In my course of trying to get a good agent or manager I’ve found that professionalism is key. It is almost vital to make sure you are prepared in all aspects. You need to make yourself accessible for anything and everything. I’m still trying to learn how to balance my regular source of income job with my career as an actor.
Finding an agent/manager to represent you isn’t the easiest thing as an actor to find. You’ll notice in industry talk that the agent/manager “finds you”. So, with that in mind, why not just LET them find you by displaying/representing yourself to the best of your availability.
Here are 8 steps to consider when putting yourself out there for representation.
1. Do your research. Find agents/managers who represent your type and who are looking for new clients. The best way to do this is by using my favorite source IMDb PRO. Look up agencies, see who their clients are, are they working? what kind of work have they done? Do they work with NON-UNION? Take all these matters into account. Also, LA Casting has a great source of agencies and casting directors which say what actors they represent, if they accept unsolicited mailings etc. I also HIGHLY recommend visiting a Samuel L. French bookstore. Its the place to go for actors in need! Ranging from books for new actors, breakdowns on agencies who are currently representing new talent with their addresses, etc. that you’ll need to contact them, and its just a FUN place to go when you’ve got the time to read plays, browse film scripts, and to do research. I love that place!
2. Professional headshots are key. Do your research online for various headshot photographers in your area at the best cost. You may find inexpensive deals, but be careful because they can end up being worth as much as they cost. Its worth it to throw down the extra $100 if need be. You’ll need a commercial shot, theatrical shot, and any character shots that you can get always make a difference. The more photographs the more opportunities.
3. Resume. If you are new as an actor with very little work to show it does make it harder for you than an actor with more experience. I do highly recommend you work as much as you can before looking for representation. Audition for some short films, student films, theatre, anything you can get your hands on (regardless if it pays or not, trust me, its worth it!). I will include professional resume layout resources in a seperate blog!
4. Training. Get yourself into a class! Having certain coaches and acting teachers on your resume really does make a difference as well. Casting directors, agents, and managers alike will sometimes call your teacher (so you can’t lie about it!) and see how you are in your class. If you are capable of a certain role and how well you take direction.
5. Flexibility is almost necessary as an actor. Even I haven’t conquered this one as I’m sure I’m not the only one! We actors (if we’re not already working professionally as a full-time actor) have to have day jobs or night jobs to pay rent, buy those headshots, and get that training. Most auditions are during the day so a night job is always more recommended. An agent could call you day OF an audition and if you’re not available because you’re at work it will lessen the value they have toward you. They start assuming you’re not ready when really you’re as ready as you’ll ever be, you’re just stuck trying to make ends meet. Yes, I do speak from personal experience!
6. Find your NICHE! Most actors haven’t figured out what they’re capable of so they stick to the same old dry/dull/boring roles that truly are not right for them. I guess thats okay to start, but why not figure out what roles really get under your skin. The roles that really make you think and that really become a challenge for you – I’ve discovered those are the best! Its good for an actor to know their age range and to know what they’re capable of. I think once you’ve done this, you can pretty much do anything and be open to any role. CHALLENGE YOURSELF!
7. Now you must package your talents and skills to the best of your being. When mailing out headshots/resumes to casting offices, agents, managers, etc. there are definitely certain rules to follow. I feel like this is a whole other blog so please keep checking back with information about creating/mailing a package.
8. And most importantly, Integrity. Do not lose your integrity! Don’t do anything you feel uncomfortable doing regardless of what it is. If you feel uncomfortable let it be known. It shows that you’re a strong person willing to stand up for yourself when needed. I mean this in all aspects of life, but as an actor there are things you may or may not be willing to do and it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Just don’t give up if you’re not hearing back from your mailings or its taken you months and months to find representation. People say it takes at least 10 years to get a full solid acting career going here in Los Angeles. Don’t forget who you are and your purpose.