How to get an acting agent? This is of the most frequently asked questions I hear that from actors all the time. Many actors will change agent representation many times during their acting career.
Back in the day
Back in the day, we were more preoccupied with getting an Actors Equity card rather than getting representation. I guess actors in 1990 were more focused was on how to tread the boards at the RSC. Agents came to dram grads and if you were lucky enough then you would find yourself with agency representation of some sort. Either way, it was a decent start to your acting career.
Research agency lists
Now with the array of professional theatrical agency websites, it becomes a little easier to do your research. We used to have to go The Spotlight offices and flip pages of volumes of actors headshots in the directories to find out who represented which actors. That took stamina. Now it's easier!
Drama School help
Drama schools will want to invite all the top agents to the acting showcase. But a personal touch is going to make a big difference when your headshot and CV lands on the desk of a future agency. Emails are a big thing, but I would opt for a personal approach and standout with snail mail. It's all effortless to send an email, and emails don't always have the personality! Maybe do both. Cheeky!
Which acting agent
The route I would take is with a bit of clever research. Check agencies web sites and see if they have your type. If not, then that could be the inroad you need. If they have a distinct "brand" that is similar to you, then you are not solving a problem for them. YOU want to be the missing jigsaw. Make sure you read the representation page and DO NOT send out a generic email. Make it personal and professional.
Sending out your actor's headshots and a cover letter to agencies should always include your actor's Spotlight Profile page. If you have a link to your actors' and voice over demo reel, then that's even better. People might be able to come and see you perform on stage, but the showreel is an excellent opener.
Showreels should ideally only include telecast work. The home movie and am-dram short film vibe aren't going look and sound good. You want to appear to be a professional. Doing the fabricated scene stuff is also a little amateurish too. Opt for excellent film school clips and get to shoot some pro looking short films if you don't have many clips.
Don't call us we will call you!
You will see this a million times on the talent agency's websites. The temptation is to call and see what they thought of your headshot or if the email has landed. But take it from someone who has learned this for many years, don't do it. If you have a connection and you've spoken then sure, but otherwise you're going to annoy the agent before they have even looked at your representation request letter.
If an actor friend is with a talent agency that you feel is appropriate for you to approach, then ask them to recommend you. That is the best and probably the most natural way of getting the talent agent to check out your details. Then once a meeting is set up, and you like each other business-wise, then the choice is yours.
The ideal agent - Arri Gold
If you are a fan (I am) of the hit HBO television series "Entourage" then you'd remember the fab performance of Jeremy Piven as Hollywood Talent agent; Arri Gold. We all want Ari Gold to be our talent agent! Or maybe just me. Great show.
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