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Acting School Monthly Newsletter -- What Happens When You Don't Get An Agent
November 27, 2012

What Happens When You Don't Get An Agent

Here's the news from Acting School Stop, your one stop on the road to an acting career.

In this issue... We take a look at what happens after the agent interview if you don't get signed and how you can learn from that experience to get representation the next time around.

1) Article of the Month - What Happens When You Don't Get An Agent

Recently, we shared a helpful article on how to make the most of agent interviews. But what happens after the interview if the agent doesn't offer to sign with you? Where do you go from here? What lessons can you take away from the meeting and what changes, if any, can you make to get representation the next time around?

What happens after an agent interview?

There are many different scenarios. If an agent doesn't offer to sign a contract with you here and there, that doesn't mean they are not interested. They may need to talk it over with their colleagues, for example. They may need you to come back to meet other agents in the department. Sometimes, an agent will ask you to call them after a few days. In this case, don't be upset if you call and can't get the agent on the phone right away. Agents are busy people. Try to call in the afternoon after the morning casting submissions are done and if you do get the answering machine, leave a message and call again the next day if you haven't heard back.

What lessons can you take away from your agent meeting?

Sometimes after an interview, an agent will just say, "We'll be in touch" or simply, "Thank you for coming" without adding anything. Don't be afraid to ask how they felt the meeting went. Maybe they liked you but just feel you don't have enough experience yet, in which case you should inquire about the best way to let them know about new roles you book. Maybe they realized you weren't what they were looking for once you walked in the room, which could mean your headshots don't really look like you or show your personality.

Sometimes, an agent will give you a reason for taking a pass. Maybe after meeting you, they realized they already represent someone just like you. Maybe they were intrigued by your submission but think you need more experience under your belt. You may be given a lot of different reasons. You may also be told something like, "You don't have enough improv training" or "You need to take a good audition technique class" or "Your headshots don't work. Call back when you get new ones". Whatever it is, before you spend money on teachers and photographers, make sure that was the real reason you're not being considered, and not an excuse.

Even if that was the real reason, no two agents think the same, so don't make any important career decisions based on the advice of a single individual. There are tons of stories out there of successful actors who were told they would never make it. Ask the opinion of other industry professionals. Take note of which comments keep coming back from different agents, casting directors and teachers. Pay attention to your audition patterns. Do you get a lot of auditions but no callbacks? Maybe you do need a good acting or audition class. Do you get too few auditions? Maybe something's wrong with your headshots.

Whatever happens, don't try to change the agent's mind and convince them to sign you. Whether they gave you the real reason or an excuse, if an agent doesn't want to sign with you, it could be because... A) They don't think they can find you work B) They don't know how to market you C) They are not excited about you. You want your agent to believe in you, know what roles to submit you for and be excited about you so they will work hard to get you meetings and auditions. Otherwise, having an agent won't do much for your career.

What changes can you make to get representation the next time around?

Replay the interview in your head and try to answer the following questions objectively:

- Were you relaxed, friendly and personable?

- Did you come across as needy, fidgety or nervous?

- Were you able to answer questions about your resume in a way that highlighted your potential, strengths and/or most impressive achievements?

- If you were given copy to read, did you give a good audition that showed strong acting skills?

- Did you convey to the agent that you had a clear picture of where your career was going and how to market yourself?

- Did you present yourself as a business partner who works on creating opportunities for your career DAILY?

The answers to these questions can help you prepare better for the next interview. In the meantime, the best thing you can do is concentrate on getting more acting jobs. When you book work on your own, an agent knows they can get you more work and is more likely to want to sign with you.

And remember, sometimes, if you're not offered representation after an interview, it may have nothing to do with how you did. Maybe the agency set up a meeting because you came recommended from a casting director or important client, but is simply not looking for new clients right now. If that's the case, just keep in touch and take it as a great opportunity to practice your interviewing skills. Whatever happens, don't take it personally and don't get discouraged. If you keep working at your career with persistence and determination, you'll get an agent in time.

2) Best from the Blog

Can you have more than one agent?
Is there a rule that you can only have 1 agent?

Talent vs training
Do you think there are actors who are born talented and do not need training?

3) A word of Inspiration

"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent." Calvin Coolidge

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Good luck with your acting career!

Alex Swenson

Acting School

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