If you are going to understand where I am, dear reader, you have to dive into the details. But I mustn’t fuck them up or I will be responsible for your lack of clarity. And I want you to see how much the devil really is in the details.
So I got the termination of contract on a Friday fifteen minutes before closing for the weekend. A smooth move on their part. The lead agent returned my call on Saturday morning and I expressed my shock and disappointment. I am not going to lie. I broke down. It had been a very long year, with the possible break down of my five year relationship; this termination; not living in London and with auditions siphoning away my savings on exorbitant train tickets left me with £400 in my bank. Financial fears are just wonderful, aren’t they?
The lead agent was shocked and upset that I was taking it so badly and I begged that they reconsider. I am not proud of this. They said that they would keep me on for six months more while I found a new agent. Minds were made up. They were done with me no matter what.
Another audition came through in the next few days and I asked that when I was in London that we could have a face to face meeting. I wanted to have a discussion, to ask some questions and I wanted to be in the room when they answered them. The lead agent agreed and we set a time and date.
The meeting day came and after some awkward pleasantries we began to talk. The lead agent sat opposite me in their chair at the end of a communal table around which all the agents sat. I realised quickly that this meeting was not going to be private. I was to ask my questions in front of them all no matter if I preferred a less open space. I had no choice how this was going to go down. The other agents carried on working but their ears must have been tuned to our conversation.
On the right hand side of the lead agent was an empty chair neatly pushed under the table – the agent I had mainly dealt with on the TV advert was not there. This was to prove a telling detail. So, remember this absence. It’s significant.
The meeting began with the usual hard truths that they felt needed reiterating to me even though I knew them already. One being that “No one deserves an acting career no matter how great they are.” This I knew but I also wondered privately that it would be nice if we actually worked in a fair and equitable profession. Deluded I know. You don’t work in this profession for 23 years without seeing a lot of talent and hard work going to waste. And sometimes you also feel the jealous monster claw its way into your heart. For your own talent and hard work. It’s never pretty admitting this flaw.
Then the lead agent did the, “I just couldn’t do anything for you. You need someone a lot more powerful than me.” An agent deprecating narrative to calm my ego, perhaps? Or just part of the usual script when letting people go? I told them that in my opinion (one no wanted or asked for) they were the most successful agent I had based on the number of auditions they got for me. I wasn’t buying that narrative. And they weren’t buying that I was worth keeping on.
Very soon I was to learn a few things that would change my perception of the entire agency. These revelations were to leave me with a great desire to be as far away from that acting agency as possible. As quickly as possible.