If you want to be a musician, actor, or other type of entertainer, you will need to hire an agent at some point in your career. Your agent will assist you in building on the work you’ve already done to book more and better jobs, allowing you to advance in the field. An agent will also handle important paperwork such as contracts, giving you more time to focus on honing your craft. As you might expect, finding and hiring an agent is a big decision, and you’ll need to be prepared.
Part 1 Building Your Application
1. Determine what you want to do. The purpose of hiring an agent is to have a professional assist you in furthering your career. The best agents will be those who can support what you want to do, but they will only be able to do so if you have a clear idea of the type of work you want to do. This will make you stand out, and you will be more likely to find an agent who specialises in the type of acting you want to do.
Your agent is a professional in the industry who will work hard to get you the best jobs for your career. Good agents will certainly advise you on your decisions, but the decision to try out for or accept a job is ultimately yours.
2. Take a portrait of yourself. The majority of agents will require a standard headshot, an 8×10 black and white glossy photograph, along with your resume. Get one professionally done, and make sure to include your resume on the back.
Despite the fact that a headshot should be simple, you should try to capture your personality. Consider three “pride words” that describe your image, such as “fresh, intelligent, and confident.” Then, try to express yourself through your clothing, makeup, posing, and facial expressions.
While you will only send one headshot to an agency, it is a good idea to have several done with various looks. If you want to be more versatile in gigs, you’ll need to have shots available that show your ability to fill different roles.
If you are a model, you should have a professional portfolio with a wide range of images in different colours, poses, and looks.
3. Establish an online presence. A personal website allows agents to follow up on your resume and provide more information than what is contained in your cover letter. Include your resume, references, contact information, and any additional images or multimedia. This is also useful for publicising yourself without the assistance of an agent, which is essential for furthering your career.
Post any headshots and glamour shots you have in these places. Include excerpts from any performances you have given (depending on your field), ensuring that they reflect your chosen field. If you’re a musician, for example, images are great, but you should also include links to some sound clips. If you don’t have access to specific clips, provide links to sites that do.
Remember to include social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ when developing a professional network and image.
Look for industry-specific websites as well, as these are likely places where agents will go to check your background and other activities. It is a good idea to have a Spotlight page if you are a stage actor, for example.
4. Obtain referrals. Referrals, or information from other clients or industry professionals, are a common way for agents to select clients. As you apply for and accept various jobs, use this as an opportunity to meet new people and expand your network.
Other performers represented by the agency can also be a good source of referrals. When you first start looking into agencies, look online to see who they already work with. Then, try contacting those existing clients who have questions about the agency. Maintain contact with them and develop a relationship with them before asking them to introduce you to their agent.
5. Keep yourself busy. Agents shop for you in the same way that you shop for them. It will be difficult for an agent to see you as someone who will bring business if you haven’t done a lot of work. Aside from jobs, you’ll want to participate in other types of lessons and workshops in your field to demonstrate your commitment to learning.
Finding work without an agent may be more difficult, but it is far from impossible. Collaborate with people you know to create your own smaller independent projects, such as web series. Keep an eye out for open auditions and make an appearance. Your agent will only help you find auditions and deal with paperwork, but you can do those things on your own as well.
This is yet another excellent way to expand your industry network. The more work you do, the more experience you’ll gain and the more people who will be able to speak to an agent about your talent and potential.
Part 2 Finding an Agent
1. Locate contact information. You must be able to communicate directly with agents and agencies. While a local phone book can help you get started, visiting agency websites to learn about the agency, its clients, and the types of work it does can help you narrow your search.
Examine the directories of trade organisations such as the Association of Talent Agents. They will have a list of their member organisations as well as contact information.
Another way to find agents is to research who represents other talented individuals in your field. In order to find the best agent for your career, you should target people who are similar to you or do work that is similar to what you do or want to do. You can directly search for a client or agency if you know their name.
Begin locally. It will be more difficult to get signed by a major talent agency if you are just starting out in the entertainment industry. Smaller, more local agencies may be just as effective at getting your foot in the door, putting gigs on your resume, and paving the way for bigger representation later on.
2. Choose a specific agent within an agency. You don’t want to send a generic letter to the entire agency. Instead, try to narrow your search to one agent with whom you believe you would get along well and who may have the experience to help you advance your career.
Contacting multiple people within the same agency will make you appear desperate and unprofessional.
3. Examine the agent’s affiliations. Examine the groups she is a member of and any licences she has when you begin your search for an agent. This can be a good way to ensure that the person you’re dealing with has the necessary connections and background. Furthermore, if she is connected to other groups, such as a performers’ union, the union can provide additional information.
The ATA and the National Association of Talent Representatives are two of the more prominent professional trade groups for agents.
4. Prepare a cover letter. Because this is a professional business, you must conduct yourself professionally when contacting agencies. Make sure your package includes a brief cover letter outlining your experience and desire to be represented by that agency. One page should suffice.
Make your letter unique. Once you’ve found an agent to whom you’d like to send your materials, tailor your letter to address her specifically. Make it a point to explain why you would be a good fit for her agency in general, as well as for her in particular. Of course, be mindful of minor details such as correctly spelling the agent’s name.
5. Please send a follow-up email. Agents are busy people who receive a large number of letters every day and may be unable to respond. Send a follow-up note if you haven’t heard anything back, including a rejection. This is a good way to help your name stand out from the crowd and increase the likelihood of receiving a response from the agency.
Your note should be brief and serve primarily as a reminder. A simple email with the subject “I just wanted to check and see if you had a minute to look over my submission” gives the agent something to look for.
If you’re fortunate, the agent will respond without prompting. However, if you haven’t heard anything in two weeks, it’s probably best to send a follow-up reminder.
Part 3 Nailing the Interview
1. Arrive on time. Arrive at the agency 5-10 minutes before your scheduled interview time. This gives you a few minutes to use the restroom and collect your thoughts before entering the building. You’ll also get some extra time in case you get stuck on the way over for any reason.
2. Please bring your materials. Make copies of anything you sent in when you first contacted the agency. In addition, keep an eye out for specific questions the agent may ask you before the interview. If he requested them, he will expect to see them, and it will look bad if you are unprepared.
While your website is great for publicity, don’t send the agent there during the interview. If there’s anything important on there, make a copy and bring it with you to the interview. If this includes an audio or video file, make sure you have a way to play it without connecting to your website.
3. Dress appropriately. Your interview attire should be smart casual. You work in the entertainment industry, not finance. You are not required to dress as if you are attending a board meeting. The most important thing is to avoid appearing sloppy.
Men should not wear ties, and women should avoid business attire. Keep your wardrobe to a clean, well-dressed suit.
Be astute as well. If you will need to move around for your interview, such as if you are a dancer, make sure you are dressed appropriately.
4. Be prepared to perform in an audition. Meeting with the agent is just like any other audition. Prepare your best material for when you are called in to meet with an agent. The more varied your prepared auditions are, the more adaptable you will be in finding something enjoyable or appropriate to demonstrate.
It’s a good idea for actors to have 2-3 monologues ready to go. Make sure they cover a variety of styles, such as dramatic, classical, and comedic, to demonstrate your full range of abilities.
For a field like modelling, you should have a variety of photos on display to demonstrate your versatility. Bring a swimsuit or something else that will allow the agency to get a good look at your body.
5. Prepare your own set of questions. When speaking with the agency, it is a good idea to prepare a few questions of your own. Inquire about other clients the agency represents, the type of work the agency has gotten for its clients, and the kinds of expectations they have for you.
The interview will also determine whether or not you are comfortable working with this agent. Don’t be afraid to ask him a few questions about his thoughts on your work and career, as well as where he sees you going professionally. You’ll need to rely on your agent for career advice, so choose someone with whom you feel comfortable speaking.
Creative Commons License