How Do I Get Representation? Part 2
“How do I get a talent agent or manager to represent me?”
A Brief Recap
I’m sure many of you are chomping at the bit to answer the seemingly most important and overrated problem in an actor’s life: “How do I get an agent or manager to represent me?”
Per our previous post, we believe that developing a sense of business savvy and working strategically is essential to securing representation. Agents and managers will only want to join your business if they see it as viable and well managed.
Here is our step-by-step process to securing representation. No quick and easy fixes here, my friends! No pay-to-plays! No mass emails! Effective and strategic planning and efforts are the 🔑.
Know What You Want from an Agent / Manager
Obviously you must understand the difference between an agent and manager. Where are you at in your career? What are your professional growth goals? What sort of team member do you need at the moment?
Getting clear about not only your short term goals but your vision for your overall career is crucial as it determines how you best imagine utilizing your representation. For instance, say you pride yourself as a strong self-producer and see that as a major facet of your career…wouldn’t it make sense to target management offices with connections and experience in development, or perhaps have production arms themselves? Do you want to make a life in the regional market, performing at the most acclaimed theaters in the nation? Do some research, what agencies are those actors who are doing that very thing coming from?
Oftentimes actors have unrealistic expectations of their representation. It doesn’t make sense to expect megalith institutions to give you all the personal care and consideration a small boutique would. It also doesn’t make sense to expect to get an appointment for the next Marvel film if you’re with a scrappier operation.
Send Notes to Your Network
Work through your network and prepare to send out regular notes about looking for representation. “Regular” because you should probably expect to not get immediate responses let alone definite yeses right away. As always, you’ll be surprised at how many people you know, who are willing to help and those who aren’t. Don’t take it personally either way. Be sensitive to each relationship and navigate appropriately to hopefully get them to agree to help you. Stay on top of the reach outs until you’ve secured representation.
NOTE: While you should engage as much of your network as possible, casting directors, directors and producers will be extra helpful in potentially getting you a meeting as they are the ones that are often hiring you. Having someone like that put in a good word is an extra dose of credibility.
Alongside research, this work will help you learn more and more about what offices might be the best fit for you and what your potential resources are for securing a meeting. What does one do with this information…?
Organize Known Representation
Create a place to organize the offices and agents/managers that you’re targeting. Similar to your network, you need to track who you know and potentially what engagement you have had thus far.
This is crucial. Once you have a fair idea of which offices you’d like to target you should know as much about them as possible. Who are the agents? Who are the junior agents? Do you have mutual connections? Do you know some of their clients? Who are their big clients? Do you have mutual connections to their clients? All of this information must be organized and housed somewhere.
Also, keep track of any previous interactions you have had with them like classes, parties, social media correspondence, etc.
If you are running a fantastic business on your own (marketing, self-producing and networking) then there is a secret weapon which will clinch the deal and get you an agent or manager: the vouch.
Imagine you are an agent receiving another mass email from yet another random actor sending materials and requesting a meeting. Now imagine 5 of your clients emailing you at the same time about the same person, informing you there’s an “amazing actor that you just have to know about”. Who will get the meeting?
Here’s a quick step-by-step process we have found very effective in securing those “good words”:
- Look at your detailed list of offices.
- Take note of the mutual connections you have to them? Do you know some of their roster?
- Who are some of their clients who book quite a bit? People who are making them money? Could you realistically, with strategy and hard work, connect with any of them? Do you have mutual connections to them?
- Brainstorm and strategize ways you can build genuine relationships to the clients you don’t know or rekindle and strengthen relationships to the ones you do. Could you cast some of them in an upcoming self-produced project? Could you see them in a show with that mutual connection? Could you invite them on a blog or podcast you’ve started?
Just like with all networking, you should be focused on giving and adding value to these people’s lives.
Your goal should be to build a very strong relationship with ≥ 5 awesome clients at an agency, and ≥ 2 should be “higher-profile.” Eventually, ask those clients to write their agents and put in a good word for you, pass along your materials, or better yet, invite them to see something you are doing.
One important thing to note, this takes time. This isn’t your quick fix pay-to-play solution which works all of 2% of the time and could potentially lower your credibility in the eyes of an agent or manager.
When 5-10 clients (and some casting directors you’ve cultivated), all at once, tell an agent “you have to know this actor”, they will look, and look hard.
All in all, we strongly believe that you do, in fact, need representation to find deeper inroads into this industry, however, in order to secure those reps *and* avoid being wholly dependent on them, you must first focus on building a solid business overall. Because ultimately, you’re the boss.
This is part two of a two part post about getting representation. Click here for part one.