The subject of agent and client relationships comes up repeatedly in my discussions, particularly with actors. It can be a little touchy, but it’s important to address. When you sign with your agent, you need to discuss procedures. Where you are in your career and your credits will likely inform how your agent approaches submissions, pitches and negotiations for you.
Over the next few weeks, I will be discussing each of these finer points.
Technically, the first pitch for any agent on a project is with their submissions. When an agent sees a breakdown and recognizes that you are right for the role, they add you to the submission. It requires just a tap on the keyboard, but there is definitely more that goes into it than just that click. The agent has to do their best to read between the lines of the role description and decide that either you are a good match, or it is worth a gamble to add you to the mix.
Keep in mind that casting directors will have more information about the project and role than the agent. Having been on both sides, from a casting position, if the character description on the breakdown is too lengthy and detailed, it can limit the number of submissions by the agent. But as a casting director, I want to see every possible option. So I approach the role description with great care. The descriptions generally do not give an exact age, mostly there is an age range such as 50’s or late 30’s to early 40’s. Ethnicity is almost always given. Again dependant on the project and casting director, some description of the character is given, maybe relationships (brother, sister, mother to another character), personality traits or brief history. In all, if the agent is given five to six lines, it’s a lot. Often, it is not more than two or three.
The agent has to make a guess based on that very brief description whether you are a good match. If there are five roles on a given breakdown that you are a good “fit” for, then the agent needs to decide if they put you in for them all or just one or two. Sometimes casting requests that the agent not repeat and multi-submit actors, and other times casting does not mind. It is different for each casting director and project.
In other words, for a good agent, there is a LOT that goes into that submission. It is not cut and dry, nor is it simple. If you truly trust your agent, then allow them the space to make these calculations, work their magic and get you those audition opportunities.