The acting industry is harsh. Harsh, cruel, and unforgiving. Millions of people around the world have the dream of being on the big (or small) screen. The question everybody asks is, “How Do I Get An Agent?” It takes a lot of hard work, and many people don’t want to spill their secrets due to competition. Here are a few tips to follow if you’re thinking of getting into the acting industry
1. Never Pay For an Agent
Agent “fees”? A no no. “Joining Fee?” Nope. Nope. Nope. Agents do not charge fees, because they make money off you. When they book you a job, they take a commission of your pay. You can spot a dodgy agent a mile away with joining fees, as this confirms they are indeed not getting their clients jobs. Many will also take your money, and never see you again. A very sad, but true reality of the industry. The only fee I paid for was for my “showcast” account, which is a national directory all agents in Australia use to submit their clients. Your agent will not make a profit off this fee.
2. Stay Away from agent’s who advertise
A good agent has a small amount of clients. They do not advertise on websites such as starnow.com, newspapers or classifieds. They want to be unknown, or otherwise they would get hundreds of applications every day. An advertising agent is also another confirmation that they are not legitimate or a sam.
3. Get Professional Head shots
Never get an agent to offer to take photos. You should already have good photographs, even before approaching an agent. Spend a little money on them, and find a photographer that specialises in head shots. A good head shot is what got me my agent after years of looking.
4. Build up your experience before approaching an agent
Starnow may not be the place to find an agent, however they are a fantastic resource for starting out, or even established actors looking for work. Many small companies, casting directors, and film students advertise on starnow.com for actors looking for work. These jobs are usually non paid, or have low pay, but every now and again, you can find a really big and legitimate casting! I have had castings through Starnow for several big brands. These small jobs are also great to build up experience, work on your techniques, and practice auditioning.
5. Finding an agent
So you’ve got some experience, now what? What I did when I started out was google a small actor, whether it be from a tv series or short film, with the word “agent” on the end. I found plenty of legitimate agents who I then sent my resume to. There are usually instructions on the website for how to contact the agent for representation.
6. Don’t expect the work to come flooding in
Even with a legitimate agent, work will be slow. 90% of the work I found came through my own looking. It is very important to keep active. Follow casting directors on facebook, send them through your resume if they have a link on their website to do so, and always be on the look out for short films and other work on websites like starnow. If you do book a good job on your own, you can then contact your agent and they can take over the management of the job for you.
Most importantly, do not contact an agent you know will not reply to you. If they have Cate Blanchett on their books, they will not reply to an individual who’s CV includes High School plays, and a short film for a friend. Find an agency who has both established, and emerging artists. This will be the hardest part. Search for actors on starnow. Look at their profiles, and what kind of work they do. You will know if their agent is right for you.
And if they say no? Keep trying. Build up your experience. Train, do short courses, try and try again to get more professional work, such as a film school short, or a music video casting. Again, you can find these castings on starnow. The more professional work you have on your CV, and the better your headshot, the more likely the agent will reply back.