Getting an agent without a reel

QUESTION:

I don't have much credits and no professional credits to put on my resume and therefore I can't make a showreel. My question is, can I still submit my headshot and resume and cover letter to agents? Is it worth it or am I just wasting my time? If I can I don't know how I can show my talent without a showreel...should I ask to perform a monologue in front of the agent?

ANSWER:

It's rare to get a call from an agent from just submitting a picture and resume, but if you have something unique (like a unique look or special skill), I would still give it a shot, making sure to highlight what makes you different.

If you just finished school, it's normal not to have an acting reel yet, but I would spend more time submitting to auditions for small film projects (student films, short films, indie films...) than looking for an agent. When you submit to a film casting, look at the format the film is shot on, the credits of the director on IMDB (or the reputation of the film school), as well as the role (jobs as an extra, for example, won't help you build a reel).

If you have to, you could pay to get a monologue or scene shot from one of the casting services that offer that service. I can't recommend any, so you would have to do your own research on whether something is worth the price for you. One scene is not a reel, of course, but it allows agents and casting directors to see some video next to your profile right away when you submit. That's really important nowadays, because so many actors have instant videos linked to their profiles that it's hard to compete if you don't have anything.

If you do pay to get something filmed, try to go with original material (or at least not a well-known scene) and make sure it will be professional quality (image, sound, set...) Most importantly, make sure you pick something that is right for your type and you're ready acting-wise (work with a coach first if you need to) so you're filming your best work.

If you get a meeting with an agent, be ready to perform a monologue, but don't ask. As an actor, you should always have at least one comedic and one dramatic monologue ready anyway.

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