New actors sometimes believe that getting an agent is the way to find acting jobs. So, you spend all of your time and energy seeking an agent. You do hours of research, look for your local acting scene, and send out reels.
Then you finally sign with an agent. You’re delighted! At last, you’ll get work. You expect daily updates from the agency with a list of choice acting roles. You think you’ll get your pick of jobs.
Auditions Aren’t Magically Appearing
But the days turn into weeks and you begin to wonder where all the auditions are. Why aren’t casting directors beating down the door to discover you? Where’s your “big break”?
If this is happening to you, there’s a sad truth you need to understand: having an agent doesn’t automatically lead to work. You don’t need an agent to find acting roles—you can do that on your own!
What Having an Acting Agent Really Means
It’s true that agents can submit you for an audition. Typically, this is an online process where an agent simply emails your information or uploads it to the casting director.
But keep in mind that while your agent is submitting your name for the role so are hundreds of other agents. That means you could be competing with thousands of other actors.
What most agencies focus on is handling the contracts for you. Instead of having to wade through legal talk and make sense of it, your agent does that. She (or he) looks over the offer and negotiates the best deal she can on your behalf.
So, What’s a Smart Actor to Do?
Don’t rely on your agent to get you jobs. Instead, start building your own relationships with casting directors, producers, and writers.
Casting directors are the people responsible for hiring actors. But producers and writers often know about upcoming roles, too. If they’ve met you and think you’d be a good fit for a part, they may recommend you to the casting director.
Start with Drop-Offs
When you hear about a role you could play, take your headshots and resume to the casting office personally. Include a sticky note on your packet that mentions the name of the role and the part you want. Then introduce yourself to the casting director if you get the chance (here’s why drop-offs matter for actors).
Don’t just wait around to be contacted. Take the bull by the horns and get in touch with casting directors, writers, and producers.
When I coach my clients, I set a minimum goal of 5 contacts per week for them. I recommend you try this approach, too. Every week, I want you to reach out to directors and producers.
If you want more tips like this, read my other post: 8 Ways to Get in Front of Casting Directors (No Agent Required!).
It’s important to remember that simply getting an agent isn’t enough. You need to sell yourself to casting directors and producers. Your agent is another member of your sales team, not the sole team.
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