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Acting Agents Questions

Acting Agent Contracts

by Wendy

(Freehold NJ USA)

QUESTION:

What is a typical length of a contract? 3 years?

ANSWER:

I believe a contract with an acting agency can be up to 3 years, but is often one year to start with so both acting agent and actor can make sure they work well together. Even if you are non-union, check the SAG representation contract to compare it to the agent contract you are offered. It help you understand your contract and rights (for example, you should make sure your contract includes a termination clause that lets you get out of your contract if the agent doesn’t get you an audition within a set time).

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Acting Agents Questions

I’m Full Sized

QUESTION:

Would an agent or casting director pick me if I’m ‘FUN SIZED’ or Multi-race (Italian, Native, etc.)?

ANSWER:

There are roles available for all types. People sometimes have this notion that you have to be perfectly thin and extremely good looking to be an actor, but that’s just a small amount of the roles out there. There are tons of roles that require different looks.

Spend some time to define your actor type. Understanding your type will help you know what kind of headshots to get and how to market yourself to casting directors and agents.

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Acting Agents Questions

Will an Agent work with a part-time Actress?

by Leelo

(L.A., CA)

QUESTION:

I’m a full-time educator who only wants to audition for more prominent roles. Can’t afford to act, otherwise! Is this a valid mention to a potential agent? I have no rush nor innate desire for fame and fortune, and am perfectly happy otherwise teaching. Is it all right that I ask to only audition for “big” roles?

Thank you.

ANSWER:

If you have little or no experience on your acting resume, an agent will not submit you for lead roles because you just wouldn’t get called in. Except very rarely when a director specifically requests a non-actor or an actress with extremely unique looks or skills, casting directors don’t audition actresses for important roles unless they’ve already done a lot of smaller roles.

Even if you were willing to do smaller roles, an agent would probably not want to sign an actor who has a full-time career outside of acting. You just wouldn’t be able to make most professional auditions that take place during the day.

Since you just want to act and are not pursuing fame and fortune, I think you may be happier skipping the agent and just looking for semi-professional theatre companies that will allow you to work on bigger more interesting roles during your free time in the evening. If you’re teaching all day, you may just love getting on stage at night, no matter how big your audience.

Hope this helps!

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Acting Agents Questions

contract?

by Lisa

(Portland, Oregon)

QUESTION:

I am a 39 year who has never acted before. By chance, I auditioned and got a part in a pilot. They told me I was a “natural.” I do not have an agent, headshot, or resume. I do know that many networks are interested in this sitcom. Am I going to be issued a contract? I have the script and I know we are going to begin shooting in one week…Do you have any advice for me?

ANSWER:

Wow! Congratulations. That doesn’t happen very often. If name actors and/or directors/producers are attached to the project and you landed the role of a “regular” (someone who is part of the main cast who will be in every episode), getting an agent shouldn’t be too hard. You can ask the casting director who cast you if they can introduce you to one. You can also ask the producer or director. This is also the time to do an agent mailing. Sometimes, headshots and resumes mailed in don’t even get opened, so write in bold letters on the corner of the envelope, “lead in new pilot” or whatever best describes the part you got.

If the pilot is SAG-AFTRA, you will get a standard contract. Depending on your shooting schedule, you may or may not have to join after a certain amount of days. You should check with the producer and the union. If this is a non-union project, you should read your contract carefully. You don’t want to be difficult as a newcomer, but you do want to make sure you are compensated if the show gets picked up and does well.

Good luck!

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Acting Agents Questions

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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Acting Agents Questions

Theater is Not My Thing

by Kourtney

(Phoenix, AZ)

QUESTION:

I love to act, but I hate the theater. It seems so fake and over the top for me, I just don’t like it. I have a reliable but less known agency, and I’ve been taking classes since i was very young. Will I still be able to make it in the acting world if I don’t do theater? I love it so much a and I am very passionate about my acting. Will that get me through as long as I still take acting classes? Or should I push through it and try to do theater again?
Thanks!

ANSWER:

You don’t have to do theater for long to have an acting career, but it’s helpful to have some theater credits on your resume to augment your chances of being called in for auditions and interviews. That being said, you don’t have to have classical theater credits if you don’t like it. You can concentrate on getting a few roles in modern plays and stick with theater directors that have a more naturalistic approach in their staging. If you plan on moving to Los Angeles, you’ll find that a lot of directors here also work in film and TV.

Once you have a few strong theater credits, you can concentrate fully on screen acting auditions if you want. As long as you take classes and have a strong acting technique, you don’t need to force yourself to act in plays. Keep in mind, though, that the theater world is a good place to network and the stage a perfect place be noticed by directors and producers.

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Acting Agents Questions

Visit an acting agency!!!

by Allison

(London, UK)

QUESTION:

I really want to get in touch with an agent and get him or her to represent me. I have tried to get in touch with agents over mail, but they NEVER respond to me, not a single one of them actually. I have also called a few agencies here in London, but they just tell me to send them a mail instead! So, I was wondering, if it would perhaps be possible for me to visit an acting agency? I mean, I do live here in London and I already know where the agencies are.
If I can’t, then what should I do?

ANSWER:

I know it’s frustrating, but walking in without an appointment won’t help. It can only hurt you. I know, I tried that at the beginning of my career, and I know many other actors who have tried that too. It’s unprofessional and a waste of your time.

If you want to see how agencies work, try offering your services for free as an intern by calling in the afternoon. Better yet, intern for a casting director. They may be willing to introduce you to agencies once you worked for them for a while.

Don’t waste too much time on agents. Concentrate on looking for auditions and making contacts with producers, directors and casting people. If you book a really great role and you can afford it, hire a publicist for a few months to get agents to come see you perform. This worked great for me when I produced my own play in New York. I couldn’t get agents to talk to me either, but for a flat fee, a good publicist that was recommended by a friend got several agents, producers and casting directors to come see the show. Good luck!

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Acting Agents Questions

Can I get an Agent if I Have No Experience

QUESTION:

Hi my name is Jasmin.

I am very interested in acting but i have no experience whatsoever. I was wondering if i could still get an agent to get me auditions or is it necessary for me to have experience in order to get an agent?

ANSWER:

Unless you’re very young, it’s pretty hard to get a legit agent if you don’t have any experience. It’s better to concentrate on getting auditions and acting jobs for yourselft through open calls, legitimate online casting sites and student films.

If you have a good print or commercial look, you may still be able to get a commercial or print agent though, and if you end up booking jobs through them, you could end up with an interview with their legit department (legit agents are agents who help you look for work in theater, film and TV shows).

If you want to make a mailing to commercial agents, make sure you get good commercial headshots first.

Good luck!

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Acting Agents Questions

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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Acting Agents Questions

How can you get an acting agent

by Kayleah Jackson

(Toledo Ohio)

QUESTION:

Do you need to have skill or be discovered for a acting agent to be with you? Or do you have to call them up and then they just will be with you? Do you have to send pictures and info to them? Also i live in Ohio, Toledo. Any suggestions for were to go in Toledo?

ANSWER:

Legitimate acting agents usually look for either promising young actors or older actors with acting experience. Calling agents up is usually not very helpful. If you have acting headshots and a resume, making a mailing to agents is always a good place to start, but if you don’t have any experience, you very well may not get a call.

As I mentioned before, getting an agent is important, but if you’re starting an acting career, it’s better to concentrate on taking classes and getting a few acting jobs (things are different for young actors who should look for a good class that includes an industry showcase where they can be “discovered” by agents).

I don’t know how many acting agents are in Toledo, if any, but you could probably find out that information from acting schools and local theaters around where you live. The closest major entertainment city where there will be a lot of agents and auditions is Chicago, of course.

Good luck!