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How to Get an Acting Agent

Updated on September 16, 2013
How to Get an Acting Agent
How to Get an Acting Agent

How to Get an Acting Agent

The answer itself to the timeless question of "How to Get an Acting Agent" is worth millions, probably, but the reality is that in theory -- it's not that complicated, and here's why.

Talent agents are not enemies to actors; they are just another type of business folks working hard to strike it big in this cruel entertainment and movie industry. Their goals is similar to those people who are trying to achieve fame and success in the performing arts industry, and this has been very well covered in Acting for Beginners Guide.

Agents are always looking for someone to make them money, and if you can become on of those actors, there's no reason they wouldn't sign you. It has nothing to do with how you talk, behave, dress, smell, etc. (okay, maybe a little, but it's insignificant); it mostly has to do whether you can book acting gigs or not. And if you can -- representation is yours.

It's simple, right?

But the problem is not resolved here, because, unfortunately, even the most talented actors seem to be out of representation in these huge acting meccas like Los Angeles, London or New York.

Here's what will cover down below:

  • Solving the catch-22 problem
  • Your main priority - networking
  • Being ready when the time comes

It seems that if only these actors could have gotten into the room, if they were presented with that opportunity to audition for a big part in this big budget movie, they would nail it! And there's a high chance that indeed they would, but the problem is -- they cannot get into the room without representation, and without getting into that room, agents and casting directors will never hear their name. It's the good old Catch-22 situation of trying to book a job without experience.

It's always easy after the networking part.
It's always easy after the networking part.

Solving Catch-22

There are plenty of actors that consider themselves one of those special talents that would book the job if they just got the opportunity, and I'm sure you are one of them. But as stated above, there isn't too many opportunities around where this talent of yours could shine, which in turns presents the problem of not being seen and consequentially invited by acting agents. Therefore, let's answer the question of how to get an acting agent tackling the first part of it...

How to Get Agent's Attention

In order signed by an agent, you need to first of all get into the meeting with that person, and in order to do that, you first have to get their attention. Accomplishing this task could be either difficult or very easy depending on how knowledgeable you are about this industry, dedication to it and all the marketing tools you have in your acting arsenal.

Start off first of all from acquiring (if you haven't already) all the necessary equipment an actor absolutely must have:

  • Headshots
  • Resume
  • Demo reel

These three, as we all already know too well, are the main components of pursuing your dream acting career. In addition to this trio, you can also add (if you can afford them) things like: business cards, thank-you cards, various post cards, cover letters, etc. All these little things that you could use when communicating with acting agents and casting directors. Your main goal at the start of your acting career is to properly network, and do it right and as often as possible.

Networking is the Key

This part is always easier for actors who are natural extroverts, more sociable and love going out as often as possible. Networking is one of the key components to success in this business because everything in the entertainment industry is built upon connections, connections and more connections.

It's not about who you know, it's about who knows you!

So as soon as you have all those little marketing tools ready, start tackling parties and various industry gatherings, making connections with anybody and everybody around. You never know who these people might turn out to be: screenwriters, producers, directors, talent agents or fellow actors. These people might be just starting out but great up and comers, or they could just as easily be already established in the industry. Try to make friends, build those connections and use them when you need it.

For those that are worried about not being able to communicate with people and socialize, unfortunately, it has to be this that this is the most sure way to get agent's attention. If you're seeking to get an answer to the million dollar question of "How to Get an Acting Agent", then here is your answer -- get referred to one.

Someone referring you to an agent will usually mean that they will also ask that particular agent to give you a time slot in their busy day and take a look at your resume and headshot. If this happens, consider yourself lucky; it's a great opportunity that was brought to you by your dear sponsor, networking!

Making connections in Hollywood, New York City, London or any other major acting city is absolutely crucial to an actor's career and is next to talent on the scale of importance. Make sure you learn how to build those connections and use them wisely when the time comes.

Be ready for that meeting

As soon as you know people are the industry and especially when they know you, the word about an actor (i.e. yourself) is spreading around the circles. Slowly, of course, but you did get your name out there. Sometimes this might take a few months, other times a few years. Building connections and networking properly isn't easy and it's just as a hard of a job like any other (if not harder).

When you get that word about your name flying around, you're ready to start taking advantage of this. Maybe ask for references from other actors to their agency's or producers/directors/screenwriters if they know any talent agents who might want to take a look at you. At this point your goal is to get seen by an agent. It always has been, because actually signing by an agent is a lot less stressful than getting into the room with one.

However, after spending a significant time on the networking part and already seeing the results, make sure you are ready for that agency meeting when it comes. What does this mean, ready? Here's what it means.

  • Have your resume/headshots/demo reel ready and in perfect shape
  • Cover letters, postcards, thank-you cards, etc.
  • Build up a knowledge about the industry, agencies and other parts of the business
  • Research the agency you're going to for a meeting with an agent
  • Stay true to yourself and most importantly -- just be yourself!

All this and more means being actually ready for that meeting whenever it comes. Don't miss the opportunity of getting signed by an acting agent just because you overslept, was late for the actual meeting or forgot your resume. You need to show that particular agent that you're a professional actor who will never disappoint them if they sign you. Be ready, always!

When you will finally get into the room with an acting agent that seem to be interested in representing you as an actor, you will see how less stressful the whole situation actually is compared to what you have gone through just to get this meeting with a talent agency. All you have to do now is relax and follow your common sense: give them your resume, headshots and show the reel. Be polite and enthusiastic about your prospects. Read your monologue like a true professional.

You know that you deserve to be represented by a good agency. Believe in that!

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