Whats The Deal?

Adamby Adam Lieblein

Choosing The Right Monologue For The Right Audience

Or

You Probably Shouldn’t Perform Shakespeare For an Agent

During the early stages of your acting career, you may occasionally be asked to perform a monologue in an agent’s office. Many theatrical talent agents like to see monologues from new actors as one small part of their evaluation process.

The material you choose to present to an agency is nearly as important as the level of skill you can display during your performance. Every agent has his or her own preferences, and will likely share them with you before your meeting, but there is a general understanding within the business that you should be aware of.  Keep in mind that there are a few agents who may take exception to these guidelines, but in the absence of other information, this advice should prove valuable.

There is no doubt that different situations lend themselves to unique selections of monologues. The monologue you might choose to perform for a school exercise in front of your instructors could be very different from the one you would perform at a showcase for casting directors. Even more different is the selection you would make to show an agent. When an agent asks you to perform a monologue in their office during a meeting, you should already have something appropriately selected and well rehearsed. Here are some important things to keep in mind when selecting your material:read more

Whats The Deal?

Adamby Adam Lieblein

Agents Behaving Badly

Or

If It Looks Like A Duck, and Quacks Like a Duck…

In a previous article for this column, I mentioned certain bad behaviors by actors that could cause an actor to lose his agent. Today we look at the opposite side of that issue. What type of agent behavior should be of serious concern to actors?  Are there red flags that actors should look out for, and should they be ready to confront their agent or sometimes leave an agency when those things happen? Let’s put this in perspective…

First, we understand that it’s not an easy task to find and sign with an agent. Right? So actors tend to be a little too forgiving when an agent behaves in a questionable manner. Actors will put up with quite a bit, just to avoid having to look for a new agent. That makes sense. Agents are just people. They are fallible. read more

Whats The Deal?

Adamby Adam Lieblein

Overbearing Stage Parents

or

Whose Audition Is It Anyway?

You’re a parent. You’ve chosen to assist (or coerce) your child to get into the business of acting or modeling. You drive them to classes, workshops, and auditions. You got them an agent. You supervise them on the set of any job they book. You collect the money and file their taxes. You’re a mom and a manager. You’ve become… a “momager.”  You’ve spoken to other stage parents, and learned how the business works. You think you have a good handle on it.

Then why is your kid not booking everything they audition for? Why are they not getting called back more often? Why didn’t they recur on that TV series like the casting director said would happen when they booked your kid last season? Why did your agency just drop your child??

The chances are good that it has less to do with how talented your kid might be, and more to do with your behavior in the auditions and on the set. Nobody has had the courage to tell you this yet, but since I don’t know you personally, I’ll just say it. You’ve become a pain in the butt.read more

Whats The Deal?

Adamby Adam Lieblein

My Favorite Agent Just Left My Agency. What Happens Now?

or

Happy January! Let’s Do The Agency Shuffle!

You’ve been lucky enough to have an agent that has championed your career, either theatrically or commercially. This agent has diligently gotten you auditions, handled your bookings efficiently, and you’ve had many conversations about developing your career. You consider your agent to be a friend. Your other actor friends might even be jealous of your relationship with your agent, and you’re fine with that. It empowers you. You feel cool.

Then you get an unexpected email from the agency. “We regret to inform you that as of today, Mr. Jones will no longer be an agent at this company. We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors, and want to assure you that other agents will continue to service your needs…blah blah.”

You ask yourself why he didn’t contact you directly to let you know. Was he fired? Did he leave the agency to go somewhere else? Where is he now? Can you go with him? Now you regret never establishing a relationship with any other agent in that office. A few days pass. Your auditions seem to have stopped. You feel alone. You are no longer cool. You’re cold. read more

Whats The Deal?

Adamby Adam Lieblein

The Mysterious World of Print Modeling Commissions

or

What’s The Deal With Double-Dipping?

“My agent stole from me!”  

“My agent withdrew commissions twice!”

“Those guys charged me 40% commission!”

By far the biggest area of confusion among newly-successful models (or actors who occasionally book modeling jobs) is how their management companies and/or modeling agencies process their payments. Nearly every day an actor or model will book his or her first modeling job, and expect to receive more money than they actually do. Inevitably, this leads to an uncomfortable discussion with the agent or manager, and depending on how tactful the representative is, this can leave the model with a bad feeling about the industry in general, or about that representative in particular. Let’s look at what happens on a typical job, and how you can establish the proper expectations:read more

Whats The Deal?

Adamby Adam Lieblein

Red Flags

or

How To Lose An Agent In One Easy Step

During the sixteen years I owned a talent agency, I had the sad responsibility of releasing many clients who displayed behavior that can be characterized as a “red flag.”  In this context, a red flag refers to any action that causes great stress to the staff of the agency, or shows signs that the actor is becoming overly needy or “high-maintenance.”

There are times when some agents will grant a bit of leeway and flexibility to some clients. They may put up with bad behavior from actors who may be high earners or someone who may have other value to the agency. But generally speaking, which is all I can do in a short article, there are certain behaviors that are unacceptable, and will cause an agency to cut ties with an actor in short order. Maybe it will take a few of these to push them over the cliff, but during a stressful day, red flags will have drastic repercussions. Also, when agents review their client list from time to time, the first people to be dropped are the ones who annoy them. Here are some examples of behavior that will do more than just ruffle an agent’s feathers:

Call the agent every day and ask, “What’s up? Is there anything for me today? Has it been slow? Are you submitting me on anything?”read more

Whats The Deal?

Adamby Adam Lieblein

The Biggest Differences Between Agents and Managers.

Or

                            Show Me The Money!

This is one of those articles that is going to get me into trouble. Why? Because there are some good managers out there that will disagree with some of the facts that I present and with the opinions I share with you about this topic. Some of you will refuse to accept my premise, in spite of—or because of—my experience and vantage point. There are also some actors who will believe me, but will refuse to admit that this information applies to them or to any manager whom they may be working with. With that said, I’m going to share this information with you anyway. Just in case. Feel free to tell me I’m wrong, even though I’m not.

What do agents and managers do? How do they become agents and managers? What are they legally allowed to do? What are they prohibited from doing? What do they charge? Who needs them? Let’s see…read more

Whats The Deal?

Adamby Adam Lieblein

Should I Sign Across The Board?

or

Help! I’m Trapped At A Commercial Agency and I Can’t Get Out!

This is a common story. John is a beginning actor who moved to Los Angeles about a year ago. He has been taking acting classes and has recently gotten great photos. After a commercial workshop a few months ago, he was offered exclusive representation by a commercial talent agency, and is finally going out on some nice auditions. He really likes his commercial agents, and they really seem to be working hard for him.

Recently, John participated in a theatrical showcase, and he got a meeting with a reputable theatrical agent. Things are looking up!

He takes the meeting, and it goes very well. The agency offers to represent him, but there’s a hitch. They want him to sign exclusively with them not only for theatrical representation, but also for commercial and print work as well. This is typically known as signing “across the board,” and puts John in an awkward situation. Does he leave his commercial agency? Does he tell the new agency that he will only sign for theatrical work? What are the pros and cons of this situation? Why are so many actors faced with this decision, and what should you do?read more

What’s The Deal?

lieblein

How Much Money Will You Make On Your Recent Commercial Booking?

or

Pick A Number Between Zero and a Bazillion


by Adam Lieblein

People often hear about how lucrative a commercial booking can be for actors. For decades people have shared colorful stories of how a child can book one national commercial and pay for college with the money. A few stories of big scores have been blown out of proportion, and people were led to believe that these exceptions were more common than they really are.  This understandably created a lottery mentality among commercial actors.  This unbalanced financial temptation continues to attract large numbers of new performers to the world of commercials.

However, as actors begin to learn more about the industry, they hear a very different story. They are told that the residual income from booking a commercial isn’t the big score it used to be in the “good old days.” While there is some truth to the fact that things used to be different, the average income per commercial booking has basically stayed the same for the past twenty years. What are the realistic expectations an actor should have about how much they will make for a typical commercial booking?read more

What’s The Deal?

lieblein

What To Expect At Your First Meeting With A Theatrical Agency

or

Common Sense Is Not As Common As You’d Think

by Adam Lieblein

You have a meeting with a theatrical agent. It’s your first meeting. Your mind goes into overdrive. Your dreams of life as a working actor flash before your eyes. You imagine your days filled with auditions and callbacks, and what you will say on talk shows about the film you shot between seasons of your top-rated network sitcom. You practice your Oscar acceptance speech. But the night before the meeting, you are smacked back to reality. What is going to happen at that meeting? Will they want to sign you? What should you prepare to say or do?

Most acting classes and theatre arts schools are experts at teaching the craft, and may even impart some wisdom about the general structure of the entertainment business. But rarely, if ever, do those schools offer to teach artists about the personal courtship between actors and agencies. To help give you an edge, I’m going to share with you some inside information about those first meetings with an agency. read more