Most actors realize that getting an agent for acting is an essential factor to becoming a working actor. But how to land that agent is a different question all together.
Sometimes at first, you might find that it is either much easier or much harder than you thought it would be to get an agent. Then after you have been at it for a while, you may notice that your feelings and opinions have gone the opposite way completely.
Regardless, there will be times when you need to come up with some new ideas on how to get with a different talent agent. Whether you are starting out or have been doing this for a while, here are five great ways to try to get in front of the talent agencies.
1. Send out a cover letter mailing to the actors agents of your choice that you would like to be with.
This includes an introduction letter and choosing one individual agent to send your mailing to. Smart Girls Productions has literally helped thousands of actors get with legitimate agencies over the years by doing this. It is an effective powerful and fast way to get new representation when you do it correctly.
2. Get a referral from another industry contact.
If you have contacts in the industry, you should not be shy about asking for referrals. When you ask for the referral, do it graciously, but don’t be shy about it. Hollywood is built on relationships and people hooking up others together. This is part of the game. The sooner you get comfortable with it, the sooner you will move ahead in the game.
3. Live performance: Do an agent showcase, take a workshop, or perform a play and invite agents to attend.
Periodically, you may find opportunities to perform a scene for a theatrical agent in person in a showcase. For showcases, a group of actors prepare a few scenes ahead of time, then invite talent agents and personal managers to come see them on a particular night for the purpose of showing off their work.
These are done far less than they used to be since so much work is being shown on internet websites and YouTube, but it is still great if you can do it, because you get to meet the agent briefly and they get a sense of your personality.
Of course, doing the full production of a play is even better if the agents come to you because they will get much more insight into your acting abilities. Just be sure that if you are doing a play to get an agent that you have your marketing plan in place up front and that you make a concerted effort to get them to attend.
4. Create a video of your scene and send out a demo reel or send postcards with a link to it online.
One of the advantages of the internet is that you can easily show your work when you have it on tape. You could create a scene, shoot it, and then do a mailing to refer agents back to it. It’s another way to show your talents. This one overlaps a bit with the mailing listed in number 1, but it’s another idea to add to the mailing.
The same with doing short films and student films. You can do them — whether performing in someone else’s or your own — then create a reel and put it on your website or YouTube. Then you do some kind of mailing to drive the agents to take a look at it.
5. Participate in industry events and try to meet them out and about at networking events.
If you live in Los Angeles, try to attend live events whenever possible and network. Events are always going on around town in which you have an opportunity to meet industry people, including agents. Although the event itself may not yield you getting representation, by you being out there, you can begin to nurture a relationship for possible representation in the future.
Getting representation can seem like a monumental task because the most reputable actor agencies are swarmed by up and coming actors wanting to be represented by them. There’s also the catch-22 that they want an actor who has credits but yet you don’t have credits and that’s why you need an agent.
The most important thing is to incorporate as many of these strategies as you can when it comes to getting an agent. Start networking, meeting people and asking for referrals.
But never forget that you can also do a cover letter mailing at any time without doing anything else.
You can literally sit down and start mailing out your headshot, resume, and a cover letter within a matter of a couple of hours.
There are very few agencies in town who can say that they have never called anyone in from a agent mailing. In all my experience, the only really great agency that I know of that has never called anyone in from the mailings that we’ve done is CAA (Creative Artists Agency).
All the rest of the strong agencies, as well as the starter agencies have called my actor clients in at one time or other.
If you want a new agent, you can start immediately taking action with a mailing. Then add in some of the other strategies and you will very likely have a strong agent in your corner pretty quickly using a combination of these five strategies.