Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Do Political Beliefs Impact Representation

[reader’s name deleted to protect identity] comment prompted me to check his web page, which turns out to be little more than political screed full of hatred and vile language.

We all know agents (like prospective employers) check out potential clients online. I don't mean to pick on [reader]. Rather, this is an earnest question:

When a prospective client's blog or website is full of political ranting (from the left or right), does this affect your decision to represent them, either negatively or positively?

Wouldn’t it be nice if I could say, “No, absolutely not,” but let’s be honest. It will or could, in the same way any political thoughts or rantings I might share on this blog would impact whether or not you might want me to represent you.

Now, certainly you’ll have people who might reject you because your beliefs are different from theirs. In fact, a few years ago I shared a story with you about an editor who rejected a project I was pitching because of his political beliefs. They didn’t align with those of the project, which, granted, was a current affairs/political project. But something I don’t want you to forget is that you might also have people who would not want to represent you because although they might agree with your opinions, they might not like the fact that you’re ranting. Your style of expressing those opinions might be a turn-off.

Ultimately, if the project is great enough, many agents will overlook “rantings”; that being said, ranting can say a lot more about you as a person than simply what your political beliefs are. How you present yourself might say to an agent that you’re difficult to work with, or would be a handful, and even a great project might not be worth that because, as an old boss of mine used to say, “life is too short.”