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Lee Colee - Wit and Whimsy VO
When to Fire Your Agent (after the Gig from Hell!)

When to Fire Your Agent (after the Gig from Hell!)


lee colee female voice artist

The Blog of Lee Coleé

After 30 some odd years working in opera, dance, stage, film, music theatre, and cabarets all across the US, she’s ready to pack all of that creative prowess into a tiny padded cave with just her and a mic for her next adventure in the world of voiceover.

August 9, 2022

As performing artists, we simply want to make you happy by giving your vision a life better than you could have imagined.  So when an agent signs us up and sends us out for auditions, we get very excited. We are over the moon as we prepare to present our creativity.  We are depending on that agent to provide us with all the pertinent info we need to do a great job.  We want this agent to care about our professional accomplishments and development.  We make the agent’s job easier by providing all the needed tools like photos, demos, resume’ updates.  We are loyal and honest in all of our transactions and most of all, we want to know that agent HAS OUR BACKS if any issues with a client come up.

But what if you discover your agent is simply acting as a conduit for casting sites and has no interest in what you might be right for?  You have to do all the screening yourself.  What if you only saw the agent in person or even spoke to him or her on the day you signed your contract?  What if you gradually realize the agent was never available for pertinent questions, and emails only generated a terse response and sometimes, no info but an inference that you were stupid for asking?  What do you do when a client complains to you about not being able to talk with your agent?

For me, this all came to a head with an agent I signed with and who was supposedly a top agency for getting work.  A traffic pile up caused me to be 10 minutes late to the set and I of course called the production contact to let them know.  The woman was very gracious and assured me it was not a problem. No one else was there either!

Well, the gig was a nightmare because the director and crew had no clue what they were doing.  The talent was on set ready to work and me even being late but quickly camera ready I could tell the lights hadn’t been set,  no sound checks, no blocking instructions.  The director and one man camera crew spent valuable time screaming at each other and the talent could tell nothing filmed was going to be useable.  I was wanting to take over as the director.  It felt like the Twilight Zone of film making.  I had serious doubts about the project.

Imagine my shock when I got an email from the agent scolding me that I was unprofessional for being late and not camera ready and I was going to be dropped if it happened again.  What the…..???  Of course I tried calling and emailed a summary of what went on.  Facts only.  I attempted contact several times.  I even mentioned that nothing filmed would be useable.  Admitted my bad in not allowing for possible traffic delays but I had it covered.

Not a word back except some very snarky email comments.  But get this!  This agent realized I was right about my version of the shoot because they got nothing useable recorded and requested a re-shoot. I’m sure the agent hated to have to call me asking if I’d consent to returning.   The client was blaming the agent for lack of communication and confided in me that they could never get anyone on the phone.
The second shoot went much better and at least I got paid but never heard from the agent again.

Bottom line, this agent was never interested in hearing from me about the situation or representing me.  I confess to having a temper and I fired the agency right then and there. I found two new agents in two days.  My current reps definitely have my back.  They are easy to contact and I get same day return calls and emails, regular honest appraisals of my work with lots of encouragement.  I am always conscious of not abusing the privilege of these people always being available to me.

If you have to wonder who your agent is really working for, its best to fire them as soon as possible.  Don’t make a dramatic exit.  Protect your reputation and your dignity.  I think I dodged a major bullet.  So now, when I have to create a character filled with rage and righteous indignation I just recall the agent and gig from hell!+

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