If you aspire to be a musician, actor, or other artist, at some point in your career you will need to hire an agent. Your agent will help you grow professionally so that you can find more and better jobs. An agent will also take care of important documents (such as contracts), so you will have more time to perfect your art. As you can see, finding and hiring an agent is an important decision and you will have to be prepared.
Part 1 of 3: Prepare your application
Step 1. Find out what you want to do
The point of hiring an agent is to have professional assistance so that you can grow in your career. The best agents will be the people who can support you in what you want to do, but the only way to do it is for you to have a clear idea of the type of work you want to do.
Your agent is an industry professional who will try to get you the best jobs in your career. Good agents will offer you advice regarding your decisions; however, ultimately, the decision to try or take a job is yours
Step 2. Take a picture of your face
Most agents will need to see a standard photo of your face (a glossy 8x10 black and white photograph) with your resume. Get a professional photo and be sure to attach your resume on the back.
- This photo is different from a glamor photo, which will try to make you look sexy and attractive or it will try to accentuate your features. Photos of your face should be simple portraits of you with minimal makeup or other preparation. This photo should be a true reflection of how you look.
- Even if you only have to send a photo of your face to an agency, it is good that you have several photos with different styles. If you are trying to look more versatile in performances, you will need to have photos available that demonstrate your ability to adapt to different roles.
- If you are a model, you should have a professional portfolio with a wide variety of photos, including a variety of colors, poses, and styles.
Step 3. Create an online presence
A personal website is a good way for agents to keep track of your resume and provide more information than is in your cover letter. Include your resume, your references, your contact information, and additional photos and multimedia where appropriate. This is also good for promoting yourself even without the help of your agent, which is important for growing your career.
- Use these sites to post any photos of your face or glamor photos that you have. Include pieces from any performance you have done (depending on your field), making sure it reflects the field you have chosen. For example, if you are a musician, the photos are perfect, but you should also include links to some sound clips. If you don't have access to particular clips, include links to sites that do.
- Don't forget to include social media (like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+) in order to build a professional network and image.
- Also look for industry-specific sites, as these are places that agents will likely go to check on your history and other activities. For example, if you are a stage actor, it is a good idea to have a page on Spotlight.
Step 4. Get referrals
References (the information provided by other clients or other people in the industry) are the common ways agents use to choose their clients. As you try and take various jobs, use this as a way to meet people and build your networks.
- Another good source of referrals can be other actors that the agency represents. When you start looking for agencies, talk to the people they already work with. Since you don't know these people, they may only allow you to mention their names and not give you a full recommendation.
- To ask for a referral, the person will need to get to know you a bit more. Talk to this person about their career, a job you're interested in, or maybe people you've both worked with. Also be sure to talk about the agent a bit to see if the agency is right for your career. As long as you are gentle and friendly (and build some kind of connection), asking costs nothing.
Step 5. Stay busy
Just as you look for agents, agents look for you. If you haven't done a lot of work, it can be difficult for an agent to see you as someone who will make a profit. In addition to jobs, you will also need to take lessons and workshops in your field to show your dedication to improving.
- It may be more difficult to get a job without an agent, but not impossible. Work with people you know to develop smaller independent projects of your own, such as a web series. Take a look at the open auditions and introduce yourself. Your agent will only help you find auditions and deal with documents, but you can do those things on your own.
- This is another good way to network in the industry. The more jobs you do, the more experience you will have and the more people will tell an agent about your talent and potential.
Part 2 of 3: Find an Agent
Step 1. Find the contact information
You will need to be able to contact the agents and agencies directly. While using a local phone book can help you get started, visiting an agency website to learn more about the agency, who its clients are, and the kinds of work they do can help narrow your search.
- Look in the directories of business organizations like the Association of Talent Agencies. They will have lists of the agencies that are members, as well as contact information.
- Another way to search for agents is to look at who represents other talented people in your field. You should target people who are similar to you or who do work similar to what you do or want to do to find the best agent for your career. Once you have the name of a client or agency, you can search for them directly.
- It starts in the locality. If you are just starting out in the entertainment business, it will be more difficult to sign with a large agency. Smaller local agencies can be great for breaking through in the field, for having performances on your resume, and for paving the way for more representation later.
Step 2. Focus on a specific agent from an agency
You should not send an impersonal letter to the entire agency. Instead, try to target an agent who you think you will work well with and who has the background to help you progress in your career.
Don't contact too many people at the same agency, as it will make you look desperate and unprofessional
Step 3. Study the agent's affiliations
When you start investigating an agent, examine the groups they are connected to and any licenses they have. This can be a good way to ensure that the person you are dealing with has the correct background and contacts. Also, if you are linked to other groups, such as an artists union, the union can provide additional information.
Some of the most prominent trade professional groups for agents include the Association of Talent Agencies and the National Association of Talent Representatives
Step 4. Write a cover letter
This is a professional business, so you will need to act professionally when contacting the agencies. Make sure your file has a short cover letter that talks about your experience and your interest in obtaining representation from that agency. One page will do.
Make your letter specific. Once you find an agent to send your material to, tailor your letter to address them directly. Make sure to explain not only why you would be good for an agency, but also why you would be good for their particular agency. Of course, pay attention to the little details like spelling the agent's name correctly
Step 5. Send a follow-up email
Agents are busy people who receive many letters each day and may not be able to answer all of them. If you haven't received a response, including a rejection, send a follow-up note. This is a good way to make your name stand out from the crowd and make you more likely to get a response from the agency.
- Your note should be brief, like a reminder. A simple email saying “I just wanted to see if you had a chance to review my file” will give the agent something to look for.
- If you are lucky, the agent may respond without the need to follow up. However, in most cases, if you haven't heard from in two weeks, it's probably best to send a reminder.
Part 3 of 3: Succeed in the interview
Step 1. Get there early
Try to arrive at the agency about 5-10 minutes before your interview time. This can give you a few minutes to go to the bathroom and clear your thoughts before you start. In addition, you will have additional time in case you have a delay on the way.
Step 2. Bring your supplies
Make sure you have copies of anything you submitted the first time you contacted the agency. Also, pay attention to the specific things the agent asks of you before the interview. If he asked you for the materials, then he will want to see them and it will look very bad if you are not prepared.
Even if your website is great for advertising, don't suggest that the agent come to your page during the interview. If there is something important in it, make sure you have a copy with you for the interview. If this includes any kind of video or audio file, make sure you find a way to present it without having to connect to your website
Step 3. Dress appropriately
The clothes you wear for your interview should be smart casual. You are in the entertainment business, not finance. You don't need to dress like you're going to a board meeting. The important thing is not to look sloppy.
- In the case of men, it is not necessary to wear a tie. In the case of women, they should avoid wearing business clothes. Try to wear a suit that looks good and is clean.
- You must also be smart. For example, if you are a dancer and you have to mobilize for your interview, be sure to wear clothing that allows you to do so.
Step 4. Prepare for an audition
Meeting with the agent is like any other audition. Prepare your best material for when you get the call to go to the agent's office. The more variety you can present at your auditions, the more flexible you will be to show something nice or appropriate.
- In the case of actors, it is good to have 2 or 3 monologues prepared. Make sure they cover a variety of styles (dramatic, classic, and comedic) to demonstrate the full range of your abilities.
- For a field like modeling, you should have a variety of photos to demonstrate your versatility. Take a photo in a bathing suit or something else that allows the agency to see your body.
Step 5. Prepare your own questions
When you talk to the agent, it is good to have a few questions. Ask about other clients the agency represents, the type of work the agency has landed its clients on, and what kind of expectations it has for you.
The interview is also to make sure you feel comfortable working with this agent. Don't be afraid to ask a few questions to learn about what you think about your job and your career and what direction you think you should take professionally. You will need to rely on your agent's advice regarding your career, so it should be someone with whom you feel comfortable speaking openly
- Like all people in the entertainment business, don't be surprised if you get rejected. If that happens, take it easy and focus on the next potential agent. The more people you contact, the more likely you are to find one.
- Choosing an agent is an important decision, but it is not necessarily permanent. If you think your agent can't put you in the position you need to be or you think it's time to change, go ahead and find a new one.
- Signing with an agent is just the beginning. You will still have to go outside to look for jobs, even without the help of your agent. Just be sure to discuss your ideas ahead of time so your agent knows where you are and what you think. Remember that once you sign, your agent will receive a commission on all your work, including jobs you found without their help.
- Do not ask for the return of your photos. This action can make you look tight-fisted and a beginner, which will definitely not impress any agent.
- Don't make any advance payment. A prestigious agency will not ask you for any payment until you sign a contract and start getting performances. If a potential agency asks you for money before you sign, it may be a scam.