February 24, 2010
Ever notice during the Academy Awards the winners from both sides of the camera always find time to thank their agents and managers, before even co-stars and spouses? They never forget these people. Even when the cut-off music begins they do not leave that stage without thanking the manager(s) who stood by their sides and the agent(s) who put the deals together.
Odd and sad then, that during every –and I mean every- advertising awards show the winners never –and I mean never- thank the men and women who got them the very jobs that are winning them awards!
I’m of course talking about artist representatives; otherwise known as “reps.” A liaison between agency and producer, these are the folks who secure gigs for the photographers and directors who produce all our ads. An indispensable link, and yet they typically go unheralded: by agency personnel and by their own talent.
Why? Maybe it’s a form of restrained prejudice where they are considered “help” and the creative community their masters. More likely our egos and insecurities get in the way. God forbid we share credit with yet another person. Neither option is attractive (to them or us) but either way it’s been like this forever.
Yes, there are exceptions. And yes, I should probably speak for myself. But still, these soldiers of our fortune deserve better.
When I first started out, it was reps that took me to lunch, introduced me to peers, and talked to me when my supervisors wouldn’t. They came to my office, bringing coffee, cookies and directors. Entranced, I even asked a couple of them out on dates! One or two may have even said “yes.” Like I said, theirs is thankless work.
While the digital age permits reels and photos to be viewed over the Internet, the artist rep can and does play a vital role in getting jobs booked.
So… to those many tireless advocates of creativity: for all you’ve done (for me and the industry), for all you’ve endured, and for all you’ve brought to the table- Thank you!