Abusive Agent?



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  • Abusive Agent?

    Has anyone ever been repped by a verbally abusive agent? How did you deal with that? I want to fire mine, but everyone says to get a new agent before you fire your old one. And since I'm a young writer, it'll be hard for me to get a new agent.

  • #2
    I guess it depends on how long you want to be disrespected. Your agent gets away with it, because you condone it by not addressing it. Unless you have addressed it and he doesn't give a ****. If you haven't, why not? It's a matter of simply saying, "speak to me respectfully or not at all." What is the worst thing he's going to do? Not send your work out? He's an agent, if he wants to make money he should align with you. And if he says he doesn't want to work with you, was he really doing any work in the first place?

    But it already sounds like you want to exit the relationship. This is your career and no one else's. If you don't want to be disrespected, don't be.

    Has he sold anything for you? Has he gotten you a job? What has he done that makes you want to keep him. If he hasn't done anything for you, what makes you think that will change in the future?

    Trying to find another agent will be difficult whether you have one already or not, because it's not like you're going to say, "I'm repped, but looking for a new agent, are you?" Do you have a network of people in the industry that you can a referral from? What about the people he's sent your work to?

    The most important thing to remember is that you leaped the hurdle once already-- the chances of doing it again are good.
    "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso


    • #3
      Is the agent verbally insulting and attacking you personally? Or, just dropping F-bombs here and there? If it's the former, I'd tell them "Adios."

      I had a talk with my teen about this recently. Though I use F-bombs myself, I explained that where she choose to drop the bomb in a sentence can be heard as aggressive to the listener when it's not intended to be. But she just turned 18. An adult professional should know better.

      Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-


      • #4
        Yeah, I'd also love to hear some examples.


        • #5
          Thanks for the advice, everyone. Here are a few examples: the agent screams at people in meetings (but does not cuss.) The agent also condescends, insults, and belittles me sometimes--not all the time.


          • #6
            Originally posted by caliwriter View Post
            The agent also condescends, insults, and belittles me sometimes--not all the time.
            Your agent sounds like an *******. It's one thing for them to be aggressive with others but to be mean to THEIR OWN CLIENT! - that's just not cool on so many levels.

            I guess if you think it's a salvageable relationship, you can try confronting them about it and ask them to change how they speak to you. Bring it to their attention. There's a chance they aren't aware that this behavior is so hurtful. BUT ... truthfully, I've never ever heard of a rep being mean to a current client. In fact, even agents I know for a fact to be real SOBS are still nice to their clients. So this strikes me as pretty big red flag.

            I hear people say all the time that you don't work for your rep, they work for you. I don't think that's quite right. I think it's a partnership. And I wouldn't want to stay in a partnership (businesses, romantic, or otherwise) where the other person didn't respect me.


            • #7
              Originally posted by caliwriter View Post
              The agent also condescends, insults, and belittles me sometimes--not all the time.
              I'm not repped, but I don't need to be to answer this question. "Not all the time" means nothing. No one verbally abuses someone ALL the time. The fact that he does it at all is the point. You don't have to justify his behavior by saying, "Not all the time". He doesn't deserve you trying to paint his behavior in a good light. There is no good light.

              A rep that is working with you to further your career has to be someone that you trust enough that you trust their perspective and contacts and judgment. How much trust can you possibly have with someone who you can't even trust to speak to you with even basic respect?

              If he can't even do that much, I bet he's a terrible agent too.

              It's okay to call an ******* an *******. I would leave. I know that's easy for me to say, but if your work got you this agent it can get you another one.

              If you have a manager reach out to him and ask him to help you get another agent?


              • #8
                Anyone who belittles or insults you to the extreme needs to be put in their place. A lesson will be taught to that individual. Words have consequences where I'm from. Doesn't matter what kind of suit you're wearing.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
                  Yeah, I'd also love to hear some examples.
                  Yes, please because one person's idea of abuse is literally just my mother calling me on the phone and it's just a normal conversation for us.

                  I've been yelled at by a few reps. Via email. On the phone. If you think writers are insecure -- wait until you meet the people inside Hollywood. How many times has managers and agents told me "writers are crazy" and just like when you see a therapist and you realize sure you need help -- but the person on the other side is actually more messed up than you.

                  Agents are more likely to be dicks than managers overall. But it's close.

                  ***damn it Vango*** I thought this was a new thread. And now i realize that person hasn't been back to the boards in months -- so we will never get these answers and it's clear their agent murdered them***


                  • #10
                    Thanks everyone! I'm alive and well. I ended up firing the agent, and feel much better now. I appreciate all the advice.


                    • #11
                      What would be fun is to write a story about an abusive agent who is murdered. Homicide detectives must figure out who killed him/her. The problem is every client is a suspect because they've all written this monster, in some form, into their screenplays. And the detectives have to read the screenplays and search for clues in order to figure out which writer did it. The abusive agent reps high-caliber horror/crime writers so all of the scripts involve lots of violence.

                      I don't actually think this could be a movie, but it's fun to imagine. There was a movie like this in 2000 called DROWNING MONA, and it was not successful.

                      Caliwriter - glad you resolved the situation. Does not sound fun.