How to Break-Up… Gracefully
We all know that feeling. It’s the feeling that it’s probably time to break-up with your agent or manager. The circumstances and reasons can vary.
They haven’t returned your emails or calls. The number of casting appointments has dropped. There’s been a change at their office and the new team just isn’t clicking for you. It’s become clear your current team cannot generate the level of opportunities you are now seeking or get you in the rooms you would most excel in.
You’ve thought about it, meditated on it, talked to trusted friends and advisors and even prayed. It’s clear. It’s time to part ways. The question is how? Here are a few simple tips to help make the breaking-up process professional and as painless as possible.
STEP 1: Write a list of all the reasons why it’s time to part ways
Once the list is complete identify the strongest reason for the break-up. Only put forth this singular reason for the break-up when you tell the rep your decision. The rep may attempt to dig further and get more information. Don’t go for it. This can make a pleasant professional break-up turn nasty.
It’s natural for a person to present counter-arguments to any reasons for the break. It’s a sensitive conversation and it’s easy for people to become defensive. No matter how many times they ask for other reasons, keep going back to the singular strongest reason for the break-up and you’ll curb unnecessary tension.
STEP 2: Call the Rep
I know it’s so tempting to just send an email. Remember our goal here is to break-up gracefully. Although a call may feel much harder it’s the respectful way to end your relationship with a rep. Most actor, -rep relationships start with a meeting. Reps then work for free to curate opportunities for clients.
A phone call after that level of investment on the rep’s part is reasonable. Be sure to maintain a calm and non-judgmental tone on the phone. As an actor you know how it feels to take a no personal, even if it’s a business decision.
CAVEAT: If you happen to be breaking-up with your agent and you have a manager. You can ask the manager to call on your behalf. But, when you can do it, the personal touch might be best.
STEP 3: Send an Email
The last thing every actor should say on the call to their rep is to expect an email formalizing your departure. It’s important to put everything in writing. The provides a reference point in the future should there be any dispute about commission.
If you’re concerned at all, consider tracking your email using readnotify.com or other tracking source you you know your email was received and opened.
BONUS: Expressions of gratitude during the call before you deliver the news you are leaving or in the follow-up email is a nice touch.
Here are a few examples
· “I just want to say how much I appreciate you believing in me and working so hard on my behalf”
· “I’d like to start by thanking you so much for the opportunity”
· “I will be forever grateful for what we have built together”
CAVEAT: They might respond to the compliment saying, “Well, if I’m so great. Why are you leaving. It doesn’t make sense.” At this point, I don’t recommend falling into a back-and-forth email chain trying to prove your point. You’ve said your piece and it’s time to move on.
That’s it! These steps don’t guarantee a smooth breaking-up process but they certainly make it more likely.
Be brave and be gracefully;)