Actors and agents. It's probably one of the most mythical
relationships in Hollywood. It's been portrayed in movies, on tv and
even in theater. Agents are usually the sleazy ones in the expensive
suits and slick hairstyle closing the deal. But the simple truth is
this. Agents are job scouts. They are professional human resources
that make money by helping you get a job. Without agents, actors
would find it difficult to know about every acting job that was in
So, how do you get an agent.
Well locating agents are easy. There are lists and lists
available - and even on this web site you'll find a list of agents
within the Los Angeles area. But successful actors think through and
target the RIGHT agencies before they go in and start dropping off
Remember that most agents receive dozens if not hundreds of
submissions daily from people just like you. They want to get
signed. If you walk into any talent agency, you'll see stacks and
stacks of unopened envelopes of people who just print out a huge
mailing list of addresses, stuff their envelopes with their
headshots and generic cover letter and send it in. This couldn't be
a bigger waste of time.
simple steps before you start targeting agents:
Know who you are and how you'll be cast.
This is called "Your Type". Type doesn't have anything to
do with your acting ability. It's got everything to do with how you
look and how you'll be cast. If you are six foot four, and you have
blonde hair and blue eyes and look like Val Kilmer, it's a pretty
good bet that you'll not be cast as the next "geek" in a
John Hughes movie. So, why would you even target an agency that
really serves mostly "models".
Your type is going to feed directly into your "Brand" as
an actor. Who are you. What are you. How will you be cast. Just like
Nike doesn't sell their shoes to ballroom dancers, you should know
when and where you are appropriate. This is a time to be very
honest, yet not cruel, with yourself. If you're not "model
beautiful", you shouldn't be trying out for "model"
types of roles.
When you're determining your brand and your type it should how you
are most comfortably. How are you naturally.
Now, do your pictures (headshots) represent this look. If they
don't, consider getting new pictures that represent what you really
look like. If you doll yourself up in your headshot, and you get an
interview with an agent who expects a glamour queen to walk in - and
you walk in with your baseball cap and sneakers - you'll all but be
thrown out on your ballcap.
There are plenty of resources available to start to develop your
type/brand. But, you can start with your friends. Ask them who they
think you most resemble. Or, even better, enlist a friends help and
go to a mall. You go stand somewhere, and have your friend enlist
strangers to comment on you. Tell the people you're doing market
research on "actors" (people love to help out when they
think it's show business) and ask them to comment on how you look -
what movie star you most resemble, whether you look friendly, or
preppy or whatever. Have fun coming up with specific questions that
will really help you determine your type and your brand.
Then, get ready, because it's ready to start targeting agencies....