From Lesly

“Why Can’t I Get Repped?”

By lesly kahn | February 8, 2016

I thought you might like to see this correspondence between an actor and me, as it may prove helpful to some of you. My responses are embedded below.

Hi Lesly!

I know [the reps I’ve been meeting at workshops] say, “Wait until after pilot season,” but I’ve been busting my butt in workshops since October and I don’t know how to convert.

Wow! Six whole weeks and you’re not yet with CAA?!

Since October, I have attended 10-12 agent/manager workshops and almost 90% of my written feedback has been consistently 5s across the board (4s making up the 10%), but I can’t even convert the straight 5s to a meeting to save my damn life.

So, wait. You’re telling me you’ve been to a total of 12 workshops and you’re still not at CAA? I’m sorry for the sarcasm, my love, but welcome to life as an actor in LA. These things take time and luck.

When I did hear something, its been “you’rE great but”:
1. “we already have a black girl” (I know, but she looks NOTHING like me);

That probably means they aren’t interested in your particular look.

2. “you are getting amazing training, keep me posted on how that goes” (so when exactly am I supposed to keep you posted??);

When you book something. When you’re in something, send a postcard. This means they don’t feel they can do anything for you, given your resume.

3. “I’ll talk to her after pilot season” (hmmmm … that doesn’t help me now …)

That means they hope you will have gotten some credits between now and then, so that they can send you out and get auditions for you.

I even get that weird look when they look as if they are trying to figure out something or analyzing me.

That means they don’t think they can get you into rooms.

There are a lot of actors I think are VERY good (5’s), but if I don’t think they’ll work, if I don’t think casting will call them in, I wouldn’t sign them if I was rep, nor would I meet with them or try to get them auditions. If they don’t fit into the categories I see in the breakdowns, why would I do otherwise? To be nice? If I’m a pretty ritzy rep and an actor looks to me like a career co-star as opposed to a series regular, I wouldn’t meet with that actor.

Now I don’t happen to think that’s you. I think you will work. But I don’t think it’s gonna be easy for you because you are not 17, a model, or in a girl band. Nor do you have a billion hits on anything. You’re just good. Good is not marketable all by itself. Not today. Reps want to sign the actors that will be slam dunks. Understandably, they don’t want to spend their precious time fighting uphill battles. Again, because you are not 17, a model, or in a girl band, you are an uphill battle. That’s what you need to fix.

Now from the CDs – I’m told “you are amazing but you have to get great reps around you” or “your team is going to be lucky but you have to have the right team” and/or “your time is coming but you have to have the right team”.

They are correct. And if and when they have a part for you, if you stay in contact with them, they will bring you in. But there aren’t a lot of parts for you so that will happen rarely.

Now, layer on that when I do meet agents/reps, I provide a submission packet that includes a spreadsheet of all of the shows/CDs I have auditioned for, been put on hold for, as well as the shows I booked – I still can’t convert to a meeting.

It’s so nice that you are auditioning and being put on hold, but you are not making money. Reps only make money if you make money. So, until you look like you are making money, no one is going to be terribly interested in you.

Adding another layer that my manager either won’t or can’t set up rep meetings – notwithstanding me getting 5s.

Fives mean you’re good. Fives have nothing to do with money. What are the categories on those casting workshop forms? Is one of them, “Looks like she’ll make a lot of money?” Is one of them, “Has a zillion hits/likes/followers?” Nope.

NEED. HELP. Badly.

Yes, you need help understanding the business you’re in and working with it as opposed to against it.

I can see the other side but don’t know what I’m doing wrong or how to break through that glass ceiling. Any advice/help you can give would be sooooo greatly appreciated.

I don’t think you’re doing ANYTHING wrong. It just takes time. You need to slowly make fans. Be at the right place at the right time. Get exposure. Have 100,000 Youtube followers, 8 billion Twitter followers, an important spouse, etc. “Good” and “5’s” do not generally translate into rep, auditions, and work. There’s some magic, some alchemy that has to happen as well. It’s not like law school — you graduate, pass the bar, and get a job. 

I’m sorry to be the bringer of such bad tidings. And I’m sorry to be so plain speaking. But you’re wasting a lot of time wondering what you’re doing wrong, instead of continuing to do what you’re doing right. 

Much love,