Is It The Right Time to Get An Agent

by kev
(NY)

QUESTION:

Hi, I'm 20 year old aspiring actor wondering if its the right time to get an agent even though I have zero camera experience.

I have taken classes, since I'm majoring in acting in the college I currently attend. I have taken 3 theatre classes, An introduction to the acting major, Acting 2, and a voice and movement class. I was cast in the school play and performed it in March. It was "To Kill a Mocking Bird" by Harper Lee playing the role of Dill.

After the play the people in the cast were placed into an actors workshop class, where we all rehearsed a short play the director of Mockingbird wrote. It was entered in a small theatre festival(we only made it to semifinals. None of the characters had names, so it was just student 1,2,3,secretary...) Those two plays are my only acting experience. I tried getting more roles by joining nycastings but I have yet to get anything from it everything is online direct submit, I never hear a response back even now with headshots that I recently got for a affordable price.

I also took a film and TV class at Weist Barron Studios "Intro to on Camera Technique" from Feb-April. I'm almost at my third year of college, one more semester and I transfer from the community college I'm in and its stressing me out.I know acting takes years
and its not easy but I at least want to get auditions so I can learn from them and get use to it. I want to prove to my parents that I'm serious about this and they keep mentioning that I'm almost 21 and no auditions or anything because unfortunately I chose acting late when i started college at 18.

Should I look for an agent or get more training because regardless of having an agent or not I was still planning on taking more acting classes. I just need to get money for it. Also JMM Talent is seeking up to age 24, mostly teens which is beneficial because I have a baby face and I'm 5'6 and you said last time I asked a question here that it was good for an actor.

It still worries me if they ask for special skills, I have none, I can't dance, sing or even play sports. I know I would not get big roles immediately from an agent. I'm just worried I'm running out of time. I'm sorry if this turned into an essay. Thank you for your time.

ANSWER:

Yes, it's hard to get an agent when you don't have much experience, but some students do get representation fresh out of school, especially if it's a reputable school with a good industry showcase. I don't know what college you're transferring to and I don't know how strong your acting training is, so it's hard to say if more classes are the way to go. You're probably the best judge of that. How do you feel when you work on a scene or monologue? Do you feel like you have a technique down, a way to work and approach a character as a professional actor would? How did the audience respond to the acting you did in the plays you mentioned? Did you get any reviews? Talk to your teachers and try to get an objective idea of how ready you are as an actor. You still have one year of college, so if you don't feel your training is strong enough, why not concentrate on being the best actor you can for now and not worry about an agent until school is over?

Once you feel ready, go after smaller projects at first, to raise your chances of being called in for an audition. Student films, short films and off-off-Broadway theater are all good places to start. You can get more ideas here. Sign up for Backstage - The Actor's Resource, Actors Access and Casting Networks to get access to more auditions and make sure your headshot works for you. You can share it on our Facebook page to see what other actors think. When you're ready to do a mailing to agents, have someone proofread your cover letter. Highlight your achievements and marketability. If you don't get any calls, let it go and just keep working on building your resume. As I've said before, you don't need an agent to book acting jobs. An agent will rarely have the clout to get you seen for major roles when you have no experience. The smaller roles you can get by yourself. I know many actors who got theater, film and television jobs without representation. Once these jobs line up, finding a talent agent or manager will become much easier.

Acting is hard. If you find it very stressful already, it may not be the career for you. It's better to do some soul searching now while you're still in school. Ask yourself why you want to act. Could you be happy if you weren't an actor? Will you be happy as an actor, even if you struggle for many years and always need to have another job to support your career? That's the daily reality of many performing artists and it's good to know in advance what you're willing to put up with and what you're not. It doesn't work to think, "I only want to be an actor if I'm successful" because there's no way to know how successful you will be. I believe that actors who get the right training, work hard and have the right attitude become working actors, but that doesn't mean they don't struggle. It's the nature of the business to be in and out of work, always looking for the next audition. Why not take some time to think if that's the life you want. If it is, commit to it and stop worrying. Just take it one step at a time. It it isn't, there's plenty of time to explore other careers.

I hope this helps.

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