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Looking for an Agent


mbalbert
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  • Sustaining Member

You can start sending out your reel to a few and see if they are interested.

 

Considering the glut of camera talent in a city like Los Angeles, agents tend to come to you, not the other way around, when they sense that you are "hot" and will get lots of work and make money that they can then take 10% off of. That's a bit cynical, I know, but it tends to be true in the sense that you have to ask yourself what the agent will get out of the deal because THAT'S what will be going through their mind when they meet with you. Most people get an agent around the time they are getting a big job and want someone to negotiate for them and agents get interested because they see someone who is getting work on their own.

 

Agents are mainly about keeping your name floating out there, sending out your reel, and negotiating deals more than finding you regular work. That's not nothing, by the way -- it's great to have someone pushing for more money on your behalf. You can take the "high road" and tell the producer that you don't want to talk about money and let your agent play hardball.

 

The goal is to find an agent that is enthusiastic about you because they'll pass that along to those they talk to. Hence why it is easier when they come looking for you instead of you coming to them.

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for what it's worth guys, in my experience in stills, what you are saying is exactly true: it is a huge misconception that reps get you work, they really act more as negotiators, often playing "bad cop" to your "good cop". It has also been my experience that they are the worst people on earth, but i know this can't be true for all of them and i certainly want to emphasize that this has just been my own experience, and in the world of fashion photography.

 

by the way, martin short in "the big picture" plays a hilarious directors' agent.

 

jason kollias :ph34r:

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I have an agent in London since about 6 months back. They've been extremely helpful and supportive although they haven't gotten me any jobs yet. But that's not really their job in the end: their job is to put me in context, so to speak.

 

They represent about 20 different cinematographers. Some guys just do feature film work, others do only commercials and a few of us do promo's. A couple of these guys like Steve Chivers and David Ungaro and others are all real commercial pro's and they're always booked up.

 

The thing that's good about an agent is basically that much like a cinemaplex, where if your film is sold out, there are others readily available.

 

Say that client A wants Bigshot DP A for their commercial. He's in Bahamas shooting Nike commercials for 3 weeks so they can't use him. "Ok, then give us Bigshot DP B instead". Unfortunately, he's in Macchu Picchu with Spike Jonze shooting hummingbirds. "Ok, so what else you got?", the client says. That's when your agent mentions that they've got this brilliant South African promo DP who is very good. All of a sudden, the little swedish cinematographer Adam Frisch gets a shot at shooting a rather big promo that the "brilliant South African" DP had to turn down because he got his first really big commercial with the really hot production company. That's how it works many times - work trickles down.

 

Me, I have to do pavement pounding in London. I do all the grunt work myself, book meetings, go and show my reel to people and so on. My agent doesn't get me jobs, I have to do that. Which is fine for me, I never expected them to do that anyway. I know the film industry - it's as much about your personality as it is about how good you shoot. A personal contact is much more important than a great reel.

 

Be nice, be humble, meet people and let them know that you're a good guy and that you know how to shoot. Sooner or later that'll get you work.

 

So the role of an agent is to put you in context with other shooters. They'll also help you with contacts, like whom to call and whom to meet. They'll send your reel to companies, book you meetings and negotiate fee's for you. All this is very helpful and worthwile. And for me, being new in London, it's easily worth 10%.

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I am. Although I haven't found a room yet - I've been staying at a friends place.

I've been home for Christmas and 2 jobs, but will be back in London on the 9th.

That's when the serious room-hunting starts.

 

Love to have a beer.

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Terryfying indeed. Not so much the money, but the cockroaches living in the wall- to-wall carpeting and the gale force storm that passes through every crack in, or rather beside, the victorian window panes...

 

But charm goes a long way. And the brits have it. :lol:

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Reminds me of my favorite line in "Shadowlands", as the American boy gets tucked into bed with a hot water-bottle:

 

"Mom, why don't the British heat their houses?"

 

I stayed in a house once near Manchester during the winter and finally understood the phrase "the rising damp"... of course, if you were raised in the American desert as I was, any other place seems really damp in comparison.

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Hi,

 

Chilliness is normal; cockroaches are less so in the UK as a whole, but inevitable in cheap London housing I fear (Unless you're my cousin, who's lucked out on an extraordinary deal for his student accomodation.)

 

And anyone staying anywhere within a fifteen-mile radius of Manchester has got to expect at least a small degree of abject poverty!

 

Phil

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Sustaining Member

Which is why us smart english boys live in the country - you can keep London / manchester.

 

My brother works with an agent and swears by her. She DOES get him work and lots of it, they also invoice jobs 'by the book' and so he says they actually pay for themselves. She also arranges all travel and connections for him - she's like a personal secretary - really good service. I've been approached by two but work every week anyway so why do I need an agent? If I get the urge to move back into features then it may be useful, but I doubt that will happen, I prefer commercials. I think its a chicken and egg situation as David said, if they want you, chances are you dont want them...........

 

I'm shooting in LA at the moment - (not exactly warm here either by the way Phil), froze my butt off in a helicopter for 5 hours yesterday.

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  • 3 months later...

I echo exactly what David and Phil said in the 1st and 2nd replies. The only other thing that is beneficial is that they get your reel to people you wouldn't normally be able to contact because most companies will only accept submissions from agencies when they're requested. I'm with my 3rd agency now and each time I've been referred by someone who knows one of the agents. Even then it took 1 year of phone tag to finally get THE meeting at my current agency, literally. It's ultra competitive to say the least and an agent wants a: someone who's work they think they can sell and b: someone who already has regular people they work with.

 

I'm sure there are others here who can back me up on this.

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This all sounds like my son who is a 15-year old actor. He has an agent in Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City. He hears from them when there is a general call for male actors his age but that's it. I promote him like crazy and that's when we get a few calls. Mostly he gets quality work because his acting coach is a connected casting director.

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