How to get an agent if you are based outside of London

I am an actor based in Glasgow, I graduated from the University of the West of Scotland with a First Class honours degree in Contemporary Screen Acting in the summer of 2013. Prior to that I completed an HND in Musical Theatre at Stow College gaining grade A in both year's graded unit. Being in Scotland there is a lot less choice in institutions to train at - the best is The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland followed by Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh. After that there are several colleges offering HND level in Acting and Performance or Musical Theatre. If one wants to study performance to degree level in central Scotland The University of the West of Scotland offer honours degree programmes in Performance, Musical Theatre and Contemporary Screen Acting. North Lanarkshire College (formerly Motherwell College) also offer honours degrees in Acting and Musical Theatre that certainly used to be completed in three years rather than four. So once a student in Scotland finishes their acting training, be it an HND or an honours degree what do they do next? For many getting a London agent is the goal and many move to London for a spell and try to do this, however for many of us, myself included I don't feel I want or need a London agent. If there is a job in London I can travel down to audition and if I get it I can stay down there for the duration of the shoot or performance. Financially that is a lot more viable than selling up in Scotland and moving down south. Also actors are people and people have lives out with their profession. I have a child, a partner, a mortgage and several pets - I'm not in the position to drop everything and go to London and that's fine. There are commercials cast up here fairly regularly and with more features and TV shows like Outlander being filmed here there is some work if you don't want to travel. The Dundee Rep is Scotland's only full time rep theatre and there's the Pitlochry Festival Theatre company for a longer annual contract. However if you want work in London your Scottish agent is perfectly able to put you up for London castings, so long as you are prepared to travel down at short notice.

When I was finishing my studies I compiled a list of all the Scottish agents I could find and e-mailed them (unless it specified on their website they wanted hard copies sent) attaching my CV, headshot and link to my showreel. I introduced myself, let them know what I had just studied and asked if they were open to taking on new clients. Some I didn't receive an acknowledgement, some got back saying they were full and one got back wanting to meet. I met with her and she took me on the strength of my showreel. I was with her for ten months but in that time had two commercial auditions, one I didn't get and one I couldn't attend as I was putting a play on at the same time. I recently left her and went to a new agent (that I met on a set for a low budget short film, he is an actor too) who seems to really care about his clients and works very hard to get his actors seen, so fingers crossed I will have more success with him. However you get what you put in, getting your agent to set up the 'nudge' function on Spotlight means if you spot something they have possibly missed you can express your interest in being put forward for that role. Also by joining relevant groups and adding other' industry types' on Facebook coupled with keeping your professional page up to date and interesting can get you auditions and potential work. Obviously Casting Call Pro has paid and unpaid opportunities available if you are a full member and there are other sites like Media Volt but again you need to pay for that. I hope this helps other Scottish actors in finding representation and getting work across the county while being based in Scotland.