ActorsBon: An Interesting Pickle

Dear Bonnie,
My manager has a few very notable clients, and then there’s someone like me. She tells me, “even though you’re in a few films with one lead at Sundance 2001, and two of them are nominated for indie spirit awards, you won’t be seen by agents [and I guess casting directors too] until you land a job.”
Hello, Catch-22!
Although I have no blockbusters behind me, my resume is strong with film and some TV (New York work) and I have video to prove it. I’ve gotten everything on my own (aside from the four national network commercials this year). I’ve read others’ insights on what an unknown, working actor should try, and my hands feel loosely tied. Should I sit back, type and send short letters to CD’s, NOT send letters to agents, and hope a CD “gets it” then brings me in where I ultimately book a role (in LA) so a “strong agency” sees I will make them money? Or is my manager snowing me? I’m from the east, after all.
Thank you,
-Christopher
Dear Christopher,
Hmm… interesting pickle you’re in. I can only give you an example of what happened to a friend of mine in a similar situation a couple of years ago. He was sick of getting all his own work and having his theatrical agent tell him there was just no way to get him sent out on commercials “at his level” — and he had good credits! So, he got together his two-look postcards (done litho by ABC Pictures for about $100 per 1000) and sent one to each commercial CD and provided his theatrical agent’s contact info only.
Well… the agent starts getting calls from commercial CDs, ready to see him for this role and that role. Agent calls my buddy and says, “Well, you’ve got guts, going around me… but you got yourself some work… and kept me in on it… so, I’ll sign you across the board.”
Boom! He’s working more now than ever.
Risky move, but it worked for him. So… I guess my advice is… try getting your manager some commissionable work (yes, you’ll be doing all the work… again) and then see what she says. March is not the time to try and land an agent anyway. It’s pilot season, which means they are all currently focused on their roster of clients, not taking on new ones.
Now, if, in a few months, your manager is still discouraging you from getting an agent, I’d consider going ahead and submitting to agents anyway. Email me again after trying the mass postcard mailing and let me know how that went. CDs (generally) love postcards, so go for it!
Keep doing good work — and thanks for writing.
– Bon

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