05 April 2008

Having an agent

A creative guide to having an agent

Up until 1973, if you wanted to get ahead, you got a hat.  Now if you wish to play Hamlet, publish your memoirs or even just walk down the street in a jaunty pair of slacks, you need an agent. 

Agencies tend to be founded by groups of people (Squiggle, Cheek & Pob) or set up by individuals (The Susan Pus Agency).  There are two principal breeds of agent: literary agents read all day, pausing briefly to dictate letters that say: 'Thanks, but we don't feel your work is quite right for our list,' or: 'Sorry not to reply for four years...'

By contrast, theatrical agents spend their days speaking to their clients, uttering statements such as: 'But dahling, Police Academy VIII is a departure for the genre...' and 'The moment I hear back from Findus Crispy Pancakes you'll be the first to know!'

I've got an agent.  Let's call him Charles (even though his name is Alan).  Until recently, I thought Charles was dead, so quiet had he been.  When I discovered he was alive, I felt great elation, mixed with mild disappointment - you see, Charles is very rude and coughs without using his hand.  AND he takes 15 percent commission.  Still, I suppose 15 percent of nothing is still nothing.

So whether you're an actor, writer, singer or even a promising young milkman, don't just sit there, get out there!  Sing!  Dance!  Do something funny!  Stand on your head!  Do a wheelie!   And if no one notices, set up your own agency and take yourself on.

- Saul Wordsworth, Metro (London), 3 April 2008

1 comment:

saulwordsworth said...

dear ethan,

glad you liked the agent piece. i have a feeling that you yourself may have sought an agent in the past and recognised some of the behaviours inherent.

all best,