How To Break Up With Your Agent

Hello artists!

I wanted to write about this because a colleague of mine recently asked me how to break up with an agent. There was another person present in the room and they jumped in and offered a viewpoint. Their viewpoint was negative (“Fuck them.” “Fuck the agent.” “They drop clients all the time without letting them know, so why should you let them know you’re dropping them?” etc.)

After this person shared their viewpoint, I offered mine. For me personally, I don’t like to burn bridges. I don’t want to establish a reputation in this town for being unprofessional and for having a bad, negative attitude. This is a small town and word travels quickly.

If I want to end my business relationship with an agent or manager, I write an email that has a sense of ethics and principles behind it. I don’t blame. It’s not filled with anger. I don’t point the finger at whatever upsets I have with them. It’s a respectful letter to end the business relationship, and at the end of the day, I sleep better at night because I ended it cleanly.

The problem is that most actors complain about their agents, but what are YOU doing to strengthen the relationship? Are you providing them with clear casting? New headshots that reflect that clear casting? Are you providing them with new demo reel material? Are you in training in acting classes? Are you utilizing social media and your relationship map to build relationships with people in the industry? Many actors don’t do shit, but then want to blame their agent for not getting them out. So before you break up with your agent cause “they’re not working for me” or “my agent doesn’t get me out”, take a good look at your part in this relationship because it takes two to tango…unless you’re into threesomes and orgies.

Many actors are ENTITLED and/or DILETTANTE. They don’t want to do any of the work, but still expect to receive all of the benefits, accolades, job bookings, etc. Fuck that. It doesn’t work like that.

So with that being said, here is an example of a letter I sent to an agent a few years ago. I left this agency because the agent was hostile. However, I still kept my letter clean.

Dear so and so,

Hope you and your colleagues are having a great week. It’s been a little over a year since we started our journey together. I want to thank you for all the work you and your colleagues have done for me from submissions to making my acting profiles more specific.

I’m writing because I’ve been assessing my statistics and journey as an artist, and after much thought and consideration, I am officially giving my official resignation to your agency. As of today, I would like to officially step down from your client roster. It’s a decision I feel is best for me at this time.

Again, thank you for everything and I wish you, your colleagues and your clients much success and artistic fulfillment. I will do my part and remove your agency from all my acting profiles as soon as possible.

Please let me know you received this.

Take care and thank you again.

Best,

Jorge Ortiz

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Chasing The Ambulance

On June 26th, 2015, at approximately 12:30pm, my teacher and mentor, Richard Lawson, said to me in the Professional Development Program 2.0 class that I should start a weekly blog. A blog that chronicles my journey as an artist. The highs, the lows, the challenges, the wins and everything in between. I’ve been studying with Richard for almost 10 years now and everything I have learned about acting and administration has been because of him.

Richard has seen my growth and my journey over these last ten years. He has seen it all: My laughs, my tears, my compliance, my defiance, my doubts, my growth and my evolution from follower to leader.

2015 has been no exception. At the beginning of this year, Richard challenged all of us in this particular class to step up our game and go after our personal projects with passion, enthusiasm, professionalism–or as they say on the streets, go after it like a maw-fucking pitbull with lock jaw. And every week, he wants us to present our progress and our logged hours to him and to the class.

So far this year, I have been averaging about 35-37 hours a week into my career. Not bad considering I work 30 hours a week for Richard. I presented my latest career administration statistics today and Richard said, “In each of you, I see the whole thing. Or I see the potential of the whole thing. So what I just saw for you was–cause I look at your journey as an actor and I’ve been part of your journey for a lot of years, so I’ve seen the progression. And I’ve seen the periods and I’ve seen the changes. And as I looked at the last ten years, I said, ‘Now what if he had blogged about that all along the way? What if on a week to week, day to day, week to week, no less than week to week, that you wrote about your journey as an artist? The artist’s journey. And you talk about the things that you do, the things that you did, the goals for the week, whatever it is in your blog that you want to share. That you would be speaking to probably all or some of every artists’ journey. So that people can identify with the–I hate the word, there are certain words that I hate. I refuse to use those words in my vocabulary. Words like ‘Overwhelmed’. ‘Struggling’. And so for you to blog about that could be a major thing because you’re blogging it from a standpoint of having the actions, the clarity, the organization, the artistic warrior, the postulates, the dreams and then the manifestations so that you postulate, there are categories of things. From week to week, you can choose the subject because the subject is clear. And you establish the subjects. And then this week I’m talking about postulates. Talking about work ethic and what a bitch that is. That from week to week, people tune in because it’s like, ‘Yo. Let me get behind-’ You know what it’s kind of like? It’s like getting behind the ambulance. In New York, if you see an ambulance, you will see motherfuckers who will fight to get in line because you know the ambulance is cutting through. So you see this ambulance and you see this trail of cars that are weaving through cause it’s the only way they can get through because everybody who’s not in that line is stuck. So what I’m saying is that for you to do a blog and to have that and you chronicle your journey, big. Big. So that when you get there, you have a lot of people who could testify. They followed the ambulance.”

So here we are. Chasing The George. Not a play on the Kevin Smith film, “Chasing Amy”, but rather, “Chasing The Ambulance”. When an ambulance is in emergency mode, they zoom down the streets with intention and energy. The ambulance is direct and cuts through traffic. Some people chase after ambulances so that they too can get to where they need to go. “Chasing The Ambulance”.

So week to week, I will be sharing how I am cutting through to achieve the things I
see and want for myself. And hopefully, I will inspire some of you on your own personal journeys to keep going and not give up.