,

 


  • 0

#4 Keith Walters

Keith Walters
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2213 posts
  • Other
  • Sydney Australia

Posted 26 December 2016 - 09:07 PM

Actors have agents; and, maybe it's different in this country, but I don't recall anybody else in the actual film-making part of the industry ever talking having an agent. They would normally just wait for the phone to ring....

There are a few places that run a sort  informal "Yellow Pages" for industry people but that's about it.

 

 "What you will find is that the agent will happily help themselves to your hard earned money, that I can guarantee."

Which mucho applies to the talent side of things too :rolleyes:


  • 0

#5 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19638 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 26 December 2016 - 09:28 PM

Typically in Hollywood, actors, writers, directors, assistant directors, cinematographers, production designers, and editors have agents.  Probably costume designers too.  After that, you occasionally find a steadicam camera operator and some other specialty crafts people who have agents.

 

One thing that agents are good for is not letting money come into job interviews, you can just talk to the director about creative issues, let the agent and the producer hammer out a deal after that if they want to hire you.  Before I had an agent, I just took whatever was offered, money-wise, because frankly I don't like talking about money.  Agents are more clued into what the market is like and what other people are being offered on similar projects, budget-wise.

 

If you're a screenwriter trying to pitch to the networks or studios, it's very hard to even be taken seriously without representation.  It's a bit like how some jobs say they want someone with a college degree -- it's just a way of weeding out a certain amount of people right off the top.  If you are being represented by a known, reputable agent, then a studio or network exec is more likely the believe they aren't wasting their time dealing with you, and if you do waste their time, the exec has an agent he or she can call up and complain to.

 

An agents can play tough for you -- if you were promised, let's say, a business class plane ticket to a distant location shoot and in the last minute you get flown coach, you don't have to complain to some production travel coordinator who doesn't really know what your deal memo says anyway, and you don't have to deal with the producer over travel arrangements when you were hired to deal with cinematography, but your agent can call the producer and deal with any breach in contract promises.

 

But in terms of getting you work, even though an agent can send you out for interviews, it's up to you to get the job, the agent can't interview for you, they can't make you a better cinematographer, etc.

 

An agent is also just another point of contact when someone is looking to hire you but doesn't know how to reach you.

 

Agents are legally restricted to collecting no more than 10% of what you earn in your job.  Managers, however, can collect more if that's your deal with them.


  • 0

#6 Adrian Sierkowski

Adrian Sierkowski
  • Sustaining Members
  • 7075 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, Ca

Posted 27 December 2016 - 11:10 AM

they often say you get an agent when you least need it. from what i'm told, generally speaking the agent will approach you as you get to a certain level in your career. If you're talking a narrative career i would assume this is once you get some projects either distributed to theaters or into some major fests.


  • 0

#7 Brian Drysdale

Brian Drysdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5027 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 27 December 2016 - 11:22 AM

I gather writers are taken on board by agents when they have sold work, This has happened to a few I know.

 

Agents want to know they can earn money though you.


  • 0

#8 Kenny Keeler

Kenny Keeler
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 54 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 27 December 2016 - 03:57 PM

What is it you think an agent will do for you?  Find you work?

 

That is a falsehood believed by many young would be DOPs, they are not going to help find you any work.  A producer could care less if you have an agent or not, they are hiring you….not the agent.  What you will find is that the agent will happily help themselves to your hard earned money, that I can guarantee.

 

R,

 

 

Really I am in no rush to get an agent. just trying to get more info on it. At this point most of the commercials and films I have shot have been found by myself or I have been hired on the job based on word of mouth. Just trying to get info so when the time does come I know how to approach the situation. 

 

As for what they will do for me. I dont expect them to get me work the work. however I think at a certain level they will bring you stuff here an there. For some friends in the industry mostly As David mentions it gets you a different level of work because you get more creditability. If you are represented by a know company WPA or Partos for example, from my knowledge other companies see your work and know because you are represented by a known agencies that you are good at what you do.


  • 0

#9 Kenny Keeler

Kenny Keeler
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 54 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 27 December 2016 - 04:02 PM

Typically in Hollywood, actors, writers, directors, assistant directors, cinematographers, production designers, and editors have agents.  Probably costume designers too.  After that, you occasionally find a steadicam camera operator and some other specialty crafts people who have agents.

 

One thing that agents are good for is not letting money come into job interviews, you can just talk to the director about creative issues, let the agent and the producer hammer out a deal after that if they want to hire you.  Before I had an agent, I just took whatever was offered, money-wise, because frankly I don't like talking about money.  Agents are more clued into what the market is like and what other people are being offered on similar projects, budget-wise.

 

If you're a screenwriter trying to pitch to the networks or studios, it's very hard to even be taken seriously without representation.  It's a bit like how some jobs say they want someone with a college degree -- it's just a way of weeding out a certain amount of people right off the top.  If you are being represented by a known, reputable agent, then a studio or network exec is more likely the believe they aren't wasting their time dealing with you, and if you do waste their time, the exec has an agent he or she can call up and complain to.

 

An agents can play tough for you -- if you were promised, let's say, a business class plane ticket to a distant location shoot and in the last minute you get flown coach, you don't have to complain to some production travel coordinator who doesn't really know what your deal memo says anyway, and you don't have to deal with the producer over travel arrangements when you were hired to deal with cinematography, but your agent can call the producer and deal with any breach in contract promises.

 

But in terms of getting you work, even though an agent can send you out for interviews, it's up to you to get the job, the agent can't interview for you, they can't make you a better cinematographer, etc.

 

An agent is also just another point of contact when someone is looking to hire you but doesn't know how to reach you.

 

Agents are legally restricted to collecting no more than 10% of what you earn in your job.  Managers, however, can collect more if that's your deal with them.

 

David thank you for this! This is great info! I think in the agency world just as most of this industry is. There are 1000 ways to get to a said spot in this industry. So with agents the same probably applies. Some contact agents and get representation and some agents contact DP's and represent them.

 

How did you get your agent? Would love to hear the story!


  • 0

#10 Kenny Keeler

Kenny Keeler
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 54 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 27 December 2016 - 04:04 PM

I gather writers are taken on board by agents when they have sold work, This has happened to a few I know.

 

Agents want to know they can earn money though you.

 

I have a writer buddy who got an agent based on a spec script. He then got representation after send the script to an agent and then that agent sent his spec feature around it sold and his career went form there. So that agent took a risk but it does happen.


  • 0

#11 Richard Boddington

Richard Boddington
  • Sustaining Members
  • 5460 posts
  • Director

Posted 27 December 2016 - 06:48 PM

Actors have agents; and, maybe it's different in this country, but I don't recall anybody else in the actual film-making part of the industry ever talking having an agent. They would normally just wait for the phone to ring....

There are a few places that run a sort  informal "Yellow Pages" for industry people but that's about it.

 

 "What you will find is that the agent will happily help themselves to your hard earned money, that I can guarantee."

Which mucho applies to the talent side of things too :rolleyes:

 

 

Well Keith something quite hysterical has happened in the industry jn LA over the last few years, everyone now has an agent.  Grips, ACs, and Gaffers, have agents in Hollywood and I find this pretty much fall on the floor hilarious.  It's also quite hysterical to see these credit blocks at the end of TV commercials for feature films that must be listing 40-50 names! All in teeny tiny print of course, so I mean really, what the hell is the point?

 

I can't imagine how long it would take to crew a show in LA when the producer has to negotiate with every single crew member who has an agent.  Here's the producer negotiating with the agent for the 2nd AC…..

 

Producer: Ok so it's agreed your client will be picked up by limo service at his door at 8am each day.  Chilled water will be in the limo.

 

Agent for 2nd AC:  Ok now will that limo be a standard stretch or super stretch?  My client demands a super stretch.

 

Producer: Ok check that, super stretch.

 

Agent:  What about entourage fees?  My client wants his brother-in-law and mother to be allowed to visit him on set so they can see that he's made it in Hollywood.

 

Producer: Check that, brother-in-law and mother to be flown in first class from any destination and put up at a 5 star hotel while in Hollywood.


  • 0

#12 Richard Boddington

Richard Boddington
  • Sustaining Members
  • 5460 posts
  • Director

Posted 27 December 2016 - 06:53 PM

Here's another funny thing about agencies….no one arrives in LA and starts off at CAA or WME.  They can if they are lucky get representation with a small boutique agency, or one of the other feeder agencies.

 

Now let's say the agents for this new talent really hustle and by some miracle they find him great gigs and he becomes a huge talent, either in front or behind the camera.

 

Now CAA or WME comes knocking and the guy says good-bye to the very agency that made him big in the first place.  He joins CAA or WME who had NOTHING to do with building his career.

 

David Letterman even made a crack about this cycle when he hosted an awards show a while back.  I'm not sure everyone in the home audience would of understood what he was getting at, but I certainly did,

 

R,


  • 0

#13 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11873 posts
  • Other

Posted 27 December 2016 - 07:04 PM

I was met by a stretch limo at an airport earlier this year*.

 

On the downside, I had to go to Newark on a rainy February morning in order to receive this treatment, and it took longer than the train would've.

 

P

 

* some sort of mistake, I assume.


  • 0

#14 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19638 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 27 December 2016 - 07:13 PM

I got an agent after "Twin Falls Idaho" screened at the Sundance Film Festival in early 1999.


  • 1

#15 Stuart Brereton

Stuart Brereton
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2939 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 27 December 2016 - 07:19 PM

 Grips, ACs, and Gaffers, have agents in Hollywood and I find this pretty much fall on the floor hilarious. 

Richard, you've said this before, but I don't know of a single agency here in LA that represents them. DPs, Production Designers, Editors, Costume Designers, 1st ADs, all of these can find below the line representation, but I've never heard of anyone representing Grips, Gaffers and ACs. In Britain, there are 'Diary Services' which take bookings for all kinds of crew, but even they don't seem to exist in LA.


  • 0

#16 Kenny Keeler

Kenny Keeler
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 54 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 27 December 2016 - 07:23 PM

 

 

Well Keith something quite hysterical has happened in the industry jn LA over the last few years, everyone now has an agent.  Grips, ACs, and Gaffers, have agents in Hollywood and I find this pretty much fall on the floor hilarious.  It's also quite hysterical to see these credit blocks at the end of TV commercials for feature films that must be listing 40-50 names! All in teeny tiny print of course, so I mean really, what the hell is the point?

 

I can't imagine how long it would take to crew a show in LA when the producer has to negotiate with every single crew member who has an agent.  Here's the producer negotiating with the agent for the 2nd AC…..

 

Producer: Ok so it's agreed your client will be picked up by limo service at his door at 8am each day.  Chilled water will be in the limo.

 

Agent for 2nd AC:  Ok now will that limo be a standard stretch or super stretch?  My client demands a super stretch.

 

Producer: Ok check that, super stretch.

 

Agent:  What about entourage fees?  My client wants his brother-in-law and mother to be allowed to visit him on set so they can see that he's made it in Hollywood.

 

Producer: Check that, brother-in-law and mother to be flown in first class from any destination and put up at a 5 star hotel while in Hollywood.

 

Richard I agree with you in the sense that certain aspects get taken to far haha and that certain crew shouldn't have agents. I do not think an AC should be getting a limo ride to work, nor a DP if production offers those things fine. but If your getting an agent to get lobster lunch and limos your in it for the wrong reasons. I however feel agents do have there place where needed. Like David mentions talking about money and having someone who knows what is or is not fair in terms of rate etc is a valuable tool.


  • 0

#17 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19638 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 27 December 2016 - 07:23 PM

I don't think my regular gaffer here in Los Angeles has an agent, nor my Key Grip.


  • 0

#18 Richard Boddington

Richard Boddington
  • Sustaining Members
  • 5460 posts
  • Director

Posted 27 December 2016 - 07:29 PM

Richard, you've said this before, but I don't know of a single agency here in LA that represents them. DPs, Production Designers, Editors, Costume Designers, 1st ADs, all of these can find below the line representation, but I've never heard of anyone representing Grips, Gaffers and ACs. In Britain, there are 'Diary Services' which take bookings for all kinds of crew, but even they don't seem to exist in LA.

 

 

Interestingly enough I have a neighbour who has a relative who is an agent in LA.  Her sole business is to rep, grips, gaffers, and ACs.  They do exist.  I'm not saying every grip, gaffer, or AC, in LA has an agent.  But some do, and I just think it's pretty funny.  No idea even why a DOP, or production designer would need/want an agent?

 

R,


  • 0

#19 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19638 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 27 December 2016 - 07:33 PM

I think I already listed the reasons why an agent is useful for a DP...


  • 0

#20 Kenny Keeler

Kenny Keeler
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 54 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 27 December 2016 - 07:34 PM

 

 

Interestingly enough I have a neighbour who has a relative who is an agent in LA.  Her sole business is to rep, grips, gaffers, and ACs.  They do exist.  I'm not saying every grip, gaffer, or AC, in LA has an agent.  But some do, and I just think it's pretty funny.  No idea even why a DOP, or production designer would need/want an agent?

 

R,

 

Do you have an agent Richard and if so as a Director why do you? I feel you have a negative opinion toward the agency topic so im curious.


Edited by Kenny Keeler, 27 December 2016 - 07:37 PM.

  • 0



Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Rig Wheels Passport

CineLab

FJS International, LLC

Abel Cine

Glidecam

Visual Products

Paralinx LLC

Ritter Battery

Aerial Filmworks

Willys Widgets

Metropolis Post

CineTape

The Slider

Technodolly

rebotnix Technologies

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Wooden Camera

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Tai Audio

Willys Widgets

FJS International, LLC

Paralinx LLC

Wooden Camera

The Slider

CineTape

Abel Cine

Rig Wheels Passport

CineLab

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Visual Products

rebotnix Technologies

Tai Audio

Glidecam

Metropolis Post

Ritter Battery

Aerial Filmworks

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Technodolly

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS