Monday, March 16, 2015

Landing an Agent

Finding and landing an agent is becoming increasingly difficult, as agents leave the business, use the SAG logo and franchise but do not agresivly repesent talent, are overwhelmed with entry level talent, feel the tight profit margins during this recession and see the cost of active repesentation rise. While actors can represent ourselves, most of us know that an agent is a very needed tool and partner for our careers. If your agent does not appear to be helping you and treating you as his client not servant, than change agents. While difficult, finding a new agent, and agents in different markets, is not impossible. The article below is written by an experienced actor from the Regional Branch Division of the Screen Actors Guild. The links that follow are also of interests and value.

-Art Lynch

for SAG RBD Website

Bill Mootos,
Regional Branch Division National Board Director,
Screen Actors Guild

I am looking for representation in a larger market.  How do I find an Agent?

Contact your local SAG Office for a list of SAG-franchised agents in that market.  This will give you the names of the agencies and other contact information.  Some agents specialize in the type of work they represent (Commercial or Legit) and some represent performers for all types of media.  Continue your research by asking Industry friends their opinions of the agents whom you are hoping to contact; You can  also search for this info on the internet, read books on how to land an agent, and consult other sources available to you in that market (local acting sites, actor organizations, acting studios, etc).  Your local SAG Office can possibly assist you in learning more about the agency you are hoping to contact.

How do I prepare for meeting with an agent?

An agent is interested in how talented you are as a performer, and how you present yourself in the marketplace.  You should have a professional headshot and resume that highlights all the theatrical (film, TV and stage) work you have done.  You should also be prepared with strong audition material;  while some agents may not require samples of your work, many will not rely on a simple interview.  DVD copies of your work can be a helpful tool, as well as a professionally designed website that makes you look good.  Theatrical monologues are required for some auditions, and are essential if an agent wants you to demonstrate your talent in the office before agreeing to work with you.  Some agents may wish to see you do a cold reading, especially if they have not you’re your work before.  You should also sharpen your interview skills and make sure you are able to show both who you are as a performer, and who you are as a person.  Like a prospective employer, an agent wants a client who is likeable, reliable, easy to work with, and professional.

What is the best way to meet an agent?

The best way of getting your foot in the door of an agency is either by having an agent see your work (either on stage or on film), or by the referral of a friend.  If you know a Casting Director, Stage/Film/Commercial Director, other Industry professional, or a friend who is the client of the agent you want to meet, you should ask them for a referral.  Don’t be offended if that friend declines, but a referral from someone the agent knows, likes, or represents can be the best way of developing a relationship with that agent.  You can ask the friend to make a call, send an email, or simply allow you to use their name when you are making your initial contact. 

What is the best way to contact an agent?

If the market you are seeking work in is small enough, it may be appropriate to phone the agency and make an appointment.  You may even be able to set up an appointment by dropping by the office to give them a copy of your headshot and resume.  Regional markets differ greatly in this regard, so make sure you know what is acceptable to those agencies.  Calling the office at a non-busy time (usually early afternoon) and asking how the agent prefers to be contacted is a safe way to obtain this information.  At the very least, you should put together marketing materials for yourself (headshot with resume attached, clips of reviews, demos, etc) along with a cohesive and friendly cover letter so that you can mail your info to all the agencies in which you are interested.  Follow up with postcards and info on your current projects every few months.

I have no connection to an agent, and my mailings haven’t seemed to work. What other ways can I meet one?

In addition to seeking representation, you should always be seeking work on your own.  Performing in plays locally (whether at a reputable theater, improv house, or showcase) gives you an opportunity to invite industry professionals to see your work.  If you are proud of your work and think it will show you off well, you should invite every agent and casting director you know of to see it.  This could lead to future auditions and meetings, and at the very least gives you an excuse to contact them via postcards.  You can sometimes meet agents through programs such as SAG Conservatories, Workshops and Classes.  Some markets offer “Seminars” where you can meet agents, ask questions one on one, and perform material (usually monologues or cold readings) for a fee.  While this is a controversial practice, for some it is a way of opening a door that might otherwise be closed.  You can ask your local SAG office if they feel these programs are worthwhile to members, as the legitimacy and effectiveness of such “Seminars” can vary greatly in different markets. 

Also see;


Actors, unions and the future

SAG Nevada Franchised Agents

Search for SAG Agents

Agents and Good Practice

Comission Only Please

What is Commissionable

Your agent and You (SAG page)

Becoming a Franchised Agent

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