I keep hearing about managers and agents who LOVE actors who self-manage and then also about reps who HATE actors who self-manage. Of course, as an un-repped actor, I’ve been self-managing to GET to the point where I can have great rep but I don’t want to step on any toes. What’s the ninja way to handle this so I can get to the next tier?


Kel! Good to hear from you! Yes! There’s the old-school rep from the era of “don’t call us; we’ll call you,” back when it was a two-martini lunch that got you the edge (well, that still helps, actually) and it was all about having the RIGHT agent. RIGHT had nothing to do with whether or not there was someone of your exact type on their roster, or if they had great relationships with the casting directors whose offices actively cast your target projects, or even whether they could help a developmental client get that first network co-star or not.

And then there’s the new generation of agents and managers who “speak ninja.” They GET that you’ve had to hustle and build relationships and make connections and get seen and do the social networking thing and create footage and target with strategy just to get to the point at which you actually need representation to help get you from one tier to the next. Heck, they’ve had to do that too, as creatives!

They’re the folks who are going to want to know with whom you’re connecting at workshops or via showcases or through networking events or because of personal relationships. They’re the ones who will be stoked to hear about the progress your self-produced webseries’ Kickstarter campaign is making. They’re gonna “yes, and…” your hustle.

Now, it’s not that one of these types of representatives is better than the other. The only thing to focus on with this is which type of agent or manager would be better for YOU. Update your show bible every time you get a sense of what STYLE any particular rep out there might be.

When you see an agent tweet a celebratory mention of a client whose self-produced short made it to a major festival, NOTE THAT. Since you are a content creator, you’re gonna want rep who is thrilled that his clients are out there making things happen.

And if you’re an actor who would prefer a rep who says, “Trust me. Just sit back while I take care of getting you in front of the right people. Stop attempting any sort of ‘networking.’ You’ll just get in my way,” then when you take a meeting with an old-school manager who says such things, NOTE THAT in your show bible as well.

There are reps who want to take control to shape actors’ careers and others who want to jam with self-managing actors ready to take it to the next level together. I’ve watched this shift happen over the years and it’s thrilling! Because finally, folks like you have the ability to choose not only the agent or manager who’s the best fit for your current tier and your next-tier goals but *also* whose vibe aligns with yours! Hooray!

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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