I never, ever ignore referrals. If someone in the business asks me to meet an actor, I’ll do it. It’s a matter of respect. And now that I’ve done that person a favor, I can ask them to do something for me. That’s what keeps the wheels spinning here in Hollywood.
Now, the first rule about referrals is that they have to be real. You can’t just make them up. If you say that a casting director suggested you contact me, I will give that person a call to confirm your statement. And he damn better know you. If he doesn’t, you have now pissed off an agent AND a casting director. Not a good idea.
The second rule is that the person has to actually pick up the phone and call me. If an acting teacher tells you it’s ok to use her name in your cover letter, that’s not good enough. Sorry. It’s too easy.
The teacher is probably just being nice to you. She has to go the extra mile and contact me directly. She really needs to put herself and her reputation on the line.Why? Agents are judged by whom they represent? Referrals work the same way. Everyone in show business is judged by whom they endorse. If someone refers an idiot to me, then that person becomes an idiot too.
Did you ever see the movie “Donnie Brasco”? There’s a scene where Pacino introduces Johnny Depp to his mob friends. He makes a point of saying “this is a friend of mine”. In other words, he is saying that this guy can be trusted because he’s endorsing him.
The entertainment industry is the same way. So if someone is serious about helping you out with a referral, they have to contact me directly. There’s no other way.
Keep in mind that a referral doesn’t always have to be from someone in the industry. I get calls from friends all the time. The conversation usually starts with, “you probably hate when people do this but I know an actor who’s looking for an agent and I was thinking…”
Sure, I’ll meet the actor. Why not? That’s what friends are for. I’ve taken meetings based on referrals from friends, lovers, doctors, and even my mom. They’re not as valuable as a professional referral but once you’re in the door, you never know what might happen.
Besides, I ain’t saying no to my mom!
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