The question on every aspiring actors lips: how do I find an agent? And once you've found them, how do I get their attention. This week we cover the dos and don'ts of approaching industry agents.
Do your research
Why do you want representation? Have a good think about this before approaching anyone. How do you think a relationship like this would benefit your career? Also have a think about which agents you're (yes, you're) interested in. It's like any relationship; you'll be more drawn to some than others. Take some time to consider which agencies you'd really love to be a part of. Have a look on Twitter to see who's there and who has open books. Once you've figured this out, it's so much better than taking a shot in the dark and contacting a hundred random people and hoping one gets back to you.
Have a reason to make contact
You may be insanely talented, but how are they going to know that with nothing to go on? If, however, you're in a show, showcase, advert, have gained a small role in TV/film, that's the time to make contact. Email them with a direct link to how to get tickets/ watch online. Good agents are constantly going to shows and watching new material, so if you've done something new recently, let them know.
So you've emailed once to let them know about your new gig... avoid emailing again in three months time with your new showreel. You don't want to get a reputation for being annoying or overly pushy. Keep a spreadsheet of who you contacted and when and try not to send them any more emails for at least 6-8 months.
Use social media
We're not saying like and retweet everything an agent says (note: don't do this!), but keeping up with them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram is a good way to know when their books are open or if they're looking for new submissions.
When emailing, make a connection
Like with any new contact, it's all about developing a connection before asking for something. Keep emails short and to the point. Think about how you might introduce yourself to someone at a networking event: don't say anything you wouldn't say to their face!
Don't call people
This used to be the way of doing things, but not anymore. Agents are incredibly busy people whose days are normally packed full to the brim with showcases, meetings, calls or emails, negotiating contracts... what you want to do is not make a bad first impression. Calling people you don't know will only get you negative responses.
Print some copies of your headshot
Not everyone uses printed copies, but some do and it's always helpful to have some to hand for when you need to send them. The standard is 10x8 glossy, not matte.