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Old 06-17-04, 07:52 PM   #1
scot
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Scot Immediate help please

I'm not sure what to do about this agent. Would appreciate your comments.

Currently I'm doing a long term gig. This is the story of dealing with the agent.

GETTING THE JOB:
My friend called and said, "you should do this show, it will be fun." He gave me the phone number for his agent. When I called, she told me a couple of the details(including her 10% fee), and gave me the phone number of the production company. I then called the production company, told them my web address, and convinced them to hire me.

QUESTIONS:
I attempted to use her as an agent by asking questions. She answered, I believe, 5 of those questions and gave me some extra advice. For most of the questions, she told me to call the production company directly. Every question which she did not know the answer to, took between 1 & 3 days to answer.

One question: should I get a costume made? Her answer: yes. The truth: the venue provides a costume, and it's 18th century themed. Cost: $400.

Her advice: pack any extra, and overweight/ oversize bags you want. The charge for each of these is only around $50. Cost: 1 day delayed at airport (I had to repack and borrow money), $500 shipping for some of my possessions which have not all arrived here yet.

CONTRACT:
I had three issues with the contract. I let her know. She said, "write down some notes on what you want to change and send them to me. I'm good at wording these things. I'll make the changes and send them to the production company."

I did. For the next 3 days, I don't know what she did with these notes, but she got back to me saying "You need to send them your contract." It took me another day to amend the contract and send it in.

They didn't accept my changes, and it took longer than it should have. Cost: more days delay, and more work on my behalf.

THE REST:
The rest of the time, I dealt directly with the production company. They were clear, quick, and helpful. All the questions were answered well and they went the extra mile to make sure that everything went as smoothly as possible.

MY QUANDARY:
She wants me to pay her her commission now. I would love to never work with her again. I feel like she hasn't done anything to get me this job and I don't believe she deserves two weeks worth of my wages. I don't have a written contract with her.

Thanks for your opinion,
Scot
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Old 06-17-04, 09:31 PM   #2
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It would have been completely avoided if your friend had given you the production companies number rather than his/her agents.
She provided you with 20 (?) weeks employment and charged 10% which in itself is reasonable.
Some of her instructions to you were uninformed and cost you money, those costs were directly related to bad information she provided.
Specifically the costume and the baggage. $900
I would suggest that you politely outline those expenses (the other stuff about waiting for answers and having to deal with the contracts rather than her doing it strike me as overreaching a bit, very subjective, whereas the other things are concrete expenses based solely on bad advice you are being now asked to pay for)
I would suggest that, after investigating whether you can return or resell the costume and deducting that if applicable from the expense total,
You put it to her that while she was instrumental in getting you employment that you had agreed to reimburse her 10% in return for. She has, by her actions cost you 'X'.
Be nice (Ha ha I just realised what I just said)
Anyway , be nice, suggest that , if indeed she is prepared to take responsibility for giving you expensive and wrong instructions, that you are willing to see it as a mutually educational experience, something that will not likely be repeated and mistakes being part of any process etc etc, offer to split those costs.
She now has 2 choices, she can bluff playing hardball knowing she doesn't have a legal leg to stand on, (and you can walk away with the whole amount secure in the knowlege that morally you are justified in protecting yourself against getting ripped off by amatures) or she can take the olive branch your offering and settle for her original 10% less half the expenses she alone is responsible for.
Then you marry.
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Old 06-18-04, 12:31 AM   #3
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Scott, Sometimes one's wallet must take backseat to one's art. Pussy.
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Old 06-18-04, 01:32 AM   #4
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Default My 2 cents

I wouldn't pay her the commission. She sounds like a pain-in-the-a$$ who is not worth working with. Martin makes some valid suggestions, but it's really up to you.
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Old 06-18-04, 03:48 AM   #5
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Scot burning bridges at both ends

Scot,

You can ill afford to piss off any agent until you can fill a house with just your name.

Most of the things you asked her about are typically your responsibility not an agents. Costuming, excess baggage fees, etc.

Only the contractual requests and amendments are shared responsibility ... but here again, a simple fax of your contract and rider would have put the ball in her court.

Pay her her crummy 10%

and you do have a contract ... it doesn't matter
if it's made out of air.
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Old 06-18-04, 06:52 AM   #6
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Butterfly my tummy hurts

Yeah. I'm paying her. Thanks for the advice. I'm sure she would thank you too.

Scot
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Old 06-18-04, 10:23 AM   #7
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Canada ever lost $6,000 worth of work in one day?

Since Scot’s dilemma seems to have been solved (at least for now), I was wondering what you all might have to say about a similar perplexing situation I recently found myself in … Perhaps you will share what you would have done in a similar circumstance.

A well-known festival promoter asks me to both perform and manage a group of fellow performers in a far away land for a period of one week.

We agree on a price inclusive of both the performance fee and the managerial fee. It is also understood this agent would be responsible for travel and accommodations.

No written contract was signed but it was implied it would soon be forthcoming (the gig was 7 months away) … I blocked out the agreed dates on my calendar.

I hear nothing for 6 months.

Then I get a call (by another agent) for a gig the day BEFORE this festival was supposed to start … it was for only one show (coincidentally for the exact same fee that I would be getting for the entire week at the other festival).

Repeated calls and faxes to make sure it would be OK to accept this other gig go unanswered …

What would you do?

a) Take the new gig … irregardless of the needs of the festival promoter.

b) Turn down the new gig … honoring the original verbal agreement with the festival promoter (and making sure that you would be able to abide by their wishes 100%)

c) Take the new gig and just hope things work out.

d) Turn down the new gig … only to find out 3 days before the festival starts they decide not to hire you because Jimmy Wong freaked when he saw your videotape.


Can you guess which one I chose?
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Old 06-18-04, 10:58 AM   #8
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D

Usually with the asian thing verbal agreements are solid but 'J' plays both sides of the fence.
I have experience of him securing my availability and then just maintaining silence.
But heres an interesting fact, you actually have to be in his presence but if you can get a third party to put him under stress (like being late to get in the elevator and come down and get on the shuttle) He mutters really frank business facts to himself, Like "this guys being charged out at $X a day!"
Interesting when $X is 75% more than the performers fee.
I'd love to follow you around with a camera robert at one of these gigs. Show just how inane the personalities are offstage and just how venal a minority of promoters are.
Still, after working in Japan for 3 years its cool with me, I file some business relationships under, 'the devil you know.' that way its kind of fun.
Best one ever (and I worked for him for years) was a guy called Matsumoto in Tokyo.
Rob Maclaren was working the street in Japan and he came up and said, "You! You must work for me, You work for me I give you free T shirt every day!"
And I love Rob because he's so funny and so guileless and his reply sums up the way his brain works sometimes.
So Rob replies, "Different T shirts?"
And Matsumoto goes, " No..Same T shirt."
He called me over from NZ on the strength of this brilliant business relationship and within a couple of months we had got up to the staus quo of $500 a day. (I had worked as a negotiator for actors equity when I was 22, I was on the Board as a token youth)

Last edited by martin ewen; 06-18-04 at 11:18 AM.
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