Working with your agent
Working with your agent
So, you have done your research and, prior to signing with your agent, you have made sure you are on the same page in terms of casting and career direction. You have provided them with all the information they need to generate your press kit. What next?
The first time you have an agent it is easy to think that all your problems will be solved, your diary will be full and you will never have to keep your ear to the ground for work again. You can go home, start practicing and wait for the phone to ring. For a select few this is a reality, but for the majority working with an agent is not as hands-off as it may sound.
However, with a little effort on both sides, having an agent is still undoubtedly highly beneficial.
Firstly, the immediate positives:
• Your agent only gets paid when you do, regardless of how many auditions and castings they arrange. There isn't an agent out there that wants to see their client unemployed, so you both have a vested interest in making this partnership work.
• An agent acts as an intermediary, which allows you to distance yourself from the difficult subjects of fees/NA negotiations and employment terms and conditions.
• Every-time you hand over your 10 – 15% commission on a contract you may have generated independently, think of it as payback for points one & two.
· By signing you, your agent has imbued you with a certain kudos. Their belief in your abilities will translate directly to the casting world. They have invested time in creating your professional online profile and their faith in you can be infectious.
· Smaller jobs, often falling below your agency’s commission threshold, may still be of interest to you. If you explain the potential advantages of undertaking such work, your agent may be happy for you to make a direct approach, in turn making you financially more attractive to the smaller companies.
Secondly, maintaining those positive vibes:
· Keep in touch with your agent. Try to keep communication to office hours and keep emails and phone calls concise. Develop a rapport and a relationship but keep things professional.
· Keep your ear to the ground. Audition Oracle is a fantastic tool to keep abreast of forthcoming opera audition opportunities. If you hear of potential auditions that you are interested in, let your agent know. Always keep them in the loop.
· When your agent bags you that audition you have been begging for, make sure you are prepared for it. This may sound obvious but sometimes in the search for auditions, balance can be lost. Always keep your audition arias bubbling nicely on the back burner and be ready for anything!
· When signing with your agent, you will have agreed on roles and repertoire for which you wish to be considered. However, voices and people change. If you feel you would be better suited for a role other than the one you have been put forward for, always be upfront and discuss it. Any disparity between you and your agents perspective is unnerving for all concerned. Communication is the key.