Since the beginning of Hollywood, and probably in a million offices around the world, the question has always existed: “What is the value…of being likeable?” Well, in a subjective profession like acting, I assure you, it matters a great deal so listen up!I’d likely say that it is truly imperative! As of the writing of this blog I have had 44 representatives in my long career. I don’t view this as bad or good, I just view it as necessary. I promise it is NO different than going on dates and changing who you date over the years. Sometimes you date a few weeks, months, years or even get married, have kids and are together for decades. All of them are possible but at the end of the day it is VERY hard to truly “enjoy” dating someone if they’re not particularly likeable.
Most reps will tell you, that unless their client CAME to them making a ton of money or that they now make a TON of money, there is no possible way that they could represent their clients if they didn’t at least “like them.” Now sure, within any client list there will be actors that that the rep just knows and likes and then there will be client that they deeply care about and have a stronger “outside the office” relationship. So while the love and respect for them both as an artist and as a person matters…being likeable is just a simple concept.
Being likeable, as an actor client, is about simplicity and professionalism in a unique mix and every relationship varies. But a major part of my experience, as a fairly intense person, is that being likeable comes from understanding WHERE the “line” is personally with your reps COUPLED with absolute mutual professional respect. There are times when I “crossed” the line personally either by being too familiar with a rep in terms of my conversations or jokes and/or expecting THEM to “include” me more than a client actor should expect. So you learn, you make mistakes, and you figure out how to judge by each different person or team of people that represent you.
Yes, while we technically are “hiring them” to represent us…we all know that it actually is “up to them” to be hired to “take us on” as a client. Therefore it should be naturally obvious that the agent-manager/client relationship is very personal and is built on trust and faith. That trust and faith can only be achieved through the process of getting to know one an other and finding out that we like each other or what about you that makes you “likeable.” But all I can tell you is that because 95%+ actors don’t really make any money it is truly important that despite putting any money in their pockets the reps are going to continue to work for you because when they THINK of you…they both respect your talent and draw a simple smile…about you.
So what makes a likeable person? It isn’t simply that you bring your rep Holiday gifts or baked goods or complement their shirt. Start with yourself and ensure that you are happy and the “set up” of your life makes the profession as easy as it can be. This means you’re clear on WHY you wish to pursue acting for money, it’s about living a healthy lifestyle, enjoying hobbies, establishing solid friendships, having many cultural and community interests. You also have to have a money job or day job that at least doesn’t bring you DOWN every day. It is the self-creation of a well rounded likeable person.
Many actors can not or will not live a healthy and happy life style. So many actors are so frustrated that every aspect of their lives is held in this grand regard of the suffering soul. The best clients are those that live in the “State of Gratitude” and understand that this business of acting has many great rewards and some pretty long downfalls. But in addition to all of this, still remember, that HOW you engage your representative on both personal and professional levels makes you either likeable or not. Have the proper perspective and position when discussing you and your career…and keep the appropriate distance when it comes to being “too close” personally. This will all help make you, and keep you likeable.
Always on your side. @theKevinE