Getting and Agent

15 06 2015

The business is full of Catch-22s, which will drive you mad if you let them. You can’t get an agent until you work, you can’t work until you get an agent. I can share with you my journey, my rather short journey, to getting an agent. But know this, there are as many paths to getting an agent as there are people in the world. I have a unique perspective on this now, because I have been on both sides of the battle to get an agent.

One of my OTHER jobs, is that I currently have a very tiny roster of kids, teens, and college-aged actors that I represent. I get email requests for representation daily, and I ignore 99% of them. When I get someone’s headshot and resume in the mail, I usually toss it in the trash without opening it – really. I am not a jerk, but I really want my roster to remain small and effective. So, I only take submissions through referrals at this time: referrals from local casting directors. OCCASIONALLY I will take a referral from a fellow actor, or teacher. But mostly, the folks I represent have come to me through an industry referral.

First, before you even attempt getting an agent, make sure you have your ducks in a row. Have a really REALLY good set of 2-5 head shots, showing slightly varying looks. Though you may have played a nerdy high school student, a British spinster, an aging debutante, and an axe murdered in college, your film/tv work will be significantly less vast and varied – especially initially. SO you need a headshot that looks like YOU and is done by a PROFESSIONAL.

When you get to emailing agents, don’t just cut and paste an general email and change names. Do your research! Ask actors you know who their agent is, and if they like them. THEN, find out if the agency has a website! GO TO THE WEBSITE, AND READ EVERYTHING ABOUT THEM, especially take note of their SUBMISSIONS POLICY. For my agency, I have very specific needs for the agency listed on my submission info page. I specifically state, “I DO NOT NEED ANY CLIENTS UNDER THE AGE OF FOUR,” however, I get SEVERAL parents asking me to represent their infants and toddlers every day. What that tells me, is that those parents QUICKLY WANT REPRESENTATION, but are not willing to do the work to understand the needs of the agency. Not a great way to start a relationship.

Lastly, BEFORE you begin pursuing an agent, and therefore auditions/work – get your shit together and have a mode of transportation. Really. I am all for leaving less of a footprint on the world, so your mode of transportation can be a really reliable BIKE, but have a mode of transportation! Not being able to GET to auditions is really the worst excuse for not having a career, right? Remember, there is a lot of traveling to auditions these days, and you are better off having a CAR that you can DRIVE to auditions, or to do regional hire work.

Once have your shit together, and you know which agency, or agencies you are interested in, pursue them in the proper way:

  1. Go to classes offered where the agent/agency is the featured speaker.

  2. Get into student films, or put together your own films to have some experience, and to put together a demo reel.

  3. WORK in the industry, in a job, to UNDERSTAND what it is really like on set, and decide if it is FOR YOU.

  4. Seek out coaches who are WORKING film/tv actors, and work on the craft with them.

  5. GO SEE local films, get involved in the film festivals, go to local plays, AUDITION for local plays. In short, get yourself out there.

  6. IF the agency’s submission policy allows for sending a headshot/resume/demo reel, by all means do so. I do not recommend sending one if the submissions policy specifically says not to.

Having realistic expectations is really important in this business. I have been there too, fresh out of college, with lots of great theatre credits, lots of great compliments from great directors, lots of training, expecting to just GET WORKING. The truth is, you aren’t really there yet IF it isn’t falling into your lap! Don’t be afraid to be humble, take classes, meet people, and get more training. THAT is how you will eventually get an agent!

More later…


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