Hey there Bonnie G!

Firstly, thank you. Thanks for being here as a resource, for your support and encouragement, and also for your availability.

I found you through Lesly Kahn’s recommendations blog and have listened to your podcasts, read your book, and I read your column regularly.

My question is about theatrical representation. I am new to LA (six months) but have been acting in smaller markets for the last seven years. I have a long list of indies and commercials on my resumé and was lucky enough to find representation through one of the top commercial agencies in town in a short amount of time. I’ve been repped by them for about two months and in that time have booked a national commercial, been on hold for a few others, and had probably about a dozen callbacks.

Though I have a manager, I’m not particularly excited with what he can bring to the table and I’m continuing to seek theatrical representation. Is it appropriate at this point to ask my commercial agency to set me up a meeting with their theatrical department? I’m new to this market and unsure of protocol.

Thanks for any advice!

Heya Cora and welcome to LA! Loves me some Lesly Kahn. Thank you for checking out her awesome resource list and for finding me on it. 🙂 Yay! Way to be off to a huge start with great commercial rep and a ton of wonderful experiences in the commercial casting offices. Hooray!

Here’s the thing about those “top commercial agencies” in Los Angeles: usually, their theatrical departments are even *more* exclusive. I know actors who bring in well over $100K a year in commercials who cannot get signed by their agencies’ theatrical divisions. It’s just a completely different tier of acting, because at these largest agencies, you’re looking at series regulars on hit sitcoms and actors with studio film deals in that theatrical division.

If you’re still looking to bring in your first network co-star or even if you’re going from your co-star tier to guest-star level, you’re small fish in this particular pond. That doesn’t mean it cannot be done! It’s just not as likely as something else.

Maybe a better approach at this point would be to have your manager start setting you up on meetings with strong theatrical agencies who won’t be looking to snatch you away from your current commercial agency.

One of the things that often happens is theatrical reps *will* take a chance on you if you’re willing to sign across the board, as bringing in money for their commercial division (especially with your track record, already) usually happens faster and they’ll patiently wait for the theatrical area to take off. But there are certain commercial agencies that are SO big that even theatrical reps at other full-service agencies will understand it’d be a step down for you to bring your business to them, commercially, just to sign with them theatrically.

Hopefully, these theatrical agents are smart enough to know that your momentum commercially means there *is* money to make, theatrically. Since commercials are really just short films where the hero is the product, service, or brand, these days, and their structure is narrative, it’s not a tough leap for agents to GET that you could be a booker, theatrically, too.

Sure, they may prefer to get you across the board, but they’re aware that where you currently are is awesome. Hopefully. 😉

And, absolutely, if you’re starting to really bring in the commercial bucks for your commercial agency, asking for that meeting in the theatrical division is not out of the question! You’ll probably GET the meeting. But be sure you’ve done your targeting homework to be sure it’s the right tier for you before you push to make it happen.

There may be a much better boutique agency fit for you, theatrically, right now. Especially if you’re not “hell yes” about what magic your management firm can do for you, put them to work at making introductions for you at next-tier-appropriate theatrical agencies (which should be easy for them to do, unless they’re full-on bottom-feeder managers).

Let them be team players for you by assisting your ramp-up to the next tier. You’re doing a ton of work already, which is great. Let ’em help you make it bigger, faster.

Again, huge congrats on how much hustle you’ve got going on already, here. Stay on it, and stay ninja!


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/001849.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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