As an acting coach, I often get calls from parents asking me questions about audition logistics, the appropriate clothing to wear for a callback, headshot critique…the list goes on. As a coach, part of my job is to advise on clothing as it pertains to the character. However, questions such as, “Should my child be sent out for a certain part?” or “When will I hear if my child is getting a callback?” are better suited for reps to answer. When I ask them why they are calling me and not their child’s agent or manager, the answer is usually that they are afraid. If you are afraid to call your child’s representation, you may need to look at how healthy this relationship is
Just like any new relationship there is a courtship in the beginning. Everyone is on their best behavior and sometimes false promises are made to woo you in. However, just like in a romantic partnership, the honeymoon period soon ends, and reality sets in. If you are losing trust and starting to feel insecure in the relationship, here are some things to think about.
The main question to answer before you sign with an agent or manager is, is this the right fit for your child and you? Do you like their bedside manner? Are they warm and fuzzy or aggressive and curt? As I’ve said before, choosing representation for your child is similar to choosing a pediatrician. This person is a part of your child’s team and a way to realize your child’s dream of working professionally. Hopefully you did your research and asked the right questions when you initially met. If you were feeling intimidated in the initial interview, then it may be time to reevaluate your professional relationship with your child’s rep. The dreaded question that I ultimately ask a parent who seems uncomfortable with their child’s representation is, did you sign out of desperation thinking nobody else would sign your child? If this sounds familiar to you, then I would advise you to think seriously about this partnership.
When first signing your child to an agency, establish boundaries from the beginning. Find out how your representation likes to communicate. Do they prefer you email them or call on the phone? Are there certain times that they can better help you with any issue you might have? If this isn’t the beginning of your relationship but you’d like to make some changes, set up a time to talk to your rep in person. There’s always a time to work out the kinks in a relationship. Boundaries are not only established in the beginning. Plus, it shows that you both respect each other enough to talk openly to solve problems. This is a working relationship, and you’re allowed to have preferences too. In order to work to realize your child’s dreams, both you and your child’s rep need to have your voices heard and opinions shared. A relationship isn’t a one-way street. You are partners working to move your child forward. Make sure it’s acknowledged that you both matter in this relationship.
Ultimately, if you are feeling like a pest or a nuisance when you call, remember, you are paying them a commission. You are entitled to know how best to prepare your child for their auditions, a photo shoot, or whatever is coming up. If you are being reprimanded for asking questions or for turning down auditions with a reasonable excuse and notice, it may be time to reevaluate the relationship—especially if you are disrespected or made to feel insignificant. On the flip side, if you’re calling too much, or if you think you can do a better job than them, then it’s time for some reflection on your end. It’s important to be respectful of their time, and the fact that your child is not their only client. You are a part of your child’s team as your child’s advocate, but the team needs to all work well together.
When it comes to relationships, self-reflection and an openness to communicate breeds success. There are plenty of other fish in the sea, as the saying goes. If it isn’t working for you don’t settle. Find someone who will appreciate you and your child, stick by your side, and treat you with respect.
Master your craft, empower yourself, and enjoy the journey.
This article is reposted here with permission here from Backstage.com.