5 Tips on Getting A Theatrical Agent
In today’s world of filmmaking, actors and actresses are starting at an earlier age than ever before, and there are many more of them. So now the competition is much more fierce than ever before. Most parents of young actors and actresses experience a great deal of stress; because with so much more competition, it is that much more difficult to get an agent, which leads to an audition. This is the only way to get a job unfortunately, unless you know the producer or have an “IN” with someone in the industry. So the logical question I hear is: How do I get an agent for my young star?
Well first off, let me say that this is a very difficult question to answer. Because for every path that the experts say is the best way to land an agent, there are probably 5 other ways to land representation.
There really is no clear, verified way to get an agent, whether you are an actor, a dancer, a musician, whatever art form you are into. It is incredibly difficult to get an agent’s attention, much less getting them to sign you. And unless you have a ton of money, or can create without the need for a paying audience, then this can be hard. BUT, it is a road that you need to travel, or paying work will be negligible, if you get any at all.
So here are a few ideas that I think you can use that might help. Now, I am going to qualify what I am about to say. I am an actor living here in L.A. So these will be geared towards actors, although, these ideas can be used across the realm of artists.
Casting Director Workshops – Here in L.A. as well as in New York, there is a meeting place that actors can meet casting directors and sometimes agents. They are called casting workshops.
This is usually offered by schools that will charge you a fee for said workshop. This school most likely has been doing this for some time, and will have a schedule of the different casting directors and agents that have agreed to come and have a workshop. In this workshop, the host will have a scene from a film or play that you and a partner will work on for 15-20 minutes and then go back in and read for this person.
If you are really good, or if you have a look they need, then they will call you in for an interview. Hopefully, they will like you enough so that they will offer you a ‘Hip Pocket deal’. This means that they will test you out for 3-6 months and see how you do in the real world, without signing you to a contract.
A word of caution tho: Many people find this practice of ‘casting workshops’ reprehensible. They ask “Why do I have to pay money for an agent to see me? This is a scam!” Well, it’s a valid question one that every single actor/actress needs to answer themselves. But for me, I look at it this way. If you were in business, and you needed to meet new potential clients, wouldn’t you try and take them to lunch to show them your “Products”? If you look at your career as a business, and the product you are selling is You… then $40 to meet an agent is about the same as taking a prospective business client to lunch.
Get into a Theater Play – There are literally over 100 theaters here in L.A. and they all are looking for actors to cast in their shows. Subscribe to Back Stage, or any other publication in your field and look for auditions. Then go and audition for a role that is right for you. If you are good enough and trained enough then odds are, sooner or later you will get cast.
This is really great when it happens. Before the show opens up, do mailings of your picture to all of the agents and casting directors and invite them to your show to see your work. If this happens often enough, they will remember you and come. If they like what they see, and think they can work with you, then this is another way to get an agent.
Make a Short Film and Cast Yourself in It. – This is rapidly becoming the best way to get an agent. As they say “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” This is a film/TV town. 80% of the worlds content is made here. So if you make your own work, either in film and or theater, your odds of being seen go up drastically! And let me tell you something. The cost of making
a short film now is pennies compared to producing your own play. Hell, you can make a short film on your cell phone, and it will look great. And when you make your film and its done, submit it to film festivals. This is the single BEST way to get an agent. If this film has any buzz to it and it garners some awards, then milk that. Send out copies of your film to
different agents for their review. This might help you advance further than any of the traditional methods.
Make Cold Calls – So back to this being a business. If you were in business, and if you had a realistic view on how to get new clients, you would know that you need to make Cold Calls.
Yes, that dreaded word ‘cold calling’. It’s a very tough thing to do. Picking up the phone and calling someone you don’t know to ask if they would set up a meeting with you is one of the hardest things you will ever do. But you gotta do it. You will be surprised on how easy it will become, the more you practice doing it.
Just pick up the phone and start making calls to these folks and ask politely and nicely if they would consider taking a meeting with you to discuss them possibly representing you. Yes it’s a long shot. But if you have nothing else, you have a phone and you have the will and desire to succeed.
Acting Classes – When you enroll in an acting class, you are practicing your craft. You are growing as an actor and you are meeting kindred spirits in your chosen field. A side benefit is that you will most likely meet other actors/actresses, as well as work with them in class. Over time, you may become friends with them. And if you become good enough friends, who knows? Maybe one of them will make the introduction for you with their agent. This happens ALL THE TIME out here. Actors always help other actors.
So these are 5 ideas that I hope will help you in your journey. But as I said in the beginning there is no set way to get an agent to sign you. There are many roads that lead to Rome. It is really up to you and how much gumption you have to get there.
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