Do you have an acting agent? Do you want one? Or need a new one? Mandy News has just the advice for you to go about approaching an agent in the right way.
Choosing your acting agent
First, you need to identify the type of agent that you want. Are you interested in theatrical work? Commercials? Television? Film? Each comes with its own level of skill, knowledge, and expertise required. Hone in on what specific work you want to do before you even think about composing an email or picking up the phone.
Next, build a list of agents that represent people with a similar level of experience and credits to you. There is no point in approaching Ryan Gosling or Emma Stone's agent if you have no profile. Do your research on who represents who. Visit a string of agency websites or look up their details using a service like IMDBPro. Find reputable agencies that are based in or near your city.
Looking at agents who represent artists of a similar stature to yourself means they will likely have opportunities and contacts at the level you are as well as offering space for you to grow upwards with them.
Approaching the agent
Before approaching an agent you should have an updated profile/Electronic Press Kit (EPK) which includes all the information an agent might ask for; headshot, showreel, website etc.
The best way to contact agents initially is by email. When doing this, it's important to keep your communications precise and to the point. Don't be pushy, and don't chase for a reply the next day. Usually, it's polite to give at least a week – or up to two weeks – before chasing up your first email.
Visiting the agent and taking it further
If contacting an acting agent has received a positive response and you're invited in then getting the next step right is crucial. It's important that you go fully prepared. Taking important information to your meeting is vital, along with a clear idea of what kind of work you'd like to do and what works suits you. That way, the acting agent completely understands who you are, what your goal is and how you might work together.
Getting a yes from an acting agent
It's great to have agents interested in you but its also important that an agent has your best interests at heart, and is not just going to look after you when you have a degree of interest already and drop you like a fly when you don't.
Once you get to the position of talking to potential agencies and agents, don't just take them on without finding out more about them. Look at their history, other clients and most importantly their plan for you.
An agent should have a plan for you: one that involves trying to get you more work and one that lasts longer than just looking for your next job.
This should go without saying but if you receive a no from an acting agent, accept it gracefully. Yes, you may have years of pent-up frustration at not having representation but you must be polite, both just out of plain good manners and for your future. They may take you on or recommend you at a later date. If they have any kind of notes or criticism, don't be offended – analyse what they've said to see if there's something you can work on.
I am disappointed to see no mention of Co-operative agents here.
They may not suit everyone, as membershiip does demand a certain degree of committment and energy (and basic office skills) but it's great to be in the profession as a member of a team, to know who's casting what, to have control over one's own career and to enjoy promoting others.
It can be a good learning ground for those new to the business - and the support of one's colleagues can be invaluable in this precarious profession.
After trying several 'conventional' agents and not being very happy with any of them, I joined a Co-op agency over 30 years ago and have not regretted that decision.
Like Bernard (Hi - we met a couple of times at Anna Scher!) I am writing to some Mandy-listed agents. It's a slow process! I'm waiting 3-4 weeks and, if (when!) no response is forthcoming, writing to a few more.
I am looking to change my Agent, because I have to find all the auditions myself. I am writing to some on Mandy's List, those with their books open. Still waiting for replies.
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