Representation

  • Zoe Michael

    Actor

    I am currently seeking representation and am new to this industry, having just graduated from a new course at The University of Northampton. A couple of people from the course have just recently got agents. I want your opinions on what the best way to go about getting one would be!!! Ive been told sending a covering letter with a CV and headshot is the best way (especially if you have a performance invitation with it) but then apparantly 100's of these get chucked in the bin everyday. Someone told me to ring them around 12 noon..and just tell them up front who I am etc...but I dont want to seem desperate and disturb them!! Opinions and advice would be great...

    Thanks Alot :)

    Zoe Michael

    • 7th Oct 2010
    • 5123
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  • Rebecca Probyn

    Actor

    Yes the majority will be chucked in the bin but this is the nature of the game. It is best to find out if they are currently accepting applications. Also having a showreel will help you if you are not currently performing as why would they take you on without seeing what you can do?

    It is a long slog but remember you are employing them and if they take you on they need to be able to work for you.

    good luck with it all!

    • 3rd Aug 2010
    • 1
  • Nigel Peever

    Actor

    You can approach agencies through CCP and look for agencies who are currently accepting clients Which will save you a fortune in pictures and CV's and stamps.

    However of the 30 or so agencies I've approached using this method over the past 18 months most are still "awaiting feedback" some have taken the trouble to put "uninterested" and of the few that are "interested" They neither write to you to say yes nor reply to follow up emails requesting an interview. I try to be a good boy and don't hassle people I don't know on the phone.

    In 18 months I've had one agency ask me to interview and they turned me down at their second audition. My own stupid fault, thought "I'd best not do the same stuff again" tried to learn some new stuff quickly and messed it up...ooops.

    Thank goodness for CCP as I'm clearly doing something wrong in the agent department.

    • 3rd Aug 2010
    • 2
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Hey Zoe! Firstly, develop a thin skin ahead of time, as you'll have to face some rejections and move on quickly without letting it dint your confidence. I have an agent now and basically went down a list of agents I was interested in after looking at websites, checking them out etc.. and then applied via whichever method then preferred, either emailing out my headshot and Spotlight CV/showreel link or posting out my headshot and Spotlight CV if that's what they wanted. The first agent sudition I got I was taken on, but it took a while to get an audition. It will depend on which area you specialise in/have experience in and which agents cover that area (ie some agents are only musical theatre/theatre). Also whether they have a gap for your type on their books. It might be worth checking out the websites of agents to see if there is a gap for someone with your look and try those first. But all the best and keep going, you may strike lucky very early on!! :) xx

    • 3rd Aug 2010
    • 3
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Er - that's THICK not THIN skin!!! Doh!

    • 3rd Aug 2010
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  • Zoe Michael

    Actor

    Thanks everyone!!

    Comments appreciated :)

    • 4th Aug 2010
    • 5
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    A couple of other quick thoughts, Zoe. I had a look at your CV and notice you've done some short films. It will make a huge difference if you can get hold of copies and edit them into a reel which agents can view. Also, try to get Spotlight membership if you can afford it, it's a bit of a must-have. :) x

    • 4th Aug 2010
    • 6
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    There's a fine line where you say to yourself 'i don't wanna seem desperate', but hell-you need an agent. Since most of these agents are busy and will not reply to your contacts if you get your CV through to them, and since everyone has the same attitude 'not wanting to seem desperate', my attitude is any which way to get them to notice you. The point where desperation comes in is where you feel the agent is not going to look after your interest and yet you will still sign on the dotted line.

    1.If you can get a paid gig, no matter how small the job, write to agents telling them you need representation, that'll get you an agent. Be proactive in getting yourself work without an agent.

    2. I've never used The CCP facility but when agents are looking for clients, that's a way in.

    • 5th Aug 2010
    • 7
  • Mark Kempner

    Actor

    What makes you unique?

    What can you offer an agency, that others like you cannot offer?

    What have you done, that others of your type may not have done?

    What sorts of roles will you go up for and or be right for?

    What is your type and casting range?

    What "genuine" special skills can you offer?

    Where are you based, what is your usual accent?

    How reliable are you and why?

    Do you drive?

    What is your favourite type of style and or roles?

    Why are you so unique?

    Why should an agent take "you" on?

    What is your natural personality?

    The answers to these questions need to be very carefully thought about, as it's these answers on which you should market yourself.

    The tricky bit is getting it into a short concise covering letter that will reflect some of the above answers, coupled with a lovely headshot which may also reflect a lot of the above answers.

    I think your existing headshots make you seem a little serious and intense.....is that really you though?

    Finally, an ideal little video showreel will certainly put you on the higher end of the pile of actors to be considered. Look up showreel providers under resources, look up myself "Kempner" whilst you are about it!!

    If you are starting out, I would also consider a CO-OP agency for a year.....this will give you a great incite as to what goes on, and how the casting process really works. You will also get a chance to start building up some relationships with casting dir's and producers in a good co-op. Plus, you will also have others marketing you as well as yourself.

    Finally, treat this as a business.... you are a product....and you need to have something that is required and marketable. Don't fall into the trap of assuming you are very talented and so you will work.....I'm not saying you are not a brilliant actress, but how do I know? Agents etc don't know you from Adam...at the moment! SHOWREEL!!! If you are under the impression that talent alone will get you through the door....and we all did! ...you are in for a big reality check! As you get through the first few doors, your talent will start to open up a few more doors. However, starting out, an agent will need to know...."Can I sell her?"

    Good luck with it Zoe, and PM me if you need help with your reel!

    • 5th Aug 2010
    • 8
  • Guy Press

    Actor

    All everyones points are great but remember this is a 2 way street write down what you expect from an Agent.

    What do you expect them to do for you? How good are their contacts? Where do they see the agency going? What makes CD's + look up and notice them as an agency?

    As Mark and others have so rightfully said you're a Business the agency has to appeal to you to!!

    All the best!

    Guy ;-)

    • 5th Aug 2010
    • 9
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I have a question. I know everyone says that showreels are very important, especially in getting an agent as well as auditions. What about if you do mainly theatre work and therefore have little/no work on film? If you want to continue doing this type of work but are looking for an agent should you still have a showreel? Is it relevant?

    I don't mean to hijack your thread, just a question that occurred to me as part of the process of getting represented.

    • 5th Aug 2010
    • 10
  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    That's an interesting question, Fay. My argument would be that a showreel is only a useful bonus when you are starting out - it can help you win representation because it can save agents the time of having to see you appear in something or conduct an interview with you in person - but, truth to tell, many of the best agents still refuse to take on a client on the basis of showreel material alone. They would still ideally like to see you perform and/or meet you on a personal basis before they agree to take you on, though a good showreel might get you noticed in the first instance. But I agree with what you are saying - if you are a theatre/MT etc. performer and this is really where your strengths and interests lie, then you will be ideally placed with an agent specialising in theatrical castings - and, at the risk of generalising, many of these agents remain quite 'old school' in their values - they are unlikely to place much stock on showreel materials because, as you say, their primary areas of casting interest are not screen based!

    It *is* worth knowing that you are a stage actor by vocation (i.e. that all your interests and enthusiasms are rooted in stage performance, and that you have the sort of look and skills base that will guarantee you a lot of lucarative stage work - it's much easier to win if you are a 'triple threat' performer who can sing, dance *and* act - as well as possibly play musical instruments - in this day and age, for instance). Many actors start out as 'stage performers' because it is much less likely that amateur, school, university level work, youth performance, fringe material etc. that may generate the initial enthusiasm for acting will ground the actor in anything other than stage work. It is only later that many actors discover they have a talent for screen performance, or voice over, or commercial modelling or whatever the specialism may be. Still, to stick to the point about showreels...

    It's worth noting that there is no point in : a) crafting a showreel together from mediocre material - particularly if you want it to open doors with casting directors - agents may be *slightly* less choosy about this, because they may not care so much if you are showing broadcast level work, so long as your acting is good - but a good showreel ideally features broadcastable material, which is admitedly a bit of a 'catch 22' because its hard to get cast in broadcast level material without an agent - though agents like to see you can work in this type of material because it promises returns on their investment in you! The trick remains to try and work as hard as possible, through CCP and other sites, to win work on as many decent sounding, if low budget, film projects as you can, source as much of the material together from them as you can, and then edit (or get someone else to edit) the showreel together carefully and impressively, so that it says to an agent/casting director that you can cope well with the demands of screen acting, and so are worth sending to auditions. I will point out that it took me about four years to get enough material together for a two minute showreel that I am happy with; some actors get more screen work together faster, but it really should be work that is solid in terms of performance and of production values, and this is not always easy to find.

    b) There is no point in incorporating stage work into a showreel (unless, perhaps, its intended for an agent). Some actors will argue that a stage show that has been well shot can be effectively incorporated into a showreel - but it's not a question of the quality of the reproduction - its a question of what casting directors are hoping to see from the showreel, and, if they are casting for screen material which all who will demand showreels are, then they want to see proof of the ability to act for camera, not proof of the ability to stage perform. If you incorporate a mix of stage and screen work, obviously this lessens the criticism, but, trust me, many casting directors still think including stage work on a showreel makes you look like someone who doesn't understand the real demands of film and TV.

    As a final point, it is natural that a lot of agents *do* prioritise casting for screen work, and so will no doubt welcome a showreel being made available - and this is for the simple reasons that screen work (of some description i.e. including commercials, in house videos, Internet virals, music videos as well as prime time BBC 1 series!) is generally more widely available, and is undoubtedly more lucrative than any stage work that might be generated. But you are quite right that there *are* agents who still specialise in theatre out there - it is just up to you to seek them out and apply to them!

    • 5th Aug 2010
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  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    I realise that first line of my post above reads pretty stupidly - I didn't mean that a showreel is *only* useful when you are starting out (far from it! - it tends to be more useful the better the quality of work you can include on it!) but that, when you are starting out, the showreel is only a useful bonus - so if you don't have one yet, its not the end of the world! Grrr...

    • 5th Aug 2010
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  • Gideon Tekeste

    Actor

    Guys you are all very right. I've realised without a showreel it's very hard to get a credible agent.

    I've also heard from a casting director that they are sometimes open to submissions from actors ie, c.v headshot and showreel as they sometimes get bored of seeing the same actors. There's no harm in trying out different options as long as you don't bother them.

    • 5th Oct 2010
    • 13
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Make sure you thoroughly research the agent and the people they already have on their books. I got a good few CVs returned from my initial post drama school mail out stating 'client clashes' as a reason not to take me on despite my extensive research which showed there were no clients I thought clashed. Better to focus your energy on the agencies you like where you have something really different from all their clients and stress this early on in your cover note. You can always keep checking back every so often to the ones you really want.

    The CCP route is very helpful for research but not all the clients will be members annoyingly! Good luck!

    • 5th Oct 2010
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  • Carlo Bosticco

    Actor

    I will just add that the importance of a showreel is relative to how you are marketing yourself. For instance, I have not been in a rush to put a show reel together simply because TV castings put a lot of stress on natural accents, and Italian isn't one of the most common ones to come across. On the other hand, since I am concentrating on stage and musicals. a song-reel is proving to be almost essential.

    Any one feels in a similar way?

    • 7th Oct 2010
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  • Peter Sheldrake

    Actor

    As an agent we do prefer showreels although we will look at those who have not. If your CV looks interesting then we will ask if you are in anything in the near future that we can come and see or we would invite you in for an audition. If poss. we do prefer seeing a possible client work on stage.

    • 7th Oct 2010
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