Question About Cutting Ties With Manager

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  • Question About Cutting Ties With Manager

    Hello everybody. So I'm thinking of doing this because she's not working out the way I'd hoped. Things have gotten stagnant and my projects are gathering dust. My question: Is it really bad form to look for another rep before breaking up with your current rep?

    No snark, please. Just a simple answer/opinion will suffice. Thanks.

  • #2
    This type of stuff happens fairly frequently. Writers (directors, actors, etc.) don't feel their reps are doing enough or don't feel they are the right fit for them ultimately, and they look for new representation. It's not bad form, per se, but I would suggest being as delicate and discreet as possible. When you can possibly don't even mention your current manager. And if you do, let the folks know why and don't disparage them/your current manager, of course. Say whatever you want to friends about your current rep, but just tell the prospective rep, you're looking for a change, and try to leave it a that. If literally nothing is going on and your manager is doing nothing for you, then you could just drop them first and search. But if you are concerned about having someone at least at all times, then sort of treat the situation as you would hope someone would treat you if the situation was reversed. Be respectful and honest but I'd say do some looking around. Again, lots of folks do.

    Also, not to state the obvious, but your manager may or may not take it well, but you should do your best to rise above all, thank them for their time and move on without a "big discussion." Keep it short but sweet, so to speak.

    Maybe some others will jump into with their personal experiences.
    Last edited by Done Deal Pro; 10-30-2020, 01:10 PM.
    Will
    Done Deal Pro
    www.donedealpro.com

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    • #3
      Thank you so much. I really appreciate that. Yes, it's a sticky situation as any manager I query can check me out and see that I'm repped, but I also agree that there's nothing wrong in saying that I'm looking to make a change. To me, it seems like my manager has one foot out of the game and to the best of my knowledge, hasn't made any sales in a long, long time. All I know is that I have to do something. Thanks, again.

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      • #4
        FWIW, I think it’s better to say “I’m changing reps” rather than “I’m looking for a rep.” It shows that you’re over a big hurdle.

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        • #5
          Thanks, Jeff. Good point.

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          • #6
            This is just my opinion. I try to live by "what ifs..."

            What if the person you're leaving heard from someone else that you were shopping for a new manager? What if the new manager realizes, or worse hears from someone else, that you haven't parted ways with your previous manager before soliciting them? What if that concerned the new prospective manager that you might do the same to them? What if that manager asked you, "Why are you shopping for a new manager when you haven't left your old one? Can you answer that in a way where you don't look like a dick? Maybe they won't care. What if they do?

            What you do with your rep is your business. I'm responding because you asked, and I have an opinion about it.

            If you have no guilt over doing it any of those ways, then do what you like. If it would make for an uncomfortable conversation for you, or make you feel bad, then maybe you should be upfront with your manager and part ways amicably as possible first. If I was a manager, I would appreciate that from a client.

            My biggest question is, why wouldn't you just be upfront with your manager? What's at stake? Confrontation?

            And also consider that perhaps the lack of support from your manager might be a lack of overall interest in you as a client-- after all the situation could easily cut the other way-- they may be sending you a silent message that they don't want to have an uncomfortable conversation themselves. Maybe they aren't invested in you anymore.

            I think it's a sign of respect to be upfront. That way they most likely won't say anything that may put you in an unfavorable light.

            Relationships are important, you never know when you may need someone from your past to support you.

            "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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            • #7
              Unlike agents, many managers subscribe to anti-poaching ethics and won't read you if you're still with somebody else, so be aware of that.

              (Personally, I think "anti-poaching ethics" are anti-competitive, collusive business practices whose chief effect is to disincentivize writers from leaving bad reps, but sadly, my opinion on the matter doesn't change the reality of the situation.)

              Morally, I don't think there's anything remotely wrong with scoping out new reps before firing your old rep, and in fact, I think you'd be crazy not to. But you should probably exercise some amount of discretion in your search (i.e., don't just blatantly start querying new reps).

              Hope this helps!

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              • #8
                Thanks for the great info, everybody. I'm thinking there's a lot to be said for finalact4's "what if?" scenario. I'm leaning towards letting go of her before I do anything else.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by AnyOtherName View Post
                  Unlike agents, many managers subscribe to anti-poaching ethics and won't read you if you're still with somebody else, so be aware of that.

                  (Personally, I think "anti-poaching ethics" are anti-competitive, collusive business practices whose chief effect is to disincentivize writers from leaving bad reps, but sadly, my opinion on the matter doesn't change the reality of the situation.)

                  Morally, I don't think there's anything remotely wrong with scoping out new reps before firing your old rep, and in fact, I think you'd be crazy not to. But you should probably exercise some amount of discretion in your search (i.e., don't just blatantly start querying new reps).

                  Hope this helps!
                  Thanks so much. What do you mean by not "blatantly querying new reps?" I either query them or I don't. ;-)

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                  • #10
                    All YMMV:

                    What if the person you're leaving heard from someone else that you were shopping for a new manager?

                    Then you're exactly where you were if you fired the person. Or maybe in a better position - maybe they fight to keep your business.

                    What if the new manager realizes, or worse hears from someone else, that you haven't parted ways with your previous manager before soliciting them?

                    I pitch being aboveboard. When I've done this, I always said "I'm with so and so, but I'm looking for new representation." If they ask why, it's the same answer as if they ask why you left your last manager. Tell them why the relationship isn't working out. And FWIW, I've never had a manager or agent say "I can't talk to you while you're represented." And I've been lucky enough to only talk to larger, legit agents/managers for a long time.

                    What if that concerned the new prospective manager that you might do the same to them?

                    They might work harder than your last rep? There's a lot of fear of reps that run through these threads. They work for you. It's not weird to fire them if they're not doing their job. And every rep knows there might come a day when they're fired.

                    This isn't a spouse. You're not "cheating" if you're considering other options. Reps take on new clients and then fire old ones all the time. Producers interview new writers for features and TV shows while they've got someone currently working for them. They do it because they don't want to be without a writer - if they can upgrade, they will, if they can't, they'll stick with you while they're looking.

                    What if that manager asked you, "Why are you shopping for a new manager when you haven't left your old one? Can you answer that in a way where you don't look like a dick? Maybe they won't care. What if they do?

                    Is it really different than the process when you're choosing between multiple reps? You tell the first one "thanks for the offer - this sounds awesome - I need to talk to the other reps and I'll make my decision quickly."

                    I go back to my bottom line: an inefficient rep is *usually* better than no rep at all. At the very least, if you get a lead on your own, you can have your rep send it over. Even the worst rep will have their assistant send an email for the chance of a commission.

                    A lot of people won't read scripts that don't come through an agent or a manager - there are legal complications, and it's also just a very easy way to screen out 99% of submissions so they're not overwhelmed.

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                    • #11
                      Good advice, Jeff.

                      Some people dread confrontation, so being prepared for multiple situations by having a response places you in control of the conversation regardless of who is on the receiving end, the new manager, or the old one. It may even provide a level of confidence that solidifies your choice. And you never know, not a single one of the "what ifs" may ever arise.

                      Good luck, MargoChanning.
                      "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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                      • #12
                        Wow. You guys are awesome. I think I got it now. Do my thing and deal with "what if?" if it comes up. Jeff, you made an excellent point that if I get a lead on my own, I'll probably need my rep to submit. This has happened to me several times, already. I'm gonna roll the dice and see where it lands. Thanks so much to all.

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                        • #13
                          So, Margo, what did you decide? Has it worked out? or are you still working on it?
                          "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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