Hiring and Firing An Acting Agent by Actor Tyler Johnson (left) and Writer/Director Pascal Payant (right) of ON THE HORIZON Movie
Film Courage: Tyler what’s been your experience looking for an agent or a manager. I know came from the modeling world in New York and you had done acting as a child, as well. What’s your process like looking for an agent or a manager?
Tyler Johnson: One thing that a lot of people I think forget when they’re soliciting representation is it’s as much an interview for you as it is for them. It’s really not a question of who you are working with or the size of the agency. I think it has to do with the passion that your representative has for you and I think a lot of times as actors we go into these meetings looking for a certain outcome and are all too eager to sign on the dotted line when we hear the things that we want to hear. When in reality, there are a lot of hard questions that you have to ask in reverse. This is sometimes hard to do, as an actor because there is a lot of in security in this business. The one thing I have always been reminded of (and my Mom does so lovingly to make sure I stay responsible), but is that the second you finish your last job, you’re unemployed and that is the nature of this job. Sometimes when you’re going for these meetings, you feel like you’re back on your heels, as opposed to where you should be, which is firmly centered. How can we work together to achieve a mutually desired result? So for me, that means I have some questions when I go in there, too.
But I’ve been lucky enough, especially recently to come across a great team, a fantastic team who I really believe in and we’re new to one another, so I’m very excited for the future.
Film Courage: I’ve talked to other actors and they’ve said that they felt their agent or manager wasn’t giving them the attention that they need and these actors understood this because they had quote “bigger clients” that they had to deal with. However, if an actor is feeling that maybe phone calls aren’t returned, etc., at what point do they say either I’m being too demanding or that these signs are red flags and I need to move on.
Tyler Johnson: Great question….that’s tough to say. Because I think that there are two sides to that. On one side I think actors rely too heavily on their managers. They lean on them, their agents and representation and they can scapegoat them for the success they are not having at the moment. Rather than turn it externally, I feel that a lot of the work should be turned internally and you have to ask yourself “Have I done everything that I could possibly do?”
For me, I noticed (to get into specifics) years and years as an actor I really wasn’t aware of the materials that were being pitched on my behalf, things like Actors Access, LA Casting, etc. – those certain different ‘houses’ and it wasn’t until recently that I started checking the materials to make sure they were up-to-date and low and behold here are all the old relics of all the old agents I’ve been with, and here is a misattributed credit or a missing credits and all these kinds of things. For me, before you go blaming others (just like in life) you’ve got to ask yourself “Have I done everything?” For me that really comes down to not just 90%, 95% or even 99%, but am I doing 100% of what I can possibly do to help my case and then at that point I turn the blame to the representation and then make decisions from there. But fortunately it hasn’t gotten to that.
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