Three ways to get an agent, and the one silver bullet to guaranteeing you one.

Everybody wants an agent.

Why?

Well, everybody wants to be loved.

And when an agent or manager or other rep signs up, they are raising their hand and saying, “Hey. I love your talent.  And I’ll work for you and handle all the yucky business stuff so you don’t have to.  Oh, and I’ll only get paid when you get paid.”

That’s love!

So how do you get one of these lovers and a fighter (the best agents are both)?  As I promised yesterday, here are the three most common ways that you can score an agent in the theater biz.  And these three ways work for actors, writers, designers . . . it don’t matter.

And those three ways are:

1.  THE LOTTERY TICKET

I like the lottery.  And I play every once in a while.  It’s not expensive.  It takes no time.  And the reward could be enormous.  But, do I expect to win?  Nah.  Somebody does, I guess (although I’ve never met a winner).

The ol’ school tactic of sending out pictures and resumes (or letters and then pictures and resumes as K Callan taught in her book (which I highly recommend)) is like playing the lottery.  It can work, but don’t count on it.  And if you do it, don’t just blanket every agent on the planet.  Do your research and pick a bunch that like your “type” and focus on them.

2.  THE SET-UP

One of the best ways to get in the iron doors of an agency is to have someone that is a client introduce you.  Ask your represented friends to make a call on your behalf and set you up.  That kind of recommendation from someone they know and trust goes a long way.  Now, your friend can get you in the door, but once you’re there, it’s up to you to seal the deal-i-o.  That’s why The Set Up is a great way to go if your’e looking for an agent, but it’s not the best way, which is . . .

3.  GET SEEN

By far the #1 way to get an agent is to get in a show with other represented actors that agents come to see.  Agents are like pick-up artists – their eyes are always open, looking for the next get.  Surrounding yourself with great people will get great people to come to you.  And that’s what brings me to the silver bullet of how to get an agent . . .

Without a doubt, the one surefire, guaranteed-to-get-you-a-rep way to get an agent is . . .

Do good great work.

Sorry, but it’s that simple.  There’s no secret way to write a cover letter, or perfect picture, or even the right recommendation that is gonna guarantee that you get the representation you want.  But if you do great work?  Agents will be chasing you down.  And, well, to continue the metaphor from yesterday . . . wouldn’t you rather the Head Cheerleader ask you to the Prom, rather than you have to chase after her?

I know actors and writers that spend 50% of their time trying to find an agent, because they think an agent is going to be the answer to their career dilemmas.  Sure, look for an agent . . . with maybe 10% of your time.   The rest of the hours in your day should be spent working on your craft . . . writing . . . doing shows . . . taking classes.

Because when you’re ready for an agent, one will magically appear, whether you like it or not.

So don’t worry if you’re not repped.  Just go . . . get great.  And if you can’t find an agent then?  I’ll represent you.

 

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)
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Comments
  • C. Hope Belmont says:

    Great article Ken! So great….that I’m forwarding it on to my acting teacher, the amazing Mel Mack who specializes in T.V/Film acting and is a CD. With so many shows shooting in our fair city, actors are clamoring for an agent. But it’s so true what you (and she says)….if you do GREAT work, the agents will come. Produce your own show/web series….take classes…hone your craft. The agents will be there when it’s time. Thanks for being a Rock Star with today’s blog Ken. Not enough people tell it like it is!

  • David Merrick Jr says:

    How absolutely true, but you’re too nice to say why. The sad truth is, when you pursue an agent or manager, they’re just not that into you.

    No agent or manager wants to be chased. When they see someone they want to sign, they’ll reach out.

  • Many of my college kids put so much emphasis on the “NY Showcase” and in getting an agent or manager from it that they freak themselves out. Most of the kids that do get an agent from it don’t stay with that agent very long and the truth is the kids can get into auditions without an agent now. I agree with the part about having someone else do the negotiating for us. But I think as years roll on, more and more, we can self submit and be the “agent” ourselves. OR we can get into a Casting Agent’s files ourselves by taking their classes or doing good work in our actual auditions. That is why teaching the “business of acting” is so important and needs more attention in colleges I think.
    Now as my students become well-known, like Christine Dwyer, playing Elphaba right now in Wicked, they definitely need an agent and manager to guide their careers.
    Various stages of development can use various approaches to the “agent” process I think.

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