Getting an agent can be the ultimate catch 22 situation. I used to get really frustrated when thinking about the issue. I used to rail at other people in the industry and feel like I was bashing my head against a brick wall. How do you get an agent? If you don’t have any experience then how do you get the jobs in the first place?
Getting experience to show to an Agent
This might sound obvious but with relevant experience comes the attention of people in the industry. Start from the bottom and don’t be ashamed of doing so. It doesn’t matter if you are fifteen or fifty you need to know how to walk before you can run. The most direct way to get representation is to gain experience as an Actor.
I was lucky in the fact that I started Acting when I was very young. I had professional credits as soon as I was looking for representation and it definitely helped. That meant by the age of thirteen I was being paid to do what I loved – acting. From then on I trained at multiple professional institutions and then got an agent after that.
For those of you who are frustrated because you have decided you want to become an Actor in the past year and haven’t been able to get an agent, you will have to grind it out. It is extremely difficult to get noticed in this industry and you will need to persevere in order to succeed.
Selling yourself to Agents and Agencies
A lot of people in the arts hate the business world. They see it as a dirty business and having to sell something as crass. I would argue that in showbusiness you need to sell, sell and sell some more. The only difference is that you aren’t selling insurance or a car but you are selling yourself.
I would start writing, calling and emailing all the agents that you know and start trying to sell yourself. Send out as much as you can. Invite agents to shows you are performing in, ask for an interview and then follow up.
They get inundated with requests so be sure to follow up multiple times and keep doing this until you get a response. Selling can be demoralising at times but without perseverance, you won’t get the result!
“A friend of a friend” technique for reaching out to Agents
If you have any contacts in the industry then leverage it to your advantage. You don’t need to beg people for an introduction but a lot of people would be happy to recommend you to their friend who is an agent. If they know you are talented and if you are enthusiastic then people will want to help you.
This industry is about the contacts you have. There is no shame in using the contacts you have. Just make sure that you don’t burn any bridges unnecessarily.
Don’t take my word as gospel. There are hundreds of different ways in order to get what you want in showbusiness and getting an Agent is no different.
I cover this issue a lot more in my books but the key is that there is not one rule.
Every person gets their break differently, that includes getting their first agent. You don’t need to beg, borrow or steal but for those of you who are just starting out, you might need to get creative.
The thing to remember is that nothing is wasted in life if done with passion. Equally, if you really put your heart and soul into your craft it is unlikely that it will go unnoticed. Ultimately, it is the job of an Agent to spot brilliant talent because they gain in signing young Actors who have potential to their books.
Keep loving what you do and that passion will pay off. Maybe not in the way you would have hoped but that is life, my friend.