Is Now a Good Time to Be Reaching Out to Agents?
Change is good. Change is hard. We are designed to fear it for survival, but with change comes growth. Making the decision to change your representation, be that for acting, directing, screenwriting or whatever film discipline you’re in, is a massive step. Deciding to commit to your love of the entertainment industry by joining it is also huge, and as we’ve mentioned in previous blogs, you can’t do it alone or without a proper agency/management company behind you. But as they say in Hollywood, “Timing is everything.”
Finding the right film industry opportunities
Award Season is over. Last year’s bells-of-the-ball have come and gone, letting La La Land back to producing its blockbusters, indie dramas and latest tv series. Spring has sprung and for anyone who isn’t familiar with what that means for our city of stars: Pilot Season is upon us. Or is it? Normally, the broadcast networks would have sifted through hundreds of scripts and pitch decks to focus on green lighting between 10 to 20 comedy/drama pilots each for the Big 4 (ABC, CBS, NBS & FOX) and about half a dozen for the CW in the race for new content.
To break it down, the traditional tv model would hire A-List actors, an entire artistic team and crew to shoot/fully produce the first episode of a new series. Which is called a “pilot.” They would then test all of their 10-20 pilots with a select audience to discover which performs best and which is the best bang for their buck. Then in May, in New York City, they would announce which Pilots would be turned into full series for the following TV season. This is the gold rush for film industry jobs. All of a sudden there’s a plethora of roles and positions to be filled on each production. Creating an influx of talent traveling to LA. Now, the shooting locations have changed with tax breaks and the pandemic shifted most auditions to zoom but originally most would shoot and cast in person. And like we mentioned before, for the most part, in order to get the job, you’d need an agent or manager, which usually requires an in person meeting, most of which are based in Los Angeles.
Reaching out to agents during a writers strike
Agent and management reps are the gateway to being seen for any potential jobs. So naturally, you’d want to reach out around now, to take meetings and help fill all the audition opportunities flooding their way. Only, the 2023 Pilot Season has hit a historic low with 13 pilots ordered across ABC, CBS and NBC. With none at FOX as it’s pivoted to straight to series or the CW, which is under new owners and is exploring some co-productions.
How we consume TV is obviously transforming fast. We can’t ignore that. Streamers have taken the lead on viewership as the double digit million viewers from broadcast TV of the past (The Simpsons getting 33.6 Million for season 2 premiere) has shifted to the luxury of choice and complimenting of our personal schedules that Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. provides. But as the new streamers rise, and as traditional tv hangs in there, they are both still affected by the impending writers strike. And everyone in the industry is aware and preparing for it.
Should I be reaching out to agents now?
Which begs the question: is this a good time to reach out to agents or managers? Despite the fact that I am a loud cheerleader for change, and want you, reader (YES YOU), to follow your dreams and to trust your gut, I would also encourage you to be wary about the time ahead. A lot of industry professionals are “waiting to see how this all plays out.” That’s not to say that you won’t meet someone personally passionate about you who signs you regardless of the state of the industry, it just means there are less minds open to the idea of expanding their rosters. Bringing you on may require development and they can only do that through auditions or projects when there aren’t many to be had for the people already signed by them. It also costs a pretty penny to get down to Los Angeles, and if this is your one shot because of financial constraints, think about postponing for what I hope is no longer than a few weeks. The last strike lasted for over 100 days.
But your dream is your dream, and what is best for you is only up to you. The time away from creating new series and stories will bring a bounty and necessity for these networks and studios to be minding the gap in their content. Good times are to be had, we just don’t know when. This was all to inform you on the current state of the industry. With that being said, “What is meant for you, won’t pass you by.”