How To: Break Up With Your Reps
Let's ask ourselves a few of questions.
- Do you like the people who represent you? Actually consider the answer here. REPRESENT and not reps. Imagine you are a person on a dating app and your reps are going on your first date for you. Cool with that? No? Hmm...
- Does it bother you to send them money? Granted if you're not making any they aren't either, but if paying them for their time and work feels like paying a dog walker to ring your doorbell, excite or piss off your dogs, and walk away, that's a problem.
- Picture yourself at an awards show accepting a big major award. Are you happy to say your reps names to the audience as you accept this recognition? No? Ok, let's talk:
You probably know deep down even without these questions that you're done with them. But what's holding you back? If you're like me, it's the old "don't leave your lover till you have another" phrase that was advised to me over and over. Fuck that.
I spent the better part of a year complaining about a particular area of my team. After chatting with my coach one evening off-hand, she asked, "how the fuck haven't you left them yet?!" and I told her I needed my next people lined up first. She then asked who I had lined up.
The point here is I was not putting in the effort to find anyone because I didn't have too. I was safe and warm, albeit annoyed, but I was comfy.
The day I dropped them was the day my outlook and plans all came into play. I shed some weight and yes, it has been quiet in some audition departments, but I am not dreading phone calls anymore, or emails putting me down, instead I am sending my own emails, putting out word. I am in charge now. We are in charge of SO little of our trajectory in acting. #smallvictories
So let's get to what you want to know: how to break up with your reps.
Based on several past breakups, long conversations with my coach (Sara Mornell), this podcast with agent Monica Barkett, and this one with agent assistant Kristen Joy Bjorge, here is what I think works the best.
1. Send it via email. Why? Don't waste someones time in person (unless this person is a very close personal friend, that's different).
⇒Time is money and you leaving is like losing an investment to them.⇐ Don't make it worse than it already is. Yes it seems impersonal and rude but there is no way to make this process clean and neat. So keep emotions out of it.
2. In said email, keep it professional but also honest. Give them some reasoning as to why you are leaving them (that's the honest part) but don't phrase it in a fucking rude way (that's the professional part). For example, say they never return emails or phone calls and just generally suck at keeping you in the loop: I have made this decision based on our past interactions, I don't feel our communication is where it needs to be to further my career and the office is no longer a fit for me. You get the picture. Why is this important? ⇒The same reason businesses ask you "how come?" when you unsubscribe from their email lists. Everyone just wants to be better and they don't always know how.⇐ Do them a professional curtsey and tell them your issue(s).
3. Be prepared for the phone call that will most likely immediately follow. And actually pick it up. Yes, it may suck. But maybe it may not. Don't get defensive, just let them speak their case and listen like a good actor. Then, more or less, you can restate your email. I did this with while my boyfriend was at home sitting next to me. ⇒Just having someone with you makes you feel a hell of a lot more supported and makes you question your decisions a lot less.⇐ Are you an awkward phone talker and don't know how to say "goodbye" without being Titanic "I'll never let go Jack" dramatic? "Thank you for your time, I'm sure we'll cross paths soon" or "I appreciate the call, have a good night" are some options to not accidentally say "ok talk to you later"....because you will not.
4. Now, you have 2 emails to send: email the rest of your team the next day (a cooling off period) and inform them you are no longer with you XYZ people if they were directly in contact (like a manager to a commercial agent and vice versa). ⇒And then email your coach or mentor and make a career counseling appointment.⇐ Much like having someone hold your hand when you're on the post-breakup phone call, you need someone to hold your hand in the planning of the next steps so you don't feel crazy and/or lazy.
Here is my sample email with an email title (for some reason, one of the hardest parts is putting something in the title spot). Please do NOT recreate this exact email, but use it as a template or a jumping off point for your own:
And you did it! Yay! Scary, yes. But like, dentist scary: you put it off so long and then when you finally get it done it's never as bad as you think it's going to be. Message me if you need someone to Skype-hold your hand.