5 Things You Need To Know Before You Approach an Agent
Talent agents are the professionals responsible for setting up auditions and tracking down casting calls for talented individuals like actors, models, and music artists. For many aspiring individuals on the road to fame and fortune, contacting a talent agent is the first step on the ladder of success. However, it's important to remember that if you want to get a successful agent on your side, then you need to give them a reason to represent you. Getting involved with a legitimate agent requires a great deal of persistence, networking, and investment in your skills and career. Knowing how to prepare yourself for such a meeting is the best way to ensure it progresses smoothly; opening up a new world of opportunities for you in your chosen profession.
It's pointless to begin sending out submissions and signing up with agents if you're not ready to make a commitment to your career. To help you get off to a good start, keep the following tips in mind to make sure that you're fully educated about what you need to do when you meet the perfect agent.
1. Legitimate Agents are Always Licensed
First and foremost, before you begin looking for ways to impress your agent, it's important to ensure the professional you're working with is legitimate. Often, when artists are new to their chosen field, they're eager for representation by any agent - which means they sign up with the first person to show interest. Keep in mind, some of the first agents you meet may not be trustworthy. The first step in checking the legitimacy of a professional you may choose to work with, is to ask for evidence that they are licensed, and connected with SAG-AFTRA. If the agent you're meeting with isn't licensed, they're not from a legitimate agency.
2. There May be Guidelines
Once you've established the legitimacy of your chosen agent, it's important to do your research and find out exactly how they, or their agency, prefer to meet with potential clients. Sometimes, visiting a talent agency's website to find out more about how they do business can be a good way to get started. Once you've found guidelines, make sure you follow them to the letter to prove you're a serious candidate for representation. For example, some agencies may prefer potential talent to get in touch via letter, rather than email, whereas others have online forms for artists to complete.
3. All Agents Expect Professionalism
If you turn up to meet an agent without an updated CV and a selection of headshots for them to browse through, then they're instantly going to write you off as an amateur. Be prepared. Bring at least three pictures and an extensive resume, but don't bring so much that your potential agent will have to spend hours going through files to find the information they need. If you decide to sign with an agent, you can always drop off extra images and information at a later date. This will also give you an opportunity to reconnect and keep yourself at the forefront of your agencies' mind. If you have a reel, bring one, and make sure to show off any positive reviews you may have gotten previously in magazines, newspapers, and websites.
4. Approaching an Agent is Just like Any Job Interview
When you schedule a meeting with your chosen agent, remember that you only have one opportunity to make one good first impression. Ask about who you'll be meeting with, and if you'll be expected to do a cold reading or monologue during the interview. The only difference between an agency meeting and some job interviews is that you won't need to wear a suit. You'll be expect to be punctual and professional at all times, but you should also be comfortable too. Some aspiring artists find it helpful to conduct mock actor/agent interviews with friends or in classes so that they're prepared to ask any potential questions that may arise on the day.
5. Confidence is Key
Show investment in yourself, and an agent will be more likely to invest in you. You should be confident about your skills, without being arrogant, and ready to ask all of the questions required to represent yourself as a professional. Any legitimate agent will expect you to ask about rates of commission, number of clients, attitudes to no-pay work, and which fields they operate in. Keeping your mouth shut won't make you seem more professional, but it will make you appear as if you don't know what you're doing.
Remember to be Patient
Although the above tips should help you when it comes to approaching an agent for the first time, remember that patience is going to make up a crucial part of your professional journey. Finding an agent that you can connect with takes time, and invitations to go and meet with agencies doesn't mean that you're definitely going to be taken on. Don't get frustrated, keep in touch with the agents you like best, and be prepared for your next meeting.