Chapter 71: Four Bad Things
by Leesa Dean
This week has been nuts. Insanely busy writing, planning, setting stuff up. Had three meetings scheduled. Two were cancelled/postponed. And the third was a bust. This summer has been interesting…and challenging.
The third meeting wasn’t for the TOP SECRET big project I’ve been working on this past year. It was with a small level agent who reached out through a friend. We chatted via email and I agreed to meet for drinks. Full disclosure: While I am hoping to connect with an agent, in general, I’ve found that small level ones–meaning ones not connected with a large agency, or formerly from a large agency and starting their own–are normally a waste of time. So why’d I take the meeting? Two reasons: 1) My friend asked me to (this agent is trying to build a cool client roster) and 2) bigger agents aren’t exactly banging down my door right now.
The signs that the meeting was gonna be a bust were all over the place. Here are Four Bad Things that were tip-offs that this was not meant to be:
1) He arrived 20 minutes late and didn’t call or text to let me know he was behind. No bueno! I happen to be really punctual. It’s not only my nature, but I have never ever ever taken a meeting with a big muckety muck who’s shown up late. When you go in and pitch a tv show, you usually get 15 – 20 minutes. Having someone on your team who’s unapologetically late is stressful and unprofessional.
2) We met in a really cool LES coffee place. At 3pm. What’s wrong with that? It told me this guy probably doesn’t have an office yet (i.e., is working out of his apartment.) Not a great sign. By the way, this does not, obviously, apply to creatives. It’s just an observation about agents specifically in show business (not managers). Sometimes it does work out but I’ve learned from sad experience that mostly, it doesn’t. Not having an office to go to, unless you’re huge and in transition, usually indicates you’re not quite there yet.
3) Didn’t recognize any names on his Facebook friends list. This is BAD. I’ve been around long enough to know a number of people in the business and while not everybody has social media presence, people who are worth taking meetings with normally have a who’s who in their friend’s list. And these aren’t people who were tricked into being their FB friend. They’re legitimate contacts. We live in an age of transparency. If you don’t have huge connections, what can you do for me?
4) Badmouthing people. This is just dumb. And really bad news. After we chitchatted for a while, he ended up badmouthing a few people at some networks. Did I know them? No. So why is that a bad idea? Cause it’s a really small business and word can get out and possibly destroy a business connection. If someone bugs you, tell it to your boyfriend/girlfriend, mom or bff (as long as they’re not big mouths). Otherwise, word can get around that you’re “difficult”. I would not sign with an agent who badmouthed people.
So, aster la vista small-time agent. Next week: I’m back at YouTube NY for two workshops on audience development that should be really cool. Plus, it’ll be the first time I’m at the new YouTube studios (which, I believe, aren’t fully built out yet) and the first time I’m at a workshop without Chris Chan Robeson, who used to run them. Looking forward to meeting the new staff there!