One or many agents?
The way most people do it here is that they send their profile to as many agents as possible.
Why do we do that?
In Thailand production companies have either good or bad relations to certain agents which means that they have 2-3 agents that they prefer working with and then ask to send their talent. However, there are probably more than 50 agents in Thailand. In turn this means that, if you send your profile to only one agent, chances are high that you will not hear about a lot of jobs and will simply be left out.
This is the point of view of the talent.
From the agent’s point of view.
The agents receive hundreds of profiles from people for each job they post on Facebook or somewhere else. They have hardly any or no relationship to their talent. Therefore, they also hardly have any interest to stand up for their talents.
Maintaining the agents’ relationship with the production company is much more important to them than standing up for their talent.
This is for the very reason that agents are replaceable, there are so many and they all have the same talent. So, if one agent bulks up, just get the same talent from another agent that causes less problem.
As agent you have to be pretty stupid to stand up for your talent and lose your main client – the production company.
- What are the consequences of this situation?
As a result of this negotiating your budget is extremely difficult.
In Thailand, most times, the budget is set before you go to the casting. By whom? The casting director and the production company.
So without knowing the most important things about the job like: What medium (Internet, TVC, banners, etc), Which countries? Which part, main, featured? What will you have to do? Which company is it for? For how long? What is your contract? What are the terms?
You already agreed to take the job whatever it may be for the budget that the production company set, because they posted the budget with the job.
Ask yourself: Does the Production Company have your best interest in mind?
Probably not. They are competing on the budget with other production companies to the client. They are trying to keep your budget as low as possible in order to make their maximum profit. The more money you get, the less they make.
So who can represent you?
Well, that should be your agent. Your agent should have your best interest in mind, but as mentioned above, they actually have very little interest in standing up for you. Hence, right now, the only one who can represent you, is you.
So what can you do?
The picture I have painted above looks very gloomy. As talent you are in a troublingly weak situation. When I asked a casting director whether I could re-negotiate my budget, which I felt was too low; after having been to a casting:
“You can try, but until now only the Casting Director and the Director have seen your casting video, if you ask for more money, they may not present you to the client.”
This was shocking to me. They would simply not present me to the client? Not let the client make the decision to maybe give me a higher budget because they saw value in what I did?
So, seriously, what can you do?
Judging from this, the only point at which you actually do have all the information you’d need to negotiate your budget AND the actual leverage is after you have been confirmed to do the job.
Sounds shitty to you? Sounds shitty to me.
This sounds pretty shitty, doesn’t it? I mean, that means that you’d have to say yes, yes, yes, and then in the final moment draw the break and tell everybody, “Stop! Now let’s talk about the budget, or I won’t do the job.” It is your good right to do so, and probably your only possibility to get the budget you deserve, BUT it may also get you blacklisted for other jobs.
Talents are the weakest link in the chain
As depressing as it sounds, there is no Actors Union, like in the West. There is no minimum wage. There is no one to truly represent you.
You have to realise that because of the situation that we are in and because we accept it to be the way it is, we are the weakest link in the chain.
No good agents at all? No! There is one agent!
Sounds like an Asterix quote? It is. Nonetheless, it is sad but true.
I have worked with many agents, there are many that I like on a personal level. They are personable and helpful.
The only agent whom I know that is standing up for his talent, and therefore got blacklisted by many production companies for ‘being difficult’, is Kaprice Kea.
I am aware that he is the only name I have mentioned in the entire article, but he does deserve credit for standing up for his talent.
In a best case scenario
After having painted this gloomy Hieronymous Bosch style picture, I actually do think there is still hope. It is hard, but would be of real benefit to the talent here.
In a best case scenario:
- We establish an Actors’ Union to represent the interest of all actors in Thailand (and people actually sticking to what they agree to)
- Talents are represented by one agent and one agent only
- Production companies / Casting Directors are required to inform all agents about jobs and allow them to submit talent without prejudice
- Production companies are required to reveal all details about the job to the agents to open fair negotiations
- Talent refuse to work for sub-standard conditions
- Open a Dialogue with the Production Companies to improve the standards for the talent
What will happen if we don’t do anything?
- Budgets will continue to fall
- Working hours will continue to increase (Now 13 hours has become the standard – 12 hours plus 1 hour break, in Canada it Is 8 hours)
- There will be less and less transparency about jobs
Do you want to know how to become an actor / model in Thailand? Check out this video or this article How To Become an Actor in Thailand:
Do you want to learn more about me? Check out my website: http://www.robinschroeter.de