Its Pilot Season again and I don’t have an Agent!
Every professional actor must work to create a team of promoters and supporters. An agent, a manager, a coach/class, publicists, a photographer, a business manager, a theatre group, a community...
Whether you have an agent now who isn’t the right fit or you’ve never had an agent on your team to date, either way it can be a daunting and intimidating task. But really, it’s all preparation and attitude!
First take account of supply and demand. You’re ready to hire an agent, you have true confidence in your ability and have objectively defined your “type” + your individual essence / particular qualities that make you uniquely cast-able. Unfortunately now is not the best time to be searching for an agent, it’s Pilot Season. Agents are very busy during this time, pitching the clients they already have on their rosters. So think of it as preparation time for a triathlon, nothing in the Business of Acting or the sharpening of your craft is a sprint! The good news is that if you begin preparing now, you might be able to fill those spots that open up after pilot season, when agents weed out actors not meeting their expectations.
Use now to buckle down and do research in preparation for success. Employ the Industry Trades, Internet and word of mouth (often found in blogs) for nailing down your target agents. It’s not hard to find a list of Los Angeles Agents but it takes a little more work to find out which ones are right for you.
What makes a good agency for you is as individual as you are. Things to consider: their current roster, if and what “types” they specialize in representing, personality and pitching style as well as client communication availability.
Look at this knowledgeably not emotionally, the right agent can only assist you to move your career to the next level by submitting and pitching you to Casting Directors on shows you're right for now! They can’t do that well if you’re not ready (skill & confidence), or if you’re not sure or you don’t agree on what roles “fit you like a glove”. Your individualized essence and unique combination of qualities make you unlike anyone else on the planet, which makes you special. So don’t just type yourself, explore your strengths and weakness and turn them all into the assets of your marketing.
Lots of working television actors are doing theatre and small films to keep expressing and growing, some of the people you’ve been on set with might know them and be able to give you information that helps you better initiate your marketing strategy. They may even be enthusiastic about giving you a recommendation. Don’t just ask the actors on the set/stage, talk to the crew as well, and let them know you’re looking for a new agent. Ask if they can give you any helpful information regarding the ones you’ve targeted.
Okay, focus on getting the agent that is right for you now! It’s not as hard as you think, not if you’re ready. The glass is half FULL! Let’s begin.
1- Start with you. You must accept that no matter how great an actor you are, your “look” will get you the audition, and your essence will help you win the role. Craft and talent will keep you working. Love what you look like because that’s the first part of being “right” for the part. When casting a project the CD is looking for a type and its described in the breakdowns. Include in your self-evaluation; your essence/personality/qualities. Next take a look at your resume of experience and training. This must not be a critical look or a comparison to anyone else. Be objective and affirm your assets. Be “a glass is half FULL” actor, not a glass half empty.
2-Do your Agent research. The size and status of the offices you target are determined by where you are in your career and your type. When starting out, you will find that the small- and, maybe, medium-sized offices are most receptive to meeting new talent.
Start actively looking for industry referrals. This is sometimes the hardest thing for actors, but if you do a proper assessment of your skills and confidence and you truly believe you are ready to work than do it! Ask your friends and acquaintances for those referrals you need. Be prepared for “yes” and be prepared for “no”. Let them know you’re okay with either answer and that it’s not personal for you, and make sure that is true!
Next pare down your lists of 50 “interesting” agents to 5 – 10 agents that you’ll want to target now. You can save the long term goals for latter. Visit their websites, ask other actors, go on line to blogs and read CD’s and other actor’s about their experience of these agent. You should know what “types” each agency might be known for representing, new actors, highly experienced, young, character types, etc. It makes a difference, make sure you’re targeting an agency that would be suited to what you’re marketing. Look for their submission preferences, if any are listed, follow those suggestions. A beginning lists of agents can be found on the SAG/AFTRA website or by purchasing the Backstage’s Call Sheet, which also describes each agency and manager’s niche.
3- Submit your materials. Once you know the reputable agents and managers you wish to pursue, prepare your materials. You can submit on line and/or through snail mail. Follow each agency’s posted submission guidelines.
Send your headshot, resume, a cover letter and include a self addressed and stamped postcard for the convenience of their reply. Lots of people out there will tell you this form of submission is passé but I disagree, and I can only encourage you to do what I believe. Energy returns to you multiplied and again it is a marathon.
On the backside of the post card put 3 options and a square by each one so they can check it. Suggestions:
-Give us a call to set up an appointment to meet.
-No openings for your type at this time but keep us posted of opportunities for us to see more of your work.
-Not a good fit for our agency, wishing you much success.
Set your dates:
- to send out your materials
- to get responses by
- to submit to your second round of choices
- to resubmit
4- Continue to fortify your skills and expand your resume. Self-submit. Work on projects that fill your soul with pride and creativity. Whether its fear, uncertainty, positivity or enthusiasm, it all comes back to you, it will not return to you void. Believe in finding your perfect agent/manager. Continue to create avenues for showcasing your talent and building your resume through self-submissions (theatre, web series, showcases, and student films, street/park theatre). If your photo isn’t working for you then shoot new photos, redo your resume and cover letter, and submit again and again until you hit. There is an old saying “It’s always darkest before the dawn”. Many people give up just before the energy returns to you and it can only return if you allow it, don’t crowd it or control it or drown it. Look for the messages of your inner knowledge and with ease, allow your success.
5- Tenacity generates success!