How to choose your first agent
Choosing or finding your first agent is a pretty important step in kick starting that career...so how do you choose the right agent for you?
Well first you have to tackle the subject of letting agents know you exist - if you're a drama school grad then usually you have your showcase, or perhaps some final shows to invite agents to. It seems that some drama schools encourage students NOT to invite anybody to third year shows as they might not be 'ready' yet but personally considering the economic climate and the competitive nature of this industry, I would say that if you feel 'ready' then write to everyone and GO FOR IT. Get those agents in and let them know who you are and what you do. And lets face it, statistically, unless you have a totally awesome CV already, maybe for every 10 agents you write to, 1 will come and see your show. But remember - that's ok because you ONLY NEED 1 AGENT. Ok so there you are, doing your thing, with some agents watching. Lets assume it goes really well and you wow them all, so you get a few offers.
Next comes those all important meetings. How do you prepare? Well...wear something comfy which clearly represents your casting bracket and confirms that you're a relaxed, confident pro.
Perhaps jot down some questions to ask the agent - they're bound to ask you lots of questions but remember they're already kinda interested in you, and YOU'RE CHOOSING YOUR AGENT here, so make sure to find out as much as possible about them...some super handy questions include
1. How do they feel about unpaid/profit share work?
2. What do they think about your headshot?
3. What sort of work are their other clients doing?
4. If this agency has a funny name, why not ask what the background of that is!?
5. What sort of work would they put you up for?
6. AND HERE'S A BIG ONE... IS IT THE KIND OF OFFICE WHERE THEY LIKE THEIR ACTORS TO POP IN? OR DO CLIENTS CONTACT THEM BY PHONE...
Believe me this last one is well worth sussing out. You really don't want to sign with an agent and then pop in for a chat to find that they're super busy and horrified that you assumed they might want to chat to you about your weekend. Some agents do, some don't. Find out fast!
Personally I found making notes in my meetings really useful. When you're in there its super exciting/nervy so its good to read through everything afterwards when weighing up options.
So you've had a few meetings. Decision time looms. For your first agent, you're looking for someone you have faith in, and who has faith in you. You have to both be excited about kick starting this working relationship. Have a think, weight up whats important to you at this point, and I would advise you to trust your gut, and pick the agent who you think GETs you the best. You need someone who can guide you into this crazy and unpredictable industry.
Make your choice.
Call the others and politely thank them for their offers, but explain that you feel that the right decision for you at this point is to sign with another agent.
Call the one you like and tell them you'd love to sign with them!
Awesome, you just found your first agent! Now get the ball rolling, and start working! Good luck :) x