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Agent Representation

 
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brianforrester
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Joined: 30 Jul 2005
Posts: 492
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 8:45 pm    Post subject: Agent Representation Reply with quote

So... What has been everyone's experience with obtaining representation?

Do you typically try to secure agents in multiple cities? If so, have you run into any issues related to geographical boundaries for their representation, as far as what market they represent you in? What have you found to be the most successful method for both introducing yourself, and selling yourself to the agent? Any suggestions as to agencies who are well established and willing to consider "non-local" talent?

I've received a couple of responses recently that representing talent outside of "their city" is challenging because I'm not "there," when in reality I can be there via phone patch, or ISDN if necessary. I find it kind of interesting that in this day and age, when technology has all but eliminated geographical boundaries, that response still exists (maybe a potential red flag on the agent??) Although, considering that agencies are still requesting black and white head shots, maybe not so surprising.

I guess I'm looking for some insight, guidance and advice. I ultimately want to tap into markets that right now I don't have access to and maybe niavely think an agent (or agents) would provide a greater opportunity to tap them? Am I misguided in this thinking?

Thanks all!
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Jeff McNeal
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2005 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Brian,

There's nothing wrong with trying to find an agent outside your market, but as you've already seen, it can be tough. Sometimes I think that the "we don't represent talent outside of our market" deal is just a convenient excuse, just like the tried and true "we already have somebody who sounds like you.", but that shouldn't prevent you from trying.

As for introducing yourself, I would suggest keeping it fairly casual and brief, a couple of paragraphs at most, highlighting your experience and capabilities. Your commercial demo is what's going to get you in the door or not, so hit them with your best shot and keep it at a minute or less.

All you really want to do at this stage is initiate some positive dialogue, not close the deal. That will come later.

I currently have agents in San Francisco, Los Angeles, OC and San Diego and managers in New York and L.A.. Hmmmm. I think I need to start shopping for an agent in NYC.

It can be done.


Last edited by Jeff McNeal on Tue Sep 20, 2005 8:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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Philip Banks
Je Ne Sais Quoi


Joined: 20 Jun 2005
Posts: 10528

PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 1:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excuses? Agents have a number of them, none intended to be anything other than pleasant. We, as voices have to ask ourselves what we bring to the party. It is easier to sign with one if we can offer fame, a portfolio of clients or a unique marketable sound.

On any day an agency will receive a number of demo's most from people with little experience so Jeff's suggestion of presenting a demo with a letter giving a reason as to why they should take the trouble to listen is a great opener. From our point of view the location argument is fairly weak but if they are unable to find sufficient work for "in town talent" why should they add an out of town voice? In the UK there is a Londoncentric attitude and I'm sure that the same exists in the USA and Canada to a certain extent. If all you do in the UK voice overs and London is the place to be the practicalities are frightening. To buy a modest home you will pay around $450,000 which means to get a mortgage you need to show a net profit of around $150,000 per annum and very few are earning anything like that amount.
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lisaloo
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A thought or two about "excuses" (as I try NOT to compound the problem by sounding as if I am making excuses for agent excuses):

Wink

Quality agents are always very, very mindful of how many people they represent, both in deference to the mouths they already have to feed (the current roster) and out of respect for the new talent who would hope to be added.

Here's the situation in 2005: more than ever before, agents are being strictly limited to how many voices they can put on any given audition. It stands to reason that this is problematic for them every day.

Typical day in an agent's life:

"Put your top five men on this and get it back to me by 5:30."

"I want to hear three women who can do Karen from Will and Grace -- or Mrs. Constanza from Seinfeld. We haven't decided. But send three only -- four, tops."

"Please ask John Doe to read this."

"We're only having three women on this. One from you and two from ICM."


This is the state of the art, I'm afraid.

So . . . if the agents have fewer chances to record twenty (or even ten) people for something, it follows that there are already people on their rosters who feel as if they're being left out or not getting enough auditions. And it follows that the agents need to be very, very selective about adding more people to the client list.

And while it is true that an agent will sometimes take a pass based on geography, often I have heard it said that they have enough "mp3 voices" and really only want people who can attend auditions in town.

In the end, though, about all you can do is keep sending demos and hope that one or two will pan out. And I'd add that although a goal is often getting signed with the biggest and best, it's not a bad idea to aim for the smaller, newer agents in the larger markets. Provided you check them out and they prove to be LEGIT, it's not a bad idea to try the "big fish, little pond" approach to build your career.

FWIW,

Lisa

PS: Yes, some agents use excuses. But the really, really good ones? They'll just tell you straight up that they're not interested right now and wish you good luck.
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Bruce
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Joined: 06 Jun 2005
Posts: 7280
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I live in Phoenix and have two agents in Atlanta, which works because they almost never send me the same auditions (the first I signed with gets the audition in case of a tie). I'm also represented in Phoenix, Nashville and Melbourne, Australia. The bloke in Australia has never gotten me a job downunder, just in the Middle East: Lebanon, Kuwait, UAE and the like. They seem to like American voices over there.

In a smaller city like Phoenix (#15 metro) there are only four agents worth talking to, and you can only have one agent, and they handle everything in print, film and electronic media. In the big city, like LA, they specialize, and you can have a voiceover agent, a theatrical agent, a film agent, a print agent, and you can mix in managers, publicists and the rest if you're big time.

Bruce
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Jeff McNeal
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lisaloo's comments were exactly right on. Right down to the "P.S."

Another plus with targeting smaller agents, or ones just starting to add VO to their plate is that it's (marginally, at least) easier to get the attention of a talent agent when you already have one. Conversely, the ones just adding VO to their mix or who scan Craigs List for gigs aren't going to be very productive for you as opposed to the bonafide VO agents. But they could be useful as a stepping stone.

One more bit of friendly advice. If you display the least bit of "attitude" when approaching an agent, whether it be arrogance, or ego or making a pest of yourself (not to be confused with healthy confidence and friendly persistence), then you're chances of getting signed are going to be greatly diminished.
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brianforrester
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Joined: 30 Jul 2005
Posts: 492
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The last 5 posts have been exactly why I like I spending time here! Advice from pros who have actually been in my situation and can now look at it objectively with experience and knowledge! Thanks

All points very well taken. Persistence, politeness (with confidence), and patience, as with everything in this crazy business are they keys to success. I guess I should add talent and ability, huh! (although I must admit that I question the truthfullness of it at times)

Jeff, Phil, Lisa, Bruce.... Thank you.

More input is definately welcome.

Cheers,
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Deirdre
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Joined: 10 Nov 2004
Posts: 12934
Location: East Jesus, Maine

PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Never stop making friends in the biz. The best agent I have out of Atlanta was a referral.

I'd love an LA agent, but I don't think I could get one unless/until I move there.
For a while, anyway.

I'd like to see if Linda Jack will play ball with me now that a spot I'm on is getting airplay in Chicago.

Might be interesting.

I don't think I sound like anyone else, but I certainly wouldn't say that to an agent! It could be my ego talking.
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