Entertainment news is constantly littered with stories about actors leaving their representation, to move to another. Of course this isn’t a surprise, as talent agencies (especially the top tier ones) are constantly trying to poach clients from one another. However, one common misconception here is that actors have all the power in the rep-client relationship. This is indeed false as these relationships are two-way streets, and agents/managers can readily fire (aka “drop”) clients that they feel aren’t pulling their weight.
For actors, especially up-and-comers, getting dropped by your rep can be quite traumatic and difficult to recover from. Thankfully, most companies won’t just drop actors on a whim, and will only do so under certain circumstances. Listed below are some of the more common reasons why actors get dropped, so take these to heart when working with your rep!
Passing/rescheduling too much
Agents and managers work very hard to get their clients auditions and job opportunities. When they send out appointments, there is a level of expectation that you, the actor, should go to that appointment. Your reps will know what kinds of roles and projects are suited for you, meaning that when they send you an audition, they think it’s good for your career. Because of this, unless you have a strong negative reaction to the materials, you should always go in and audition! If you are constantly passing on auditions for less-than-extraordinary reasons, you are showing you rep that you don’t appreciate their hard work, and that you don’t really care about your own career.
Similarly, constantly needing to reschedule auditions can become quite irksome for your reps. If you’re busy working on other acting jobs, that’s one thing, but if you don’t have enough time in your schedule to make room for auditions, you might want to rethink your priorities…
Like any important relationship, good communication is essential. Not only should you always be readily accessible via phone or email, but you should also be timely and prompt with your responses. Not returning phone calls or responding to emails make your reps’ jobs all the more difficult, as pretty much everything in the entertainment industry moves quickly and is time sensitive. If you don’t communicate well with your reps, they won’t be able to get you as many job opportunities, and no jobs mean very unhappy reps. Makes sense, right?
Bad reputation/PR image
Another aspect about working with a rep that is often overlooked by actors is the fact that they, in effect, represent the name and brand of the companies that they are repped by. Talent companies very much pride themselves on their client rosters, and will become very hesitant about keeping a client on if that person is viewed very negatively by the public. An actor with a bad reputation and public image not only tarnishes the company that reps them, but it also makes it harder for the reps to find them work. If no one wants to hire you as an actor because you have a bad PR image, how long do you expect your reps to continue working with you?
You’re Really Annoying
This reason is obviously a very general statement, but many agencies and companies will admit that they have actors that are “more trouble than their worth”, usually pertaining to annoying habits and tendencies on the client’s part. These annoyances can run the gambit, but are usually made up of the above-mentioned, and a slew of others. Some common traits that really get under a rep’s skin are treating your rep like they are therapists, constantly making extra demands, and having a diva-like attitude.
Not enough bookings
At the end of the day though, it’s still all about the money. You could be the nicest, most courteous actor in the world, but if you aren’t able to book a lot of jobs, it makes it difficult for your reps to justify keeping you on their roster – although being nice certainly doesn’t hurt, and actually decreases your chances of being dropped. Conversely, agents/managers are far more willing to overlook a client’s “flaws” if they manage to consistently book well-paying jobs. Of course, this isn’t a universal rule, as even the most lucrative of clients are fired by their reps for any of the reasons listed above.
As you probably gathered, there are multiple reasons why actors get dropped by their agents and managers. Getting dropped can be really difficult for an actor, but just know that, for the most part, it isn’t personal. Acting is a business, and if you can’t justify your worth to a company, it makes it tough for them to keep you around. Also, just because you are dropped by an agency doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to be repped. Rather, it just means that the company may not have been the best fit for you, so you are probably better off finding one that more closely matches your needs and career goals.