Sadly, not uncommon. And, in many instances, the actor never finds out. Three occasions come to mind….

  1. Offer goes out for a series lead. A counter-offer is made. We go back and forth. Eventually, we’re almost there except for one sticking point. They want a producer credit and this is something the production company is simply not willing to budge on.

The agent responds “Then this is a deal-breaker. We’re moving on.” So the production, in turn, moves on and casts someone else for the role. Two weeks later, the agent reaches out and inquires why we haven’t been in touch.

What happened to “We’re moving on?” Apparently, he wasn’t serious and is apoplectic we took him at his word. He gives up on the producer credit demand but, by this point, it’s too late. He is furious.

A year later I meet the actor at an event. They express regret at not having been able to close the deal but understood it was a money issue. I inform them it was NOT a money issue but a credit issue. According to them, they neither knew nor requested the producer credit.

  1. Offer goes out for a series lead. Agent counters very high. We counter his counter, but the agent is adamant. The number he has presented us with is the bare minimum. We simply can’t afford it and move on.

The next year, the actor auditions for a three line guest spot on the show – but isn’t quite right for the role. The year after that, I’m introduced to them through a friend at a party. They express admiration for the show and regret their audition didn’t resonate with us.

I assumed they were deflecting blame to their agent, but their shellshocked response when I told them we had, in fact, made an offer made it clear they had never been told.

  1. An actor I worked with had been doing quite well for themself and expressed an interest in working on a specific show. One of the producers of said show informed them that they had already reached out to their agent and been flatly turned down.

Instead, the agent had suggested another one of their clients who they DID end up casting. The actor was livid and demanded their agent and his entire team present themselves on the set of their current production to explain themselves. Much bowing and groveling and scraping ensued.

No actor should be involved in the minutiae of the deal-making producer. That’s what an agent/rep is for. A good one will look out for their client’s best interest and push for them to get them the best deal.

Every so often, however, it doesn’t work out that way. And, on those occasions, I think it’s important that their client be kept in the loop. Which isn’t always the case.

7 thoughts on “It doesn’t hurt to check in with your agent every now and then…

  1. I’m curious re: the first scenario, why was a producer credit so important? I get actors fighting for billing or jockeying for guest star over co-star, but what would the benefit of a producer credit have been?

    1. A producer credit establishes a precedent so that in your next job, you also get a producer credit and, possibly, creative input.

  2. I suppose the agent thought they were doing the right thing in those cases, but the fact they didn’t keep the client in the loop when things were being negotiated is inexcusable. Lessons learned on the actors’ part, I guess.

  3. I guess the Agent gets paid no matter what? Or do they get paid when a deal is made? And I guess the actor HAS to have an agent? Sad business. I say cut out the middle man.

  4. Hmm … I thought agents are supposed to be looking out for their clients … But if each has multiple clients, then how do their prioritize? Conflict of interests? 🤔

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