Hi Bonnie,

I’m writing because I have a conundrum that I’m unsure how to handle. Here’s the situation: I had a commercial agent for about ten months. I didn’t book anything through him, but I did get consistent callbacks and two avails. I did my best to be a model client: never missed an audition or asked for new appointment times, and when necessary, I booked out well in advance.

Cut to last October. He called with an appointment, and I was unable to attend due to a family issue. I told him I couldn’t go, but before I could explain why, he became irate, told me he didn’t want to work with me anymore, and hung up. My subsequent calls and emails went unanswered, so I contacted the person who referred me to him.

She shrugged and said, “He can be erratic. He’ll call and apologize in a few hours.” That call never came, and shortly thereafter, he left the agency to set up shop on his own.

This brings me to my question. When I go to workshops, casting directors and agents often ask, “I thought you were with XYZ agent?” or “Who were you with before?”

How do I tactfully explain that we are no longer working together? I’ve tried different euphemisms: “We saw different directions for my career,” “It didn’t work out,” etc, but it always feels like a negative reflection on me. As though the person I’m speaking to hears, “I’m difficult, so he dropped me, and now I’m trying to cover for it.” The conversation often shuts down there. I’ve also tried, “He’s no longer at P and Q agency,” which leads to, “Why didn’t he take you with him?” or “Why didn’t someone else at P and Q pick you up?”

Bonnie, I genuinely have no idea why he dropped me. I’ve looked at anything I could have done wrong; all I can think is that I booked out for three weeks in August, which, yes, is a long time, but still doesn’t seem worth going scorched-earth over. Is there a better way to explain our parting of ways to casting directors and agents? It’s becoming difficult to move past, professionally.

Also, if you see something in this story that I don’t (like bad etiquette on my part) please let me know so I can fix it!

Okay, first off, relax. It’s sooo much less “a big deal” than it feels to you. Remember, you’re the only one who knows what actually happened, so when you’re asked about your previous rep, you have a little leap in your heart, but you have to believe me when I say that no one else has that same emotional reaction. That lives in you because you know The Whole Truth.

Everyone knows that sometimes personalities don’t mesh. That sometimes perfectly professional people aren’t meant to work together. It’s no big deal. Every day, someone leaves an agency and starts his own company and chooses which of his clients come with, while others are held by the original company, and still others are just left in limbo, dropped, done. It’s sooo no big deal. It happens every day!

So, the next time you are asked about your past representation status, the focus needs to be not on all the backstory that *you* know to be true, but instead about where you are now. “Oh, yeah. I had a run with so-and-so agency but now I’m on my own.” If asked, “What happened?” the answer can be as simple as, “My point person left the agency to start his own company, took his top few bookers, I wasn’t one of those, and since he was the one most excited about me at the company he departed, it was better for me to take the time to reboot.” Done.

I mean, really, no one is going to grill you about some short hiatus you had to take due to real life and its twists and turns (certainly no one you’d want to actually work with, going forward, anyway). Everyone in this industry has those issues. It’s just the way it is, sometimes. And if this guy was unreasonable in his reaction to your “real life” issues, you’re not the only person with whom he has been unreasonable! More likely than anything, you’ll tell someone you were once with him and receive a reply of, “Oh, my. How’d you survive THAT?” and you’ll be a total pro who says, “I’m glad we had a chance to work together and I’m glad to be on to the next chapter.”

๐Ÿ™‚

Seriously, just relax. It’s only because you know all the drama behind the drop that you worry anyone else is dinging you for it. Just move on. And yay! Toxic person out of your life! ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s great news.


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/001627.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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