Typical rep problem

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  • Typical rep problem

    hey all

    I have an agent in the US and a manager abroad.

    kind of an unusual setup but it was (in theory) a way for me to expand my horizons beyond the U.S. scene.

    what has been happening is that the U.S. agent has been getting me gigs, helping package a show, setting me up with cool folks, and basically driving the bus. 100% happy.

    the foreign rep, who I have been with much longer than the U.S. rep, has basically gone into hibernation. they take their commission on all of my work- which is shitty considering they didn't even congratulate me on my most recent assignment.

    I am trying to figure out if I should be proactive and include them more into the conversation, come up with a different commission strategy (i.e. they don't get it if it's U.S. work) or dump them altogether.

    It's tricky because I feel like they don't have much to do, since I live in the States. So it might be a case of simply expecting too much from them. Or not?

    They could still send me material, ask me how I am doing, offer to help, etc.

    Instead... crickets. genuinely curious what you guys think.

  • #2
    Re: Typical rep problem

    I honestly, I'd fire them. Sounds like a waste of 10%. If you need a manager, get a good U.S. one who'll actually earn their stay.

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    • #3
      Re: Typical rep problem

      Originally posted by CthulhuRises View Post
      I honestly, I'd fire them. Sounds like a waste of 10%. If you need a manager, get a good U.S. one who'll actually earn their stay.
      I agree.

      You'd probably be better off with a manager here in LA who has connections and can work for you with your agent (they would probably have suggestions of people they enjoy working with).

      But unless it's a deeply personal relationship you are hanging on to this manager abroad -- and they aren't being useful, that's a lot of dings against them in my mind.

      You could go the safe route and have a conversation with them to light a fire under their ass and see if that changes anything so it doesn't feel potentially out of nowhere for them but if they don't produce the results or help your career in anyway, then you should shed the weight and 10%.
      Quack.

      Writer on a cable drama.

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      • #4
        Re: Typical rep problem

        Thanks guys. I agree.

        Here's a somewhat important plot point:

        A year ago I switched agencies and... the foreign rep helped me land at the agency I am with now. Not sure if that matters or not.

        And another thing I am thinking is that once fired, the foreign rep might spitefully unload on my U.S. agent as a way of saving face... like... "it's not us it's him" except worse.

        I fired a manager once and as I mentioned I switched agencies fairly recently- so it would be fairly easy to make the argument that I am a "problem" client (which of course isn't true at all) and I am really worried about tainting the exceptional rapport I have with my new U.S. agent/agency...

        When attacked some reps become nasty and I really don't want this to happen here. So I wonder if I might almost be better off checking the box on a couple more wins before legitimately raising the issue of "what the heck are you guys doing for me"... once it's clear as day that they're totally out of the loop

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        • #5
          Re: Typical rep problem

          Hey Travis,

          You still with the same foreign managers we talked about a couple of years back? If so, then based on my own experience with them I wouldn't worry about any spiteful reactions. I was with the boss man there for 2 years and with him for two years prior to that at his old agency before he started the company. When I let him go, I just rang him up and said that I needed to move on. He was cool with it. Said I was welcome back any time. At that point I'd not made a dime as writer. Now that you're based in the U.S it makes sense to cut the chord unless you plan on moving back.

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          • #6
            Re: Typical rep problem

            you could also have a conversation with your agent about the manager. If the agent says cut them loose, no worries on your part, but more likely the agent will light the fire for you.

            or you could always do the old: "Hey agent have you heard from Manager lately? I'm asking cause it seems like he fell of the face of the earth."

            If your agent says 'Nope, guy's dead to me." You know it's ok to fire them. If the agent equivocates, you'll probably get a call from the manager about five seconds after you hang up with the agent.

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            • #7
              Re: Typical rep problem

              Along with and off what JJG suggested, I'd suggest using the "soft sell" technique.

              Not that you are thinking of this, but don't go into your agent's office saying bad things about your manager, of course. Meet with your agent or call them even. ASK them questions. Say, "I'm concerned about John Doe. Haven't heard from him in a while. Do you know of anything going on?" "I'm a little worried I'm never hearing from him. What do you suggest?" Then slowly and tactfully escalate from there, if need be. Test the waters. Ask your agent, "What would YOU suggest I do?" "How do YOU think I should handle this?" Let them enlighten you. Let them share their experiences. That almost always makes people feel better and more willing to help. But don't really tip your hand. (It's just you being a concerned writer wondering if your manager is okay or not. Maybe there was a death in the family. Maybe the manager's marriage or relationship is falling apart. Who knows? You're just being a caring human being.)

              And if your agent says something along the lines of, drop the manager or simply "up to you" or whatever, then clearly state how much you like them as an agent, how much you have appreciated all they have done for you, tell them you don't want to risk your relationship with them and so on. Tell them you "don't want to sound needy or melodramatic." You're just wondering what might be going on. Pour it on a little. Not in a fake, BS way, but let them know how much they mean to you and so on.

              If you are honest, real, professional, considerate, respectful and, again, have them do all the talking, it should be fine. You're simply allowing them to share their advice which makes them feel better. The only thing you've done really is listen.
              Last edited by Done Deal Pro; 05-04-2018, 11:17 AM. Reason: Tightened up answer.
              Will
              Done Deal Pro
              www.donedealpro.com

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              • #8
                Re: Typical rep problem

                Originally posted by TravisPickle View Post
                Thanks guys. I agree.

                Here's a somewhat important plot point:

                A year ago I switched agencies and... the foreign rep helped me land at the agency I am with now. Not sure if that matters or not.
                I don't think it does. It's been a year. It's not like you owe that guy commissions forever.

                My first step in situations like this is a phone call with the rep to say, "Hey, I'm not super happy. What's going on." And then listen. He may feel like he can't do anything for you and there could be an amiable parting of the ways.

                Then I would talk to your US agent. In my experience, agents rarely care about managers from clients who are working. (If your agent says "let's get you a manager" it's because you're not working or you want to change something about your career direction and they want someone else to do some or all of the heavy lifting). I think you've gotten good advice in this thread about how to approach the agent.

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