Actors ask me all the time if there’s anything they should do before meeting with a prospective agent or manager. First off, congratulate yourself! It’s a wonderful opportunity to get to know the rep and how they work. Next, take the pressure off yourself to “be what they’re looking for.” Instead, reframe it as a chance to show them who you really are. In your search for how to get an acting agent, remember:
It’s all about being the right fit for each other.
Yep. YOU get to see if the rep might be a good fit for what you’re looking for in a working relationship.
To make the most of your meeting, here’s some advice I give to my actors.
Know your goals clearly. Which shows are currently casting that you could see yourself auditioning for? Which genres are you great in? Which types of roles do you rock? Which actors (any age, gender, ethnicity) make a good comparison for you? Basically, give them ideas on how to pitch you to casting folks.
Be realistic about how to BUILD your career. For example, get in as many offices as possible for any sized role, or get as many co-star roles as possible to get experience on set, or do teen roles while the window is there (or conversely, know whether you could rock that mom or dad role in the tons of teen shows and movies being made).
Dress the way you want them to cast you. Don’t wear a suit if you should be playing athletes. Be suggestive of the roles you see yourself playing. This includes suggesting the age range you instinctively know you are right for.
Have your materials up to speed. Yep, log in and get those all refreshed! Current website and resume, active social media (Instagram alone is fine), photos, bios or “about” pages on your website. Acting agents and managers rely on your materials to pitch you!
Know what you’ll say when they ask if you have any scenes or monologues prepared. Not every rep will ask this, but some might. If you have something prepared, that’s ideal! They’ll get a chance to see you jump straight into action, and you’ll walk away knowing that you delivered when the opportunity presented itself. They’ll also get the impression that you are quick on your feet and super prepared for any curveball. Yes!
However, if you don’t, always feel empowered to say, “Nothing is super fresh right now, but on my website, I’ve got tons of sample clips that show my acting range.” Keep it light and say it with a smile. You could even pivot the conversation to where you think your marketability lies. “I think my strongest clip is one where I play…”
Headshots. Have current ones, or tell them your plan to get new ones. Have indie pics online already.
Update your online profiles. Make your profiles feel like you have visited and updated them recently. Make sure your updated info is on every single online profile that you have. Do a sweep. Plus, add indie pics so it looks extra fresh and different. Be sure to have at least one acting clip sample on a profile. (Look at our studio database for how to include non-production clips as samples).
Be clear about what you want to achieve this year. Remember that you’re also finding out if you are a match. If you say I want to do superhero films, and the acting agent or manager you’re meeting with gives a smirk—then you know they don’t believe you can do that. If you say I want to do rom coms, and they nod and smile wide—then they’re on board. Don’t try to marry someone who has different goals. And don’t be shy about your goals.
Show your commitment. Radiate that you are an actor who is ready to do what it takes to make auditions happen, to quickly deliver excellent self-tapes, and to have a positive and realistic attitude. Everyone likes a team player, so show you are a collaborator down to your bones. No rep wants to feel like they’re the only one doing the work to get you in the door and booking jobs.
Let them know you are also discerning. Everyone has boundaries. What kinds of roles do you not want to do? Which ones are you tired of doing? Which ones are roles you don’t believe in? One actor stood by her determination to not do any more co-star roles (after years of doing them) and THAT clarity impressed one particular rep in an interview so much that they decided to work together. Or, maybe you have kids and you have boundaries around when you can audition or work (e.g., not summer). Be fearless and confident to share boundaries. And if you don’t know what your acting boundaries are yet, that’s okay! I bet you’ll know it when you hear it. So just trust yourself to be honest and speak up about it.
Smile. Look for the hope in every meeting, every possible new relationship. Drop defenses, jaded concerns, past burns, disbelief in the future, and instead, align yourself with all that can happen…in magical and mysterious ways that you can’t even predict! Do what you need to do before the meeting to “drop in” to your most grounded self.
Whether this is your first rep meeting or your hundredth meeting, cracking the puzzle of how to get an acting agent always boils down to this, my friends: stay true to yourself.
You got this!