How to get the right agent?

by | Nov 29, 2023 | Uncategorised | 0 comments

Every actor wants an agent, so how does one get one?

A better question to ask is how does one get an agent that’s worth their salt? 

There are too many agencies who might take an actor on board just to fill up their quota and let the actor just sit on their ‘waiting’ list, sometimes for months on end with no future prospects. 

So, how do we go about getting the right agent? 

Getting an agent is a two-way street. The most respected agents out there will already have a roster of their top actors whom they represent, and they will go all out to get them work because the big names are the ones who bring home the bacon. After all, an agent’s job is to make money, not just for their clients but their 10 percent.

The trick to securing a good agent is to find the work first ourselves. If we can draw attention, make an impression, and keep honing our craft, an agent will eventually take notice and offer to help us secure better future work we are after. This thought process may be difficult to digest, especially if we are just starting out and are expecting an agent to find work on our behalf. 

Let’s get that thought out of our head! As the majority of agencies cater primarily to their top clients, we may find ourselves at auditions that are unsuitable, or of a calibre we do not appreciate. And as some of us are still new to the game, the roles are likely to trickle in incredibly slow. 

We will be the smallest fish in the pond of established fishy actors, so in order to grow those big fins we will have to swim, hustle, develop legendary scales and work extra hard until we are considered worthy of more viable auditions. 

Once an agent sees our commitment to the path, as we show willingness to do most of the leg work ourselves, he or she will soon gravitate towards assisting us in finding better roles, gradually helping to bridge that gap between us and them. 

In his book Born Standing Up, comedian Steve Martin describes the years he spent on the stand- up comedy circuit, travelling all over America and performing nearly every day. His style of comedy was very much off-kilter, off the cusp, edgy and different from what an audience might have expected. But due to his perseverance and audacity he became a star in his own right, and is regularly quoted for his famous line: “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

And that is our job.

We are only worth as much as we put in. In other words, if we expect to sit on our butts and do nothing it is likely that this is all we will be doing, even if we have a decent enough agent, and eventually we will end up with a flat butt, which is far from ideal. 

Instead, let’s show the acting world what we are capable of. The aim is to elevate ourselves to a point where a good agent will stop and take notice of us. They will appreciate the time and effort we are putting into promoting ourselves and will feel compelled, yes, compelled to reciprocate and get us the work we deserve. But that will only come from meeting them halfway. 

If we don’t already have an agent then now’s a great time to see how we can nab one, and one that is worth it. 

So, listen up acting peeps because here’s the best way around it: 

First, we must do the research about the agent who we’d like to represent us. We do that by trailing through google and various social media sites that can bring to light some material and info about the agent we’re after.

Find out who their clients are, who they represent, what their values are. Follow them on social media to discover their likes and dislikes and see whether we have anything in common with them. Gather this information so that we’ll have a good excuse to approach them in the first place.

Then, let’s do some soul searching; let’s write down who we are, what we are best at portraying or playing and why we want to act. Do this. We want to work on our pitch here since it’s going to be a statement about who we are and what we are up to in the acting world.

It’s our big game and it needs to have a payoff. Remember we are contacting the agent because we have something to say and it goes back to being specific. What is that one thing that stands us apart and makes us unique? 

If we look at most successful actors out there, more than likely they know themselves and know what they do best and where they fit in – and they know this very clearly. We must have clarity about who we are and where we fit in in the grander scheme of the acting universe. 

Next, write a couple of sentences about our acting characteristics. The type of roles we’re most suited to play. See what adjectives best describe those characters. This goes back to knowing thyself. Are we serious, quirky, funny, morose, business like, bashful etc. 

If we’re not sure then answer me this questions: If I was to produce a Hollywood film and pay you five million dollars to play the lead role which one would you pick? what role would you play and more importantly why choose that particular role?

Once we’ve decided the characteristics then let’s stretch it further ‘We’re good at playing such roles because…’ figure out how to give this meaning and back it up. To do this, let’s add a story to our pitch which shows how we managed to overcome a challenge or two. 

Let’s describe how we discovered our talent for a particular character we played in a short film, a stage production or even a scene and show how we succeeded in bringing it to life. 

Make sure to grab the agents attention by communicating our message clearly. Again, be specific about what it is we’re putting across whether in a phone conversation or an email. We must bring this information to them with a punch. 

When we do this we will be approaching them with our hand full and not our hand out. 

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