The Love of Relationship
Did Cupid’s arrow get you yesterday, or did you celebrate Single Awareness Day? I’ve been thinking a lot about February 14th and all it stands for, and I realized it all ties into the Biz in one way or another. No, your career will not keep you warm at night (unless you’re into the casting couch), but, like Valentine’s Day, it IS about relationships: starting them, building and cultivating them, keeping them, and sometimes even ending them.
So let’s start at the beginning. If you’ve ever had a Tinder account, you’re well aware of what can happen when you swipe right instead of left. You also know this feature is there for a reason. Swiping right or left means nothing if you swipe right every time. The ability to swipe on Tinder narrows down your dating pool. You swipe right when you think you feel some sort of attraction to someone. By swiping right every time, you tell yourself you instinctually think you could have a connection with everyone out there. That’s just not true, and it wreaks of desperation.
The same goes for the biz. Weather you are in Chicago or L.A., you are not going to submit your information to every single agent, and furthermore, you are not going to sign with any and all agents that come your way. Don’t be desperate. Instead, know your worth, and do your best to narrow down your search by figuring out what agents excite you, and just as importantly, what agents are excited about YOU. Yes, this matters. Your agent should be excited to sign with you. If they aren’t, don’t waste your time with them. Just like dating, right? It’s better to be single than to pursue a relationship with someone who isn’t excited to be with you. This goes for dating and your career.
So you’ve both swiped right. Yay! What do you say in your first message? Remember, Tinder is the new bar. You wouldn’t walk up to someone in a bar and propose to them, but sometimes “Sup?” just won’t cut it either. How can you show them you’re interested without seeming desperate? On Tinder, you may want to write something personal, but not too long. Again, this isn’t a marriage proposal.
The same goes for when you contact Casting Directors. These people are busy. You don’t need to send them a novel about everything you’ve accomplished, and you definitely don’t want to put into writing about how you want them to call you in. Of course you want them to call you in, so don’t spell it out for them. Just send them a postcard with two or three sentences stating what you’re working on. Repeat this a few times a year to remind them you still exist. Short, sweet, and light. Perfect for Tinder. Perfect for Casting Directors.
So you’ve met on Tinder, had a few dates, and you’re in that fun gray area: not casually dating, but also not in a relationship yet. It’s kind of a fun and exciting stage, so enjoy it! Just remember, relationships, even at this stage, are two-way streets. Your new friend deserves respect and communication. Take the initiative. Plan the next date. Call them on occasion, but not too much! On the flip side, if your new friend isn’t reaching out at all, or if you are planning every single outing, make sure you note this. Remember: you deserve to be happy and respected as well.
This is also true for your agent relationship. Communication is a two-way street! Keep your agent in the loop. Like with casting directors, let them know what you’re working on. Invite them out to your shows and offer them comps. That being said, expect the same from them. Ok, your agent won’t invite you to shows, but they should be keeping you in the loop. They should be fighting for you and letting you know they’re fighting for you. Once, about a month went by where I didn’t get an audition from one of my agents. She emailed me to let me know she has been submitting me, but things were just a little slow at the moment. What an awesome email to get. Of course I want more auditions; who doesn’t? But to get an update from her like that made me feel I can trust her and that she cares about me. That’s a good actor/agent relationship.
The exciting part about that gray area of a relationship is that the possibilities are endless. You can’t stop thinking of them! You could get married and have 2.5 kids, a dog, and a white picket fence, preferably surrounding a house, in the suburbs. Or, of course, it could end tomorrow.
Let’s face it: most relationships end. It’s just a part of the process, and we all know it. I know, it sucks. I’ve been on both ends of a breakup more than once, and it’s never easy. You lose your Person. Your daily support just doesn’t exist in your life anymore. You think you’re fine until you hear Sam Smith in the car right before an audition and start sobbing, all while wondering, “What the hell is wrong with me?!”
Ok, maybe I got a little too specific and personal there. Oops.
In those moments, it’s easy to lose hope. You’re stuck. Your former companion / new “ex” is now your doctor and your sickness. You can’t live with or without him, and that’s a sucky feeling. But you know what? Your heart mends. I can’t explain why or how, but it just does. Simple as that. And you know what else? Being single is better and healthier than being in an unhappy relationship.
We actors inevitably go through the same process with agents. Breakups exist in our careers, and they also suck. If you really feel your agent isn’t fighting for you, and if you feel what should be a two-way street has all of the sudden turned into a one-way, it may be time to terminate your contract. These conversations are never easy. In these instances, meet with your agent face to face. Try to keep your emotions out of the conversation, and do not over explain or apologize. Be brief, professional, and respectful.
Burning a bridge is not the end of the world, and who wants a bridge in their life that leads to a place you don’t want to be? This is your career. Make it the one you want.
In every aspect of our lives, from love to career, relationships matter. Create the world in which you want to be a part; that will always start with the relationships you cultivate.
That being said, take some time to reflect on the relationships in your life and celebrate those that matter most to you.