What are Some of the Biggest Mistakes Actors Make When Looking for An Agent?
Trying to figure out how to get an agent? Maybe you have started the process but aren’t sure where you are going wrong.
Whether you are looking for a talent agent in New York, a manager in LA or a commercial rep in Atlanta, there are some pretty common mistakes that many actors make. Save yourself the time and energy and get your search off on the right foot when you stay mindful of these common pitfalls in the ever-so-important search for an agent.
You aren’t very knowledgeable about the business
In the age of the internet, there are numerous places to learn the basics of the industry. You can find the correct resume format, learn about the proper percentages representation should take from your work, discover proper self-taping techniques, understand what makes a decent headshot and more. You can’t rely on an agent to hold your hand this whole way and teach you everything about the business. If this is your chosen industry, you need to do the research and come to the table already knowing the standards. Take classes and ask for help if you need it… but remember, your agent isn’t your personal assistant. At 10% commission, you better be doing 90% of the work. Agents prefer professionals and not needy beginners. Empower yourself with as much learning on your own as you possibly can. It’ll also help you stay away from scams preying on hopeful new actors.
You don’t do your research on the different agencies
There are different types of agents out there. Some specialize in legit work (LA calls it theatrical– and that includes theatre, film, tv), some specialize in Commercials, others in Voiceover. Understand what the agent’s office specializes in and take note of what that particular agent’s focus is. You should tailor any cover letters or interviews to the office’s specialty. It may also help you determine that a particular agent is NOT for you. The more research you can do on the personalities and communication styles of the reps at a particular office and the more you know about the type of work their clients are booking, the better you can decide if this agency would be a good fit for you and your goals.
You send the SAME form letter to EVERYONE
I even get them– and I’m not an agent! Beware of the copy and paste! Agents can smell a form letter. Be specific about why you are trying to work with that specific agency. Tell them why. Is it because their clients often work on shows you are extremely right for? Is it because you participated in an event with someone from their office and had great synergy with that person? Did a fellow actor recommend them to you? The more specific you can be here, the better. This is an important business relationship— and like in any good relationship, making an effort is important.
You don’t know how to interview well
Actors often forget to prep for this step. So you have an agent that responded to your materials/email and they’d like to get to know you better. Great! They will usually set-up an interview to talk to you about your career goals. This interview makes or breaks lots of actors. The agent is looking to get a sense of who you are and the work you are passionate about quickly. Be prepared to talk about how you feel you fit into the industry right now, give examples of shows/projects that you are right for and be able to talk about how you can be competitive in this industry. They know you really really love acting. That is a given. Talk about details, specifics and even other hobbies and skills that make you unique. If you feel like a million other people could have answered the questions the same way, then you aren’t letting your authentic self shine enough in your interview! Also, have some questions ready for them! Write them down so you don’t forget to ask anything important.
You sign with the FIRST person that shows interest
The first person may not always be the right person FOR YOU. This is SO important. Your agent needs to be on the same page as you when it comes to the work you both think you should be doing. If there is a disconnect here, you BOTH won’t be happy. Same thing goes for communication style. Make sure both of you are clear on what needs to be communicated, when it needs to be communicated and HOW it needs to be communicated. You should feel very comfortable working together– at the end of the day you are a team! Take your time and make sure that you feel good about this new professional relationship before signing any contracts. There are many agencies out there– and waiting for the right partnership had brought numerous actors incredible success.
You have stopped training
Even when you are booking consistently, your reps like to see that you are always keeping your skillset fresh. If it’s been weeks or months since your last project, show your rep that you take your career seriously by maintaining and growing your skillset and connections in classes and events. Your craft is a muscle and you should make time to stretch and improve it to keep your skills “in shape.” The same also goes if you are minimally trained. An agent or manager invests hours and hours of time into a new client before a penny is ever earned. In order to get someone to be excited to make that investment in you, you should show the investment you have made in yourself.
I hope these tips will help you as you find great representation for yourself. Don’t rush and don’t compare yourself to others. This is a highly individualized career path and everyone has their own journey. Stay positive and keep busy doing great work. Getting fantastic work out there is always the best way to attract business opportunities of any kind!
Learn to avoid the biggest mistakes actors make looking for an agent by signing up to attend our Online Legit Agent Night – Showcase To 3 NYC Agencies on Tuesday, October 27, 2020, 6:30pm ET / 3:30pm PT! Register Now.
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