Does a Cinematographer Need an Agent? – ON THE GO – Episode 84

In this episode of ON THE GO, we talk to two big cinematographer agents about just what exactly it is they can do for you.

Although our site caters for many DIY and entry-level filmmakers, if you are successful and talented at your craft, you no doubt have been taking on larger and larger gigs, to the point where you may be wondering what could be the next logical step in your career. Eventually, you may even wonder if you need to look for an agent.

During Camerimage Festival 2017 we had the chance to talk to two agents representing a couple of big agencies in Europe and the US. Kristen Tolle-Billings works with Worldwide Production Agency and is based in Los Angeles, although the company has offices on both sides of the Atlantic. Kasper Notlev is part of ArtOfficial, a talent agency based in Copenhagen but operating worldwide. During our car ride in the cold Polish winter we asked them: what exactly can they do for DPs wanting to further their career?

agents

Kristen Tolle-Billings from Worldwide Production Agency

At its most basic, their work involves finding you jobs – that is clear. However, this “middle-man” position goes far beyond negotiating deals to getting better rates and conditions and pitching you out to whatever projects are taking place. Their jobs require in-depth study of potential scripts, production agency treatments and directors’ visions in order to be able to match up queries with the right DP in their roster.

Kasper Notlev from ArtOfficial

On the flip side, it also means cultivating strong personal relationships with the talent they are in charge of. As Kasper says, if – for example – he knows one of the DPs he’s in charge of is going through some particularly difficult moments in their personal life, he knows they may not particularly be the right choice for a long shoot overseas.

The agent can also serve a key role in helping expand your portfolio – which, Kristen says, is essential in an industry where any one particular style (music videos, commercials, etc) may see an unexpected drop in demand, risking to leave you with a reduced income.

An agent can also help you chase your own creative endeavours. Whether what inspires you is a brand-new piece of kit, a new technique you want to try, or the work of a particular director, an agent can help make the necessary connections to get you shooting something that you are really passionate about and that, in the long run, will hopefully help you both find larger projects to take on together.

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