THE ADVENTURES OF AN ACTOR. FINDING “THE” AGENT PART 1
THE ADVENTURES OF AN ACTOR
FINDING “THE” AGENT
January 26, 2018
I wrote 65 emails to 65 Acting Agencies in the last couple of days. I wonder how many will write back. I wrote them with all my confidence and dedication and will do again if there are no results for now.
Practically and objectively thinking (not positive, optimistic or subjective) I am practically a little NOBODY in the eyes of the great Agents, Directors, and Producers. I have been acting only for 3 and a half years, I have no drama school, I am a foreigner with an accent, not model-gorgeous type, I only have 5 Acting Awards and 1 nomination in some small to medium level film festivals and never been in any great Box Office film not even as an actor with one line.
Other details that don’t help? My IMDb star meter fluctuates from 30000 to over 100000 no matter how much promotion I do or don’t. About my “fan base” what can I say? My Twitter followers are a bit under 500 and IG followers… around 250. I won’t even bother to remember my official FB page. Why? I don’t pay for followers nor I hired someone to do this for me. Maybe I should… Last week I was effectively told no producer would risk a dime on me as my IMDb star meter was about 69.000… although they were advertising on Facebook and my knowledge, as small as it is, the A-listers they were asking for don’t spend time there looking for jobs. Plus, let’s be honest about the IMDb StarMeter! I have been pushing it in front of everyone I could find on media for two weeks and I jumped from about 100000 to 69000 and now waiting for the next Monday to see how much a better actress I will become!! By the way, one can pay someone to artificially raise it. I am starting to think about investing in this. Would I a better choice then? Maybe I should ask that guy again. Not his fault though, he just wants his investment back. Maybe it is time I stop being a sweet little purist. Maybe the game is as fake as the two layers of makeup and the fillers in old starlets faces. Maybe it all has to do with numbers… also, regarding the StarMeter I saw “actors” with only extra jobs on their CV with a great number because they pay or shove it under everyone’s noses but truly those credits are emptier than a bad walnut. Maybe I should send some of those links to that producer and ask him if they are better than me. Meh… I am just being bitter and petty. Apologies.
Somehow though I feel some people there, high up, don’t see it that way. Maybe talent does weigh in a little more than it seems, after all, how long can numbers hide the truth? Not that I am saying I am the most talented out there, that is to be decided by the ones who actually don’t care about numbers and truly look at an actor; and just like beauty, people have various preferences. So, talent level does not come into this discussion as one may love me other may hate me. It’s that simple.
Ok, back to my adventures on finding “the” Agent for me.
No worries I will only just tell the truth and will be using alphabet letters to keep everyone happy. From what I heard about having an agent and got to discover myself, it’s like in a marriage. It has to work and the people involved must do their part of the work.
My first Agency was “X”. Some swear by it, I… only got 1 audition in a year. And that for a commercial… I don’t really have much interest in them, I must admit.
There were also “Y” and “Z” until I got “W”. But nothing happened. No audition, no advice, just time slowly passing by.
Since the audition I got from Agency “X” it’s been over 2 years to my only one audition with “W”. To be honest I could see it too on Spotlight (so nothing exceptional) and could but didn’t apply on my own as I did not consider to be a good fit for their requirements. And that was all since August 2016.
I do get a lot of auditions on my own, indie films, low – small – medium budget, networking works in this department and I keep quite busy, but I must admit that all my work, great or not, was only done by myself. Obviously, we all look for an agent in order to get to the next level. If not, we would all just do music videos for expenses and a sandwich.
In April 2017, I got into a bit of conflict with Agency “W” because of my numerous auditions. I do like to advertise having these auditions, looks good, shows you’re busy, in demand. And strangely enough, I always kept the agency informed. And one more thing, we are NOT exclusive and being accused of working with someone else, as apparently that was the key to my so very busy time, was a little too much for me. Obviously, I had proof it was only networking and acting sites, so no one could really “touch” me but I got offended. Still am. I could have been asked nicely, not accused. A bit sensitive about that!! Did not drop them then, I got a female lead in a small budget feature film, got paid, wanted someone to look over my contract and desired peace of mind to have my project done. Since then I finished another one of my feature films, again good female lead role, so time passed, and I am still with them although had a bit of a serious issue in October when I did the 1 self-tape for the only 1 audition they found for me.
October 2017. I do believe it is an agent’s job to push an actor if in a certain moment in time he or she needs it. One can make a mistake, not be on top for a moment, we’re human. Yes, the business is hard and if one loses it in an audition won’t get the part. But sometimes, like in my case, I was in a bad moment in life (not looking for excuses but after my grandfather died – while I was on set – my father ended up in a coma – while being on another set 2 weeks later and if he would have died… I don’t really want to get there – so please excuse me for not being a cold-hearted career climber robot) and made a self-tape during which I lost a part of the character’s physical manifestation (I was supposed to cough and be close to death). My bad, sure. But there was still a lot of time until the deadline. My agent dismissed my self-tape and the way she did it was quite hurtful as she made me feel totally incapable. Why was she representing me for if she had such a “lovely” opinion of me??
Would you like to know what I would have expected from her? To make me do it again. For there was time. To ask me what the hell was I thinking and make me do it again. Because everyone has a crappy moment and if there is time to mend it, it should be pushed towards that. Someone who sees an actor’s potential (that is why an agent represents any actor who is not an established A-lister, right?) will push. Let’s not pick on to the details that I didn’t apply in the first instance for I felt I was not a good fit and let’s not say that I found out before my agent that the requirements changed a day before she bashed me to “only Indians” or something similar… but I thought maybe she knew something I didn’t. In the end, I believe my agent did not want to admit that she was behind with the updates and was much easier for her to throw me into a wall. I know agents are busy and obviously fall behind, they’re human too, but she could have told me requirements have changed and then instruct me for the future on my mistakes to make sure next time I am on top of the situation.
Those were the 2 unpleasant issues I had with Agency “W” but next to the lack of auditions I feel I need to start over. I am looking for a new, more “nurturing” agency. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t need babysitting, I need to deal with the right type of humans.
Back to now.
Anyway, I really want to move forward. Does anyone believe I love looking for jobs on the weird, low quality acting sites out there??? I would work my ass out for every audition an agent would send me to! I would love to make the CD happy and my agent proud. Just get me there!! And let me know I can do better! But for now, what should I do? … become more visible? Get more awards? Squash out all it is possible from my films? Well then, I have two feature films lined up to be ready this mid-2018 so I am going to discuss with the producers & directors about festivals or even inviting prospective agents to the screening if kept in London of course.
Before Agent “W” I met 3 other possible Agents, 2 before signing with them and one while being upset with their April accusations. We didn’t match. Some felt very unorganized and with some, simply there was no “spark”. One had no idea I never went to drama school or if I am on Spotlight. The selected list only had about 15 names (seen it!) so I suppose they somehow made that selection – to be honest I kind of felt they picked me up for being pretty – as I can’t imagine how they could be so unknowing. How hard it is to draw a table, make a few columns with foreigner/English, school/no school, Spotlight / no Spotlight and put an X in there? I got to the meeting place. They were clueless and unprepared… I want an agent to have a bit of an idea of WHY he/she called me in! I was looked at like I just would have walked in there from the street demanding to be seen and they had no idea who I was. I felt like a piece of cute walking meat they picked after looking at great photos. It bothered me. I would very much rather be told things like “we don’t think you are prepared enough for our level” or anything else but what went on in there and made me feel like I have effectively wasted a couple of hours of my life just to be made to feel inadequate – “You don’t have drama school? Oh… / So I guess you are not on Spotlight! / Yes, I am! / Really? How? / I worked for the credits.”… etc.
Am I too pretentious? Maybe. I am very organised. Messy sometimes, true but on essential things? I can rearrange chaos itself if I need to.
The next Agent called 20 minutes before our meeting to tell me they were being delayed due to other meetings and to arrive an hour later. This is London, basically, you leave the house 2 hours before everything and get there half an hour earlier just to be sure (at least I am). Usually, there are cafe shops and other little places you can wait. Nothing to be upset about, this is the business, right? Well, no! Not when the location is in a mostly industrial area, no cafes, no little shops, just a piss smelling bus station with drunk/high people picking up on others. It was a very horrible hour of my life. They had an office, they had space, they could just let me arrive and wait there with a toilet at hand and some quiet time in a corner. No fuss, I am okay with waiting, I have been auditioning, filming, waiting for hours, it’s okay. But not outside in the cold, in piss smell and aggressed by others. Just like in the first case, my enthusiasm died before the meeting truly begun. Some might say I should take it and say thanks and pray to be sent to auditions. But that’s not me. If you really look around to the way some arrange a place (even if with little money) or how they treat others (I don’t mean luxurious) you will realize what you will receive in the future. Some might not yet have money for doorknobs but will call you inside and warm you up with a tea and offer a place to sit. Some might be living in chaos but will know where their stuff is, other may look posh and expensive and be simply terrible. There are signs and unfortunately for most people, I see. I am the kind of person that will get up and leave if a crass behaviour is present or do my audition but not take the agent/project on because of what I’ve noticed and felt (I listen to my senses, my instinct, not calculate the money). The guy said he will write back to let me know on his decision. He didn’t. I knew he would not take me on, we had not a shred of connection and I knew I would say no even if he would have considered me, but he never wrote back – and that is one of my pet peeves – don’t say you’ll do something and then don’t do it – better say nothing and I am good with whatever comes (or doesn’t).
The last agent in the list which I met is great with her actors. Loves them and works for them, I recommend her to others in need of someone. But we had no spark when we met. I simply could not communicate with her. I was practically mute and preferred to wander outside in nature. There was something about her that just did not vibe with me even if my logic was counting the good points on her behalf. We met at a training course, it was a good place to be and a great opportunity to connect and really see one another. As she said, “I was very quiet”. Believe me, if I want to make someone (who knows me pretty well) laugh I tell them what she said. Their reaction usually is of head tilting on a side, looking confused then starting to laugh uncontrollably. Yeah… that is how quiet I am… Funny. We just had nothing to connect to. Some might say I should have tried more. I do want an agent, right????? But I can’t. I am an instinctual being, and even if I am known for my freaky logic, cold and practical sometimes, when it comes to people, I don’t care about logic. It’s all feel and if it’s not then it’s out of the question. Hence, I only have few people in my life and… I am good with that! I know exactly where everyone stands, who is going to be there and for how long and exactly why who I will just put up with for the time of a project or who I will be looking up after all ends. I like getting involved with heart and soul when I do something, and I’ve met enough “characters” and situations in my life to know it’s not worth it accepting things just because in need (like Agent “W” which I know is an ongoing mistake and an unhappy compromise…).
January 27th, 2018
One of the things in my life I still must confront is one that led me to write to grand agencies and in particular to one Agent (“H”) from one big Agency that has been on my mind since the beginning of all this acting life.
Some time ago I was a little kid sprouting out and dreaming of my future life and had beautiful thoughts on how my life will be one day. Being an actress and joking about it after seeing some film on the big screen was part of it. Let’s say it was a dream that did not match my father’s plans and was met with “this thought should not even be allowed to take root in your mind; that is a world you’ll never reach; don’t even think about it, you’re not special” (what a cliché!). No acting, no “theatre - like” reading (will speak about this in another article), no dream of going to art school, nothing that seemed unpractical to him was allowed. “No drawing school unless you agree to become an architect” …Architect? Really? No way! That was your dream not mine” and so on and so on. In a way, I get it. In a country like Romania, there is nothing someone can really do and have a decent life if choosing art, so parents do try to push towards medic, lawyer, IT whatever brings the bucks. But that is no way to behave and raise a child. Forbidding to develop is the worse hence me spilling my guts here about him. Due to various reasons, I do know, my mom preferred to stay away and not get involved (why have kids at all? But... whatever). We’re here now. After dodging my father’s plans in as smart ways as I could, I somehow managed to find something I liked. Botany was my love. As a Biologist, after my Ph.D. I ended up working at one of the most respected universities in the country. Everyone was proud. For me, Botany had what I was in love with – colour, texture, survival instinct, beauty, logic, invasiveness, life. And it was ok for a while. But life has a way of turning you back to your first thoughts. Yes, life always finds a way. Events got out of control, situations exploded, the past crawled back and memories long gone were back (will also touch this subject in a future article). And from that moment nothing was the same. I could see clearly the world I was in, how future will turn to be, could see the people, the facts, the reality. It was like fog had risen and with all the love for my work, I had nothing left to stay there for. Nature is all around me. As a Biologist I see it, I understand it and I enjoy it. But my life had to change. So, all was left behind, most ties torn, and a new life begun far, far, away from “the place of the forbidden dreams”. The shock of family and friends… oh, that was a delight!! The shock of leaving such a high appraised workplace, years and years of work and degrees in science. OMG! I am still laughing! Why? Because I am free.
So, I wrote to THAT Agent “H”. Because I am worthy of doing that. I am allowed to dream that far, I have the right and I owe it to myself to write to him. I have all the rights in this world to dear to dream of that “forbidden” world. Because it is not forbidden. I may not be there yet, but I am finding my way towards it. Step by step, I am unwrapping and throwing away the layers of denial, of lies, of control and oppression. It’s my life, my freedom, my dream. He might never write back. I might never get to meet him or be represented by that particular Agency. But I did it. I made it to that point in my life when I am aware I can just do something simply because I desire it and that I am my own special little one who can try to get to whatever my heart wants. It’s sad. Really. But not unique. What truly is sad is that the world is swamped with people like me, but they could not find the way to empower themselves. And might never do it. Acting has set me free. Opened me up and allowed myself to manifest. This is how I know is what I was meant to do, at least for now. That this is the right path. And I am not afraid anymore.
Let us leave behind the past and the processes of self-evolution and let’s continue this strange adventure and see what happened with all those emails.
Out of 65 emails, I only received 4 automatic replies, 1 email saying my details will be handed further to the agents and 7 who kindly said NO. Basically, only 8 agencies replied in one way or another. I am not complaining, just stating the facts not only for the starting out actors out also for the outside people who can’t just get how out of 65 none was interested? Imagine them making 65 applications and I bet you can already hear the phone calls and the interviews taking place. Of course, but there is no business like our business and we look like freaks to “them”.
Regarding other issues, my StarMeter reached …who the f**k knows (LOL)!!!! Every time it goes up I feel the stardom! I am so much more talented and important this week then I was in the last 2 or 3 weeks. Call me! Cast me! Represent me! Too much sarcasm? Ups, sorry :D. Wait, wait… I won’t be as good next week as I am this one so please hurry : ))))))))))))))))
I might have added a few more followers here and there on my media but nothing significant. Really, have no intention of paying people for this. Seriously. I have better things to do with money.
As regarding applying to Acting Agencies, I suppose I will take a bit of a break for now. I am still with Agent “W” and as things aren’t that rosy between us, I keep hoping I might get a reply and be called in by any of the targeted agencies. In the meantime, I am enjoying the winter and painting a little. Will write more once things start moving in one or another direction.
Keep you posted!
And lots of luck to all of you actors out there who know this struggle!
© 2018 Carmen Silva