Okay, okay… before you panic, Keith and I are FINE.

In fact, we’re better than fine. 17+ years and going strong. Our partnership continues to be a work in progress and we choose each other every day. That, and we always go for the funny.

Today’s BonBlast is about relationship management in showbiz.

(Well, actually this would apply to relationships in any industry… but let’s keep the examples in the biz for today.)

One of the things I see actors spending a *lot* of energy on is fixing things with non-hell-yes reps.

Don’t know what a hell-yes rep is? Watch this quick vid.

Okay, so you’re repped by someone who can’t get you out. He says, “Get new photos.” You are so sure your photos are fine — mainly because when you self-submit, you get out plenty — but you want to make your agent happy so you think maybe you should throw money at this problem and get him some new tools to use.

Before you rush off to book another headshot session, I ask you: “Is this a hell-yes rep?”

Because if the answer is NO, you’re going to couples counseling when you should be filing for divorce. You’re trying to fix a non-problem for the wrong person! Your focus needs to be on targeting your next-tier hell-yes rep rather than chasing your tail for the guy you’re gonna be dropping (if he doesn’t drop you first).

Don’t know how to target your next-tier hell-yes rep? Watch this very NOT quick vid.

If the answer is YES — this is in fact your hell-yes rep — then you get your ish together so you’re providing this hell-yes rep with exactly what he needs to be able to pitch you as if his rent depended on it (because it does).

Same goes for non-rep relations.

You’re a director collaborating for the first time with a producer you’re excited to jam with. But then the meetings get tense. The communication starts feeling one-sided. She’s not pulling together the relationships she said she had when you first got together and the money’s not coming through so fluidly either.

If this is one short film, one episode of a webseries, one play put up at Fringe… you do what it takes to make it work. You find a way. You take the divorce-is-on-the-way route. Get the job done, knowing you’ll be out of this relationship soon enough.

But if it’s a slate of projects, an entire series with who knows how many seasons stretched out ahead of you, plays all season long at the theatre company… you’ve gotta hit some couples counseling, don’t you? You’re committed. That means there’s an investment.

Keep in mind, though, that a relationship investment is one in which BOTH parties must walk toward one another.

Of course you’re gonna have times when you’re walking away from each other a bit. But when there are differences of opinion, work style, fulfillment of needs… you’d better be sure you never get so far away from one another that you can’t find your way back.

I had an encounter last week in which it was clear the other party wanted no part in “coming together.” The agenda was to have some drama, assign some blame, and feel victimized. (And as y’all know, I try not to step into the drama triangle, ever.)

I’ve got no need to chase someone who’s got no plans to come together.

I’d love to know if you’ve got any relationships in your life that you can view through this new filter. After reading this, are you feeling like it’s time to reallocate your energy, time, and money into creating BETTER relationships rather than investing in ones that have shown you they’re just not clicking?

Look, I get why we sometimes stay around in relationships longer than we should. We figure we’ve invested so much already that we “can’t quit now!” But what’s actually true is that once we’re sure it’s a divorce situation, all that energy, time, and money spent in couples counseling is just feeding our need to beat ourselves up when it ultimately doesn’t work. We’re just fueling a future convo with ourselves about how silly it was to have stuck around hoping against hope for so long.

Let’s not do that.

There’s way too much cool stuff into which we can invest all of that energy!

Let’s free up space for our creative spirits to soar!

Much love,

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

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  1. Glenn August 14, 2018 at 12:47 am

    Wow. Timely. Just had an exchange with agent for what seems like the tenth time that I can’t book 55+ grampa roles. Agency insists on going by our chronological age when submitting for (most) roles. This one ended with “Just submit. You can’t compete for a 40ish dad role when there are younger age children – and the grampa role is the “closest” role to your age range.” I’m all for stretching my age range a bit – and if the CD wants to see you, then you figure they aren’t married to the age, right? But I cannot stretch to fit “grampa”. I’ve even had CDs tell me so. And, this one was a submission by tape, which is troublesome enough because you haven’t been seen through the normal submission process in the first place. Two seconds in and “he doesn’t look like a 55+ plus grampa,” and on to the next video. Awesome audition, prep time, taking off from work or losing sleep, et. al. wasted. The agency even refuses to use my choice of “go to” headshot, selecting an alternative shot they decided better fits my brand. MY BRAND! The one I’ve been carefully crafting for the past 6 years. The one I had when signing with this second agency in another region, and they agreed was my brand. The one that my original agency has worked hard to help me cultivate. Next day, agency posts to their FB page, exasperated that any actor would ever turn down ANY audition, regardless of whether you think you fit the breakdown or the role fits your brand. Because it’s a chance to audition!!! Yep, so is dancing outside Radio City and hoping I can be a Rockette, even though I’m taller than 5′ 10 1/2 and, you know, the wrong gender!

  2. Heather Alexander August 14, 2018 at 9:11 am

    So true!! This happens a lot when you’re an inspiring person. People want to latch on to you to increase their own chances. But they’re not offering anything for you. We’re better off without them.

  3. Bonnie Gillespie August 14, 2018 at 9:22 am

    Glenn — You’re a hoot! And definitely, it sounds like you’ve identified a NON hell-yes rep for you. I mean… they’ve got time to grouse on Facebook about you? Deffo not what I’d want my hell-yes rep doing (they should be busy negotiating contracts on my behalf).

    A quick note on the frustration of the self-tape for the wrong role… please do go ahead and give it your all once you’ve decided you’re going to do the damn thing. Sure, we’ll quickly turn it off going, “Wrong age. Not grandpa,” BUT if you’re excellent at what you ARE showing us (not trying to stretch to grandpa but instead showing us your bullseye), we’ll make a note of that and know we can get you for THOSE roles when we see your submissions (possibly from your future hell-yes rep you’ll be with soon).

    You’re doing great. Hang in there!

    Heather — Right on! It’s great to know you have a fanbase… and that sometimes the non-hell-yes folks that are gonna be in that group don’t make it less valuable a group… but they do show us they’re not our hell-yes (eve if they really wanna be). And that’s okay!

  4. Tonya Kay August 14, 2018 at 9:52 am

    I stayed in a non-hell-yes rep relationship for about 16 months after I knew it was over. Because she was also my best friend for 17 yrs prior. Just imagine. Now (in spite of some dedicated targeting and relationship building) not only do I not have rep, I also don’t have a best friend.

    There are some friends you can do business with and there are some you shouldn’t. And you don’t know ahead of time which is which. I do wonder if I could have saved the friendship had I disassociated the rep relationship earlier. And if maybe a hell-yes rep might have been interested in me had they not seen me as “associated” with that agency during that 16 months when “I knew” too. Hard to say.

    Funny twist: she’s changed firms now and wants to rep me! I’m sure you all know how hard it is to pass on something like that when you don’t have a team. But it is sadly still not a hell-yes.

  5. Bonnie Gillespie August 14, 2018 at 11:33 am

    Thing is, Tonya, a true best friend would want what’s best for YOU and would have told you — probably way before the 16 months you mention — “Hey… I’m not able to do as much for you as we KNOW someone else might be able to do. Let’s come up with how to get you better repped…” because she would be realistic about what her abilities are vs. someone else’s out there, for you.

    Of course, I know none of that feels good. It’s a shitty situation all the way around and I know you put a lot of love and trust and time into it all, hoping for the best possible outcome. It’s great that she’s back around now wanting to rep you again and I love that you’re able to see it’s still not a hell-yes. But we already know what settling feels like. Trusting that you don’t have to… that’s the work now.

    I’m proud of you. Love you!

  6. Tara Leigh August 14, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    Glenn…I think your non hell yes agent is my previous non hell yes agent! Look for me in the Ninjas FB group if you would like to chat!

    That said, remember that any audition is a chance to book the room if not the role.

    The upside of these situations is that it really helps clarify and crystallize what you are looking for in your next rep.

  7. Sean August 14, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    I do have a showbiz relationship that I am not sure is hell-yes. It’s more, “Oooo-kay”. It’s the best available in the area. They do most things right, but on some things and behaviors I think they are just wrong (though, admittedly, I could be wrong. I make room for that), so I sort of treat it like a buffet—take the good and leave the rest. When I move to L.A. the relationship will change anyway, so I’m kind of just making the best of it.


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