How to contact top agents
Contacting top agents really is just like contacting all other agents, the only difference being is that they represent much higher profile actors and for you and me there may be more at stake in trying to sign with one of these agencies.
Your first port of call should be the agencies websites, which should provide all the information you need on applying to them. If you don’t know which ones to go to, then check out the book Contacts – available directly from Spotlight or from bookshops – or The Actors Yearbook (this book has some information on submissions too but make sure it’s the most up to date copy). In identifying which are the top agents, you will need to trawl through the list to find which ones may be those ones, and then check the websites. If that’s too much work or you’re short of time, talk to someone who has more experience, has been in the business longer, a teacher/lecturer if you are at drama school or taking classes, or of course a famous actor who is with an agency!
Once you’ve identified which ones (not just one, unless you really want to limit your chances) you want to contact, go through the ‘submissions’ section on the website which will let you know how to contact them. Follow these rules. No kidding. If they say send a letter and you email them, they will not even glance at the email before hitting the delete button. They get loads of submissions every day and it’s hard enough trawling through all the well presented ones, let along ones from actors who can’t follow a simple request. You need them, they do not need you – they represent the best in the industry. So you have to make them be interested or intrigued by you. This is the hardest bit as you have be backed up by the skills you have and the work you’ve done. If you been in something well reputed or are at a well reputed drama school, or if you’ve played leading roles in some of this work, highlight these points. Also if you’ve have good reviews highlight this, but don’t ram it down their throats – a review is only one person’s opinion in a room of up to a thousand people. And one of the best things you can do is offer them is a complimentary ticket at a play you have coming up that has lots of potential, or at a well reputed venue. If you have just accepted a part or are deep in rehearsal for a play, do not forget the work of writing to agents before it’s too late. As said they get lots of correspondence, and advise you to write to them giving two weeks to one month’s notice. So take this to mean two weeks to one month before the first night, not the last. If you then get some good reviews for the play (and/or yourself), maybe send a follow up letter or email if you’ve not heard anything; they are very busy and may have been meaning to go to your show, but it slipped their mind – it happens.
The next step is then to leave it in their hands; if they want to see you they will invite you in for an interview/chat to see about becoming a client. If you don’t hear anything don’t despair – this is why you have written to many agencies, to give yourself the best chance. Maybe again send a follow up letter/email to see what the status is on your application, and if it’s in the negative, do not be disappointed. No one knows what’s going to happen in the industry, and in two months times you might be the hottest thing in town – this is why they say they are not taking your application further forward at the moment. Everyone is hedging their bets, and they might be tearing their hair out 6 months later when you’re a star and have been picked up by a rival! So the next thing to do is start work on getting that next project, and once a worthy one is secured, start your correspondence again. You were in one good piece – great. You’re now in another – they’re going to take notice. Keep at it.