Every actor I know has complained about their agent at some point or another. Before I moved to L.A., I went to a seminar that referred to them as the "pimps of the industry," so initially I was wary... until I met a few and they seemed like, well, like regular people. People with families and mortgages. People who just wanted to do good business with good people and pay those mortgages. Yeah, I've met some who turned out to be pretty smarmy, but I know plenty of smarmy actors as well, so, as the old saying goes, "there's a lid for every pot."
Besides, if agents are pimps, then professional actors have to be whores. (Let that sink in for a moment.) I decided against continuing that line of thinking, and started taking actions that would lead to mutually beneficial business relationships. My (unwritten and often unspoken) contract with my reps is to do MY job professionally:
know my package and deliver what I'm advertising on-time every time and as pleasantly as possible.
and to trust them to do THEIR respective jobs as professionals:
cultivate relationships with other industry professionals that enable them to get their clients into rooms that they may not be able to enter on their own, provide advice where appropriate, and negotiate the best fair deal possible.
It's a team effort, and as long as everyone does their job, it's a win-win situation. We all do good work, and we all share the wealth.
Like any relationship, we will continue in this way unless and until it's NOT working more than its working, which sometimes happens.
When I hear "my agent isn't getting me out," my first question is: "are you holding up YOUR end of the deal?" Because your agent really does want you to work (mortgage, remember?), but if you don't have all of your tools together, then they are better off putting their effort into someone on their roster who does. So look at your own toolbox and honestly assess: are you really ready for business?
If you truly are ready, are you marketing YOURSELF in any way? Do CDs even know who you are? If not, then you are a hard sell. Help your reps help YOU by attending workshops, classes, and cultivating your own industry relationships.
If, after you've done all of that on your own, your agent still isn't able to get you auditions, it may be time to have a conversation with him or her. But by that time you will have amassed a business acumen and some evidence of your work that will make you an easier pitch, either by your current representation, or when you look for another one.
This is YOUR career. YOU are responsible for driving the bus.