Once you know what you want to do in the industry and have your marketing materials ready, you may want to find representation.
Caveat: You can work in the industry without a rep but building a good team is essential to longevity. So not having a rep is no excuse to not be working. And keep in mind that reps are not one-size-fits-all. The perfect rep for someone else may not be a good fit for you. The interview is where you’ll discover if that agent/manager could be the one you need.
Types of Representatives:
- Commercial Agent – will submit talent for commercial, industrial, print and hosting jobs
- Theatrical Agent – will submit talent for tv, film, theatre
- Across-the-Board Agent – will submit talent for all genres of work
- Manager – traditionally this person managed your career, helping you make decisions with your long term goals in mind. These days, they function as agents with one big difference… managers are not legally able to negotiate contracts when you book work. You’ll need an attorney for negotiations if you don’t have an agent.
What is a target list? There are 3 rings to your rep target list – dream, target, safety. (Your current level is determined by the types of jobs you are already booking or the ones you are ready to audition for. How do you know? Your teachers should be able to guide you. But after taking a good commercial class, you should be ready for commercial auditions. Scripted tv shows often work at a fast pace and experience will be necessary before you’re ready to audition for these.)
- Dream Reps: those you aspire to work with. You may not yet be the experienced actor they typically work with, but now is the perfect time to start creating a relationship with them.
- Target Reps: they rep actors working at or a little above your current level.
- Safety Reps: they rep actors working at your level.
For the adult actor who does not yet have extensive on-camera experience, a commercial agent is a great target or safety.
How to create your list?
- Ask who reps your friends or classmates who are getting auditions. If appropriate, ask for a referral.
- On the sign in sheet at your commercial auditions, look at who reps other actors auditioning. This will show you who is getting their folks in the door.
- Note the credits after your target shows and look on imdb to see who reps those costars and guest stars.
Refine your Lists: Vet those agents. Make sure there are no red flags. Make sure they represent your type. Some agents specialize in kids, bilingual talent, tattooed adults, etc. If you are not who they work with, they shouldn’t be on your lists.
Research those on your lists for things you have in common. Great resources are social media, imdb, linkedin and their website – all non-creepy ways to learn about them. Are you both members of the same fraternity/sorority? Dodgers fans? Love Thai food? (Do not stalk them. It will not impress them if you know something only their closest friends are aware of.)
Then what? Once you have your lists, check their websites (or the Backstage Call Sheet) for submission preferences. Then introduce yourself with a personalized short cover letter which addresses why the two of you are a good fit. Your research could be a great ‘in’ or that referral from someone on their roster.
If you need help, this is exactly what we cover in our career planning class – How to Hit the Ground Running. Or call us for private coaching.
We are here to help you succeed.