At the risk of sounding like someone who says, “When I was a child, we….” I am amazed that kids around here get the whole week of Thanksgiving off.
And here we go: When I was a child we went to school on Monday, Tuesday, and a half day on Wednesday.
Isn’t the more lengthy Christmas vacation right around the corner? Plus, we live in an area of the country where there are lots, and I mean lots, of unexpected snow days. If there are too many of them, additional days in the classroom are scheduled at the end of the school year. So why do they need this whole week off?
Ummm….probably none of my business. (Whoops. I just saw a school bus. Maybe they have school only today? I’m confused.)
Don’t get me started on our unbelievably high school taxes. That’s a post in itself.
This happened the other day. I love it when clouds are tinged with the colors of the sunset.
Time for the Getting Out of The Way Story (for lack of a better title.)
Most professional actors have an agent. That agent submits the actor for auditions, handles contract negotiations, and gets a percentage of whatever the actor earns for a job. It’s virtually impossible to find work in NYC without an agent. Don, who has been acting professionally since he was 20, has had numerous agents over the course of his career.
For the past few years he has been working with a particular agent. At first, this agent rubbed Don the wrong way. They didn’t ‘get’ each other. One day, they had a long talk which changed everything and they’ve had a fairly good professional relationship ever since.
Side note: I’ve often thought this agency wasn’t aggressive enough on Don’s behalf and I’ve said as much. And Don has felt somewhat the same way – lots of theater auditions but far fewer film auditions and Don really loves working in film and would like to have the opportunity to do more of it.
On the day that Our Town closed in New Haven, I arrive at the theater in time to share in a toast with the actors, crew, and director. After we pack up the car and are on our way home, Don says that one of the actors in the play has just mentioned to him that his agent saw the show and asked about Don’s ‘situation,’ which is agent-speak for “Is he represented by another agent and I’m interested in him.”
This particular agent runs her own respected and well-known agency. So, interest on her part is a very positive thing and Don, who is feeling a bit restless, wonders if he should set up a meeting with the agent. I vote for doing that very thing because sometimes an actor needs someone who sees him with fresh eyes.
We get home. Don checks his email, where he finds a letter from the man who owns the agency he is currently represented by. The letter says that after 40+ years of running his agency, he is retiring and closing the business at the end of the year.
The owner goes on to tell the actors that they will be contacted by their individual agents with more information.
Okay. So now we’re thinking that it is extremely fortuitous that this other agent expressed interest in Don. Don writes the actor and asks for the agent’s name, etc., and asks if the actor could put in a good word for him. It’s the weekend, so Don doesn’t hear from him immediately.
Let me insert here that finding a new agent is never easy. It’s a real challenge. And when you’re an older actor, it’s even harder.
But Don isn’t panicked. He’s remarkably calm. He decides not to worry about it and trust the outcome. (That’s something we’ve been saying rather frequently around here lately.)
Don writes his agent because he’s worried about him. Will the agent be out of work? What will happen to him? He gets a lovely response from the agent saying not to panic, that Don will be taken care of, that there are plans afoot but he can’t say anything about them yet. In a follow-up email, the agent (Ron) says something hinting that he and another agent (Kym) have something in the works.
Over the course of the next few days, while waiting to hear from his friend about the other agency, Don mulls over the whole thing and, because Don is who he is, decides that no matter what potential opportunity he has with another agency, he is going to stick with his current agent, even though the other agency looks like it could be a better and more exciting fit.
He’s loyal that way. He doesn’t know what will happen but he trusts that it will all work out for the best.
In the meantime, Don hears from his friend who has given a glowing recommendation to his agent.
Fast forward a few days. Don is upstairs copying some pages for an audition. He calls out to me, “Wait ’til you hear this!”
He comes into the den to read me an email from Kym (who I mentioned earlier.) In this email, Kym announces that she has entered into a contract with another agency, which means she’ll be bringing some actors that are represented by the soon-to-be defunct agency along with her. But only some. During the course of negotiations, she and the agency owner have gone over a list of actors and have decided who will be brought into the new agency.
Don is one of them.
The agency? The same one that Don was tempted to set up a meeting with, but decided not to out of loyalty to his old agent.
The agent who had just seen Don onstage in Our Town and expressed interest in him is the owner of the new agency.
The Universe, God, a Higher Power…whatever you want to call it…moved everything into place and engineered an outcome we couldn’t have imagined. The best possible outcome for everyone’s good. (Don’s agent is taking this opportunity to retire, so the outcome for him is good as well.)
Getting out of the way. Surrendering. Knowing that only good will manifest. Trusting the outcome.
It’s sometimes almost impossible for us to trust, to let go, to know that all will be well, believe me.
But we’re getting better at it.
(Did I ever tell you the story of how I got my job at Boston University? Let me know. If I haven’t, I’ll share it with you. Another story about surrendering and trusting the outcome.)