Do Agents take away your agency

Convener(s): Matilda Leyser

Some disparate questions and thoughts:

What are agents useful for?

What would a creative relationship with an agent look like?

It’s very personal – who you get on with and what kind of work you want and what kind of relationship you want.

Remember they are working for you not the other way around.

You need to retain your agency as an actor and make an effort yourself to get work.

Key point of discussion is that: AGENTS HAVE ACCESS NOT POWER!

All they can do is suggest and persuade. They do not even have access to the director normally, just to the casting director.

There is a myth around the agent as the pinnacle of an actor’s aim, especially in drama school – the answer to all your hopes. The emotional investment in this dream is unhelpful and can make the actor feel very powerless.

Agents can sometimes develop a culture of being rood and tough – a front of abruptness. Is this how you want to be represented?

What is an agent’s job satisfaction?

Being a cog in a large wheel of creativity and making exciting things happen. Also seeing someone develop – a kind of mentoring role, a long term relationship with a client – watching them grow.

In big agencies you have less control of your clients. We talked about the career trajectory for an agent.

It is very different being an agent for creatives – directors, designers etc. - than for actors.

Co-op agencies are one way to place the actor back into a space where they feel they have control/ power/ agency.

Decide what kind of work you really want as an actor and make your choices from there. Will an agent help you get that work? What kind of agent will help?

Decide what you want and go for it – don’t get desperate! Desperation is a terrible thing – you can smell it!

How do you generate your own work? Be resourceful. Speak to people – doesn’t mean schmoozing – just means being you and caring about what you care about. You never know where a conversation or chance encounter may lead….

Actors often give up their agency. Agents don’t take it away, although sometimes they may perpetuate the myth of their power, rather than admitting their limits.