How to get an Agent: 5 Tips for Actors. (Updated 2018)
If the #1 question I get from Producers-to-be is “How do I raise money for my show?” then the #1 question I get from actors is “How do I get an agent?”
Well, I promised a couple of up-and-coming thespians that I’d tackle this tough topic, so here are my five tips for actors on how to get an agent. (I’ve ranked these tips in order of effectiveness, from least to most.)
1. The Picture/Resume Lottery
Sending out unsolicited pictures and resumes to agents is like playing the lotto. Maybe, maybe, if you’ve got a great headshot and some solid credits to match, 1 out of 100 will score you a meeting. But, it should still be a part of everyone’s strategy, just don’t spend too much time on it. And do it regularly, hitting the same agents up on a schedule every month, quarter, or whatever you decide. Try shaking it up with a pic/resume, then a postcard, then a flyer on what you’re doing, etc. The advertising rule of “it takes 5 impressions for a consumer to buy” applies to agents as well. Repetition is key.
Think about interesting ways to get your pic/resume in the door. I once advised a bike-riding actor friend to deliver his headshot while pretending he was a messenger. I even made him carry a fake clipboard, and had him make the receptionist sign to accept his submission!
2. Pay to Play
You’ve all seen them: workshops like this one that charge an admission fee in exchange for getting some face time in front of an agent. Some workshops offer audition advice, others allow you to actually audition. I wouldn’t expect to walk straight out of the workshop with a top ten-percenter in tow, but I do know many a folk that have gotten meetings after wowing the agent du jour. Just understand what you’re doing – you’re paying to meet someone. It may not be the most romantic method, but there was a time when Match.com wasn’t cool either. And now, who gives an actor’s a$$ how you get the representation? This approach has come under fire recently, but it’s still a way to get a foot int he door.
3. Schmooze it up
Every business, but especially this one, is all about who you know. Get out there and “show face” as my dad would say. Get to every opening night party you can, and I’m not just talking about the Broadway openings. Get to Off-Broadway openings, regional openings, charity galas for non-profits, and anywhere where actors may be. Because where working actors are, their agents follow.
4. True friends refer
You can’t get into college without a recommendation from a high quality source, and often you can’t get into an agent’s office without the same thing. One of the most common ways that actors get agents is through a referral from a friend who is a client at an agency. So ask your buddies who have agents if they’ll make an introduction for you. They’ll get you in the door. What you do after that is up to you.
5. Do good work
Seems simple, but my last tip is by far the most common way that actors get agents. They are constantly performing, constantly improving, and are doing good solid work. And when you’re in a good show, and doing good work, people will come see it. Maybe an agent will come to see the actor that you’re standing next to on stage, but they’ll also see you. Or maybe an agent will come because they rep the playwright. Or maybe they’ll come simply because they like the theater. But putting yourself on stage in front of people is a great way to attract an agent. And, unlike the previous four tips, this puts you in the driver’s seat. Because instead of you practically begging to get in front of them, you’ll have them on their knees because of your talent.
Want more acting tips? Click here to learn how to up your audition game!
– – – – –
Enter to win this Sunday’s Giveaway: 2 Tickets to Catch Me If You Can! Click here.