Do Agents Pass on Projects without Telling the Actors about the Offers?

I just finished reading your article on Personality Conflicts and I had a question about one of the two actors you’d never call in again if the choice were yours. The actor that “blew off” the role when cast: Do you think his agent had anything to do with that? I’ve heard that sometimes agents turn down roles for their clients without ever telling them.

Ah, great question! You’ll recall that the actors I wrote about had blown off gigs or meetings two times. The first time, I’ll go through an agent or manager exclusively, but when there’s a no-show, you should know that I am certain to speak with the actor directly to ensure that there will be no repeat of the first no-show. I want to KNOW that the actor has all of the information; in case miscommunication through a third party was the culprit of the first no-show. So, in the two specific cases I wrote about, there is no chance the actors weren’t getting word about the projects from their agents.

But your question brings up a very valid question I’d like to address. Do agents turn down roles for their clients without ever telling them? No. Not usually. Most actors have an understanding with their agents that all offers must be brought to the actor’s attention. In fact, this agreement can be spelled out in the contract or general service agreement you sign with your rep. Certainly, an actor may reach a level at which he or she tells the agent to pass on any offer below a certain level of billing or below the actor’s quote. Even so, most “name” actors I know still like to be kept aware of the offers that come in for them. They’ll defer to the agent to ignore non-offer contact (copies of scripts sent over, synopses of plots with a request to check interest and availability, etc.), but usually want to know about offers that meet their parameters.

If you are concerned that your agent or manager isn’t communicating all offers (or non-offer contact that may be of interest to you; like being asked to go straight to producers on a non-paying spec pilot, for example), by all means, insist that this be a part of your relationship: full disclosure. Remember, you have signed with an agent or manager so that you have representatives pitching for you AND so that you have a filtering system for the opportunities that come your way. If you prefer to keep an eye on everything that comes through, spell that out up front. It’s your right to do so.

Good luck in all that you do! Thanks for writing. Happy New Year!

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 Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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