“My agent is discouraging me from doing theatre. I am an actor! I must act! And, they have not been sending me out much, so I don’t see what the problem is! Help me, DD!”
The dilettante douchebag responds,
So go act already. If your agent doesn’t like it, get a different agent. They work for you.
David S. Hogan responds,
Your agent wants you to go out there and book the jobs they send you on so they can earn their cut (10 – 20 percent). If you are out there, working on the stage, you are not going to be available for your agent now, are you? If you are too busy to go out and *attempt* to earn money for yourself and your agent via auditioning, well, then, maybe…maybe you should consider not having an agent.
Okay, let me ease up on you a bit.
For some actors, especially if you are in the union (AEA), your employment in the theater might be fairly lucrative. Or, at least a way to pay the bills for a few months. So, your desire to act, when paired with the necessity to earn a living, is a valid reason to take yourself away from agency work–*possible* agency work. If your agent took you on knowing full well that you were an active theatre actor, then your occasional work in the theatre should not bug them that much. Hopefully, you were up front with them when you first embarked on your path together.
For me, as an actor working in Seattle, I have made the decision to work on the stage only once per year. (There are exceptions, of course.) Why? The typical stage job lasts 8 weeks–sometimes longer–and that commitment gets in the way of commercial and “theatrical” bookings (film/TV). And I want to book agency/non-theatre work! I know many actors who have been released from their agency simply because they could not make themselves available enough. Yes, they were working. Yes, they were acting. But, they were making no money for the agency. I can almost guarantee that if you don’t sit down and discuss this issue with your agent, things will get worse. You will be sent out less often, forgotten, and possibly, released. Good luck and happy acting!
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