5 Tips on How to Bounce Back from a Disappointing Talent Agency Meeting

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Meeting a Talent Agent

Meeting a Talent Agent. Gary Burchell / Taxi / Getty Images

Throughout your acting career, you will likely meet with multiple agents and/or managers until you find one that is a good match for you.  Similar to dating, some of these meetings with potential business partners will turn out very well, and others may not turn out to be too great. What should you do if you attend a meeting with a talent agent or a talent manager and it doesn’t go well?  Click the next slides to read 5 things to keep in mind.    

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1)  Understand that You Did Your Best

Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury / OJO+ / Getty Images

Understand that You Did Your Best! 

I recently wrote an article about what to do if you feel that you have had a "bad" audition. Much of that information also applies to an agency meeting that doesn't go very well.  If you leave your meeting with a potential talent agent feeling disappointed, or feeling like you didn’t do your best work, don't be hard on yourself.  If you tried the best that you could do at the time of the meeting, then you did a great job!  Let's face it, agency meetings are not easy. Actors often feel pressure to impress an agent, and this often results in feeling more nervous.  

I recently attended a meeting with a talent agent - and that meeting honestly turned out to be one of the worst that I’ve had in the 7 years that I’ve worked in entertainment!  

Although I was prepared and had received coaching on a scene I was to perform prior to the meeting (which is something to aim to do before a meeting if possible), it just wasn't my day! I felt "off," and I felt nervous.  I delivered a performance which was far less impressive than what I know I am capable of.  This brings us to the second tip on what to do if in this situation!    

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2)  Acknowledge What Can Be Improved Upon

Sam Edwards / Caiaimage / Getty Images

Acknowledge What Can Be Improved Upon

After leaving my meeting, I felt down and discouraged.  I began to focus on the negatives, such as, “I did a horrible job” and “I shouldn’t have been so nervous,” and “Maybe I’m not a very good actor.”  

It is at these exact moments that such negative thoughts can creep into your mind - thoughts about giving up, or questioning your choices about your career.  You must fight through these feelings, and one way to do this is to turn the seemingly negative situation into something positive!  What did you learn from the experience?  What can you improve on for the next agency meeting?  I recognized that my nervousness came from feeling a lack of confidence during that meeting.  I made it a point to be sure that it wouldn't happen again.  (Here's a suggestion for bringing confidence to your next talent agency meeting!)   

The career of an actor is filled with stories like the one mentioned above - feeling low to the point that you don't think that you can keep moving forward.  On the other hand, the business is also filled with stories of disappointment and rejection which are subsequently told by some of the most successful people, simply because they refused to give up!  An excellent example is Walt Disney, who encountered numerous obstacles to success, yet Disney would not surrender his dream.  

Don't allow yourself to give in to negative thoughts when you experience a tough situation such as a disappointing agency meeting.  These challenges will not stop you from becoming the actor and person that you are destined to become.  And speaking of your future and the destiny of your career, you – not your agent – hold the power in your own hands. 

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3)  It’s YOUR Career, Not Your Agent’s Career

Sam Edwards / Caiaimage / Getty Images

Remind Yourself:  It’s YOUR Career, Not Your Agent’s Career

A “bad” or disappointing talent agency meeting is not going to make or break your acting career.  Regardless of the outcome of a meeting with a talent agent, an agent will not be the only reason that you will become successful in this business.  Can hiring a good agent help you in your acting career tremendously?  Absolutely.  But, while there are some incredible agents in the game, it is your will to succeed, your work ethic and your talent that will carry you in this business.  (After all, the only person you can truly ever depend upon is yourself). Remind yourself that - even if you experienced a terrible meeting with a top agent - it won’t stop you or your career from progressing.  Only you have the power to stop or keep going – no one else decides.  (I say:  always keep moving!)

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4)  Apply to More Talent Agencies

Apply to and meet with talent agents. Robert Daly / Caiaimage / Getty Images

Apply to More Agencies

There are more agencies out there than the entertainment business knows what to do with.  I can almost guarantee you that there is an agent out there who is a perfect fit for you to hire.  If you have recently experienced a disappointing agency meeting, make it a point to send your headshot and resume to others!  Again, like dating, the initial hurt of a bad experience (or a rejection) can be tough, but once you get back in the game, you’ll feel much better.  (Here’s a list of SAG-AFTRA franchised agencies.)  

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5)  Be Your Own Agent!

Be Your Own Talent Agent!. Diane39 / E+ / Getty Images

Be Your Own Agent!

I truly believe that - even if you’re signed with the best agent in town - you should still always be your own agent too.  The majority of successes that I have been fortunate to have seen in my career so far, including booking roles in television shows in films and in commercials, have been without the help of a talent agent or manager.  It has happened because of hard work and dedication - including being a "pleasant pest!"    

If you are pursuing an acting career, you are your own boss.  It is important to remember that your career can and will become anything that you desire it to be.  You can always obtain auditions on your own, and now with YouTube and new media changing the way that the industry operates on many levels, you have the opportunity to get yourself and your talent out to the world more than ever before!

You, my actor friend, are very talented, and a disappointing agency meeting should not stop you from reaching your potential.  Always keep moving forward – I believe in you! 

Update:

Friends, I always aim to provide you with an authentic portrayal of what it is like here in Hollywood as an actor.  After the disappointing meeting which I described in this article, I kept moving forward and recently secured new representation with a fantastic talent agent.  If you use every "no" as motivation to keep moving, you can absolutely succeed and make your dream your reality!  Never give up!  (Click here to read what Irish actress Jenny Dixon says regarding never giving up!)   

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Daley, Jesse. "5 Tips on How to Bounce Back from a Disappointing Talent Agency Meeting." ThoughtCo, Feb. 4, 2017, thoughtco.com/bounce-back-from-disappointing-agency-meeting-16369. Daley, Jesse. (2017, February 4). 5 Tips on How to Bounce Back from a Disappointing Talent Agency Meeting. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/bounce-back-from-disappointing-agency-meeting-16369 Daley, Jesse. "5 Tips on How to Bounce Back from a Disappointing Talent Agency Meeting." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/bounce-back-from-disappointing-agency-meeting-16369 (accessed November 24, 2017).