Monday, 27 August 2012

Smile, You're On...

Last July (2011), I gave myself a year in which to become an Actoh, defining success as either getting paid for my work on stage or screen and / or getting an agent. I achieved the first of these goals in January and have been paid several times since; the second has just come to fruition.

I have approached agents regularly over the last twelve months, with little success. The first hurdle I had to overcome was the fact that I was not on Spotlight - the list of professional actors used by most professional agents. I couldn't be on Spotlight because I didn't have enough paid work to qualify. Fortunately, some agents on Casting Call Pro did not demand membership and some of those responded to my enquiries with a "we are interested" email. The next hurdle was moving from that email to a meeting; for many agents interest soon died and out of the ten or so positive responses I received, I only met four face to face.

First was agent A, for whom I auditioned before I had even been offered a role. Not surprisingly, she did not want me. Agent B was after my first short film but before my first stage appearance. He asked to be kept informed of my career, accepted an invitation to see me in The Duchess of Malfi and did not turn up. I eventually dropped him from my mailing list. Agent C saw me in The Duchess and said he would sign me up as soon as I got Spotlight membership. He also wanted me to see his partner. I  never did meet the partner. Agent D saw me in my worst performance of Angel and offered to sign me immediately. Always suspicious of people who tell me how well they have done and how fantastic I am, I was both chuffed and wary. My suspicions turned out be well-founded. A couple of days later a petulant response from him to an email I had sent inspired me to research him online, where I discovered he had form in persuading wealthy and naive individuals to part with their money for little or no reward.

Agent D did one good thing for me - reminding me of the importance of Spotlight membership. Within a day of rejecting him I had completed the online forms and registered with the website (see link right). Within a week of registering with Spotlight I had a long meeting with Stephen Cornwell of Smile Talent. A week later he confirmed that he wanted me on his books. I confirmed I was happy to work with him and thus his logo now appears on this blog (see right) and all my acting websites.

First impressions? My generation, thorough, professional, the right balance of modesty and confidence. We are moving forward a little slower than I had expected, but since I wanted a quiet month, I'm not complaining. Besides, he had warned me that after a period of cutting down on his work because of illness he is now significantly expanding his list, which means many other demands on his time. But I'm optimistic that he will represent me much better than I could represent myself. Now there are two major tests ahead - will he get me the auditions / castings, and will I get the work? You will hear...

Postscript, 5th October. Now that you've read to the bottom of this post, could you do me a favour? Tell me why you are here. This is the by far most popular post on this blog and I haven't a clue why. If you can spare a minute, send me a comment, even if it's only to quote the search phrase that brought you here.  Thanks.

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