Photo Source: Spencer Alexander
A few weeks ago, I was at a New Year’s Eve party and I came across one of those people who are completely lacking in self-awareness. I’m talking about a guy who stood mere inches away from me while he went on and on about all the things that are wrong in Hollywood. The concept of personal space was completely alien to him.
I find that as an agent, I have a similar problem with actors. It’s not that you guys always stand too close when we’re talking, but truth be told, a lot of actors don’t respect boundaries.
Just look at what goes down on my Facebook page. I am constantly bombarded by friend requests from actors I’ve never met. And I know exactly what those people want: a path to representation or the ability to use our fictional friendship to contact my industry friends.
Approaching agents you’ve never met on social media is a bad idea. We’re not going to be interested, because we know you have an ulterior motive. And the same is true if we’ve met; there still has to be a genuine connection between us. That doesn’t mean we met at a workshop and I nodded when you finished your scene. That was just me trying to stay awake. A real connection is based on a conversation that didn’t involve you wanting something from me.
And to be clear, I don’t usually allow clients to friend me either. Call it old-school, but I feel that being friends on Facebook crosses some sort of line. And the actors I represent don’t need to see drunken pictures of me running half-naked through Chinatown.
(I don’t have a LinkedIn account, but if I did, I’m sure most of the people approaching me there would be actors seeking representation, not dudes like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.)
Boundaries also exist outside of work hours. Now, don’t get me wrong: If something needs to get done, I am available 24/7 for my clients. But it’s very uncool when they approach me at night or on a weekend for nonemergencies.
The reason clients even have that option is because I give everyone I represent my cellphone number. Why? Because if something comes up that really needs my attention, I’d rather hear about it sooner than later. But I always tell them they should think of my cell as the Bat Phone: It’s for emergencies only. So if the Joker just broke out of Arkham, it’s perfectly fine to call me on a Sunday.
As for actors I don’t represent, there’s absolutely no reason to bother me during my personal time unless your name rhymes with Mayan Jostling or Stemma Drone.
Just last week, I was up early on a Sunday, getting some coffee at my local Starbucks, when an actor walked up and announced that we had met at a workshop three weeks earlier and he was wondering if I’d had a chance to watch the reel he sent me. Moments like this will one day inspire me to apply for a carry permit.
Look, I love you. I really do. But being an agent is a tough gig and I need my downtime. So please show a little courtesy and respect. I’m just trying to live my life.
Ready to find an agent the right way? Browse Backstage’s Call Sheet talent agency listings!