Ah, agent drop season. A painful but necessary time for reps to clean house so that their roster is filled with bookers for the upcoming pilot season. Yeah, there’s also a drop season after pilot season, but this one — at the end of episodic season — is particularly brutal. Or it can be. You’ve gotten this deep into the year, you can see all your goals for the New Year starting to shape up, you’ve got your team in place, your tools rock, your craft is up to snuff, so you’re ready to plan a little holiday break and then come back and BOOK… and then your team is not so much in place after all. Ugh.

Now what?

Do you curl up in a ball, reach out to your most negative friends, bitch about how unfair this business is, spend an extra week back home to soak up mom’s cooking and all that juicy sympathy for how no one in Hollywood could ever appreciate your brilliant talent?

Not if you’re smart. If you’re smart, you interpret this “bad news” as something similar to a gardener pruning back a healthy plant. It’s only gonna grow stronger because of this cut. What comes next has way more potential for greatness, since there’s not so much clutter through which to thrive.

I have an actor friend who makes a deal with himself, when bad news comes around. He gives himself exactly 24 hours to wallow in it. He acknowledges that there are negative feelings bubbling up over the experience, and he allows them to happen, but only for a day. A day later, if he’s still grousing about the drop, if he’s still mourning the released avail, if he’s still mulling over what he could’ve done differently to keep this whole big, bad thing from happening… his friends have the right to smack him. 😉 His accountability partners will tell him to “man up.” His acting coach reminds him of the deal he has made with himself. The time for sorrow is over. Now it’s time to take action toward the next tier.

Of course, it’s very tempting to wallow in sadness. We often have many well-meaning friends who will meet us in the pit of despair and jam with us there. That’s why having a policy about handling bad news is so powerful. When that well-meaning friend says, “Oh, no! What HAPPENED?!?” a week after your agent dropped you, you just say, “Hey. It happens. On to the next.” Sure, you could get lots of pity and “yes, and…” for your sadness, should you choose to go there, but maybe if you show off your professional attitude about a reality of this business, you could get a referral, instead.

“Wow. What a pro. He’s been dropped after he was really excited about going into pilot season with this team, but he’s okay. He knows this stuff happens. He’s diving in at IMDb-Pro and tracking trends to determine whose roster may still be receptive to having him join it. He’s reaching out to friends repped by his target agents and asking for insider info about how it feels to be a client there. He’s not shutting off the hustle just because he’s had a bump in the road. I should refer him to *my* agent.”

What a difference a mindset shift can make!

Just like when agents clean house, bring in new blood, and feel energized to pitch the actors new to their roster, you should feel the excitement of a fresh start, too. Don’t feed the part of your brain that wants to think about what might have been. Use that same mental energy to strategize your next move. Always forward, always upward, always onward!


Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!


Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/001733.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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