Getting an agent can be the ultimate catch 22 situation. In order to prove to an agent that you are worth taking onto their books then they need to see you perform. However, how do you get an audition if you don’t have an agent?
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. I’m here to help make sure you don’t end up feeling like that.
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 side of their craft. They see it as a dirty business and having to sell themselves 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.
Another great way of getting experience is signing up to some casting websites. Like I’ve said above, with experience comes a reason to climb the ladder and garner industry attention. One of the best ways to get that journey started is with casting websites. I’ve used a couple that have been quite good at getting starter jobs:
It is completely normal to self-represent for a couple of years until you manage to find an agent. One of the best ways to attract interest is to have a showreel with professional footage or to invite industry people to a show you are performing in.
Applying for jobs which are advertised in online directories are some of the best ways to get jobs without an agent. The good thing about these two sites is that you don’t need any professional experince to join. However, at some point you’ll need to get professional credits in order to join the proverbial daddy of all casting websites in the UK.
The ultimate casting website is Spotlight which is used by virtually everyone in the industry from unrepresented actors right through to top level casting directors and agents.
The issue is that Spotlight will only take you if you have two professional acting credits or representation. This is yet another situation which can be tricky.
You can see the Spotlight website here.
If you have got professional credits and you are not on Spotlight then get started immediately. If you’ve yet to get any professional work then start with those previous two and work your way up.
This whole website is dedicated to people applying to drama school in the UK – you must have seen this suggestion coming. A really good way of getting attention from industry veterans, agents and casting directors is applying to drama school.
Use the free resources section of the website to search all articles and see our independent reviews of each drama school.
Needlress to say, when you go through a BA in Acting course at an established and accredited drama school they will help you with the process of sourcing an agent.
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.