June 10, 2024

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How to Get an Acting Agent: Navigating the Search and Building Relationships

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So, you’ve polished up your acting skills - maybe you’ve even gotten a few promising callbacks or acting jobs. You’re ready to take your career to the next level, and you know there's one key player you need on your team — an acting agent.

Securing the right agent can be a game-changer in your acting career. They're your advocate, negotiator, and guide through Hollywood's labyrinth. But how do you get one?

In this article, we'll demystify finding and securing an acting agent. We'll provide actionable steps to help you stand out in this competitive business and catch the eye of the right talent agent for you.

Understanding the Role of an Acting Agent

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Before diving into the "how" in "how to get an acting agent," it's crucial to comprehend an acting agent's role and its importance in your acting career.

Why You Need an Acting Agent

An agent can be pivotal in advancing an actor's career. They link talent with the right people in the entertainment industry—like directors, casting directors, and producers. There are many auditions today that you can only access through an agent. But an agent’s job goes beyond just helping you find acting jobs. They negotiate contracts on your behalf and guide you in choosing the right roles for growth. A good one is like your career’s custodian- constantly scouring for opportunities and steering you clear of potential pitfalls.

What to Expect From Your Agent

A legitimate agent is active in strategizing your career plan. They submit actors for suitable roles to casting directors and negotiate contracts, ensuring you get a fair deal.

Your agent can also provide you with crucial guidance like recommending acting classes or coaches worth your time and money, helping boost your social media presence, or refining your acting resume and headshots.

Your agent is your advocate. Remember- agents charge a commission taken from your acting pay. (Industry standard is usually between 10-20% of whatever money you made from a job they assisted in getting you.)

Understanding how an agent works can empower you to secure one. It gives you a clearer picture of what to expect, preparing you for a beneficial partnership and a thriving acting career.

Preparing to Approach Acting Agents

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Finding an agent isn’t something you do on the fly. It's crucial to prepare strategically.

Polishing Your Acting Resume

Your acting resume paints a concise picture of your craft. It should showcase your acting credits, training, unique skills, and physical statistics, like height and eye color. And it should always, always be contained to a single page!

Your contact details should be clearly listed, guaranteeing any agent who wants to connect with you won’t have to work hard. Don’t make them search for your email! And no matter what, always avoid exaggerating your abilities or experiences on your resume. You don't want to start any business relationship out on a lie.

For a more in-depth look at how to create your best acting resume, check out our blog.

Building an Online Presence

Another tool you can use to attract potential agents and acting agencies (especially good ones) is building your social media presence. If you have a public-facing Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok, make sure they're professional. Remember that everything you post online can either help you win or lose a job.

You may also want to build a website to showcase your career as an actor further. Platforms like Wix and Squarespace make this process incredibly simple. They have fully-built templates you can choose from and customize to sell you best. Think of your actor's website as a portfolio of sorts. Options of what you can add include:

  • Resume - Dedicate a page to this and leave a downloadable PDF link for any interested parties.
  • Headshots - Show the full range of characters you can embody.
  • Clips/Reel - Let visitors to your site see what you can do! Beyond acting, you can add in a voice over reel, dance reel, etc- whatever is appropriate and that you have high quality footage for.
  • Bio - Draw viewers in by telling them more about your story and who you are as an artist.
  • Blog - Highlight different gigs you've gotten or classes attended. Any kind of career news is good to publicize!

The Importance of Headshots and Reels

Headshots and reels serve as your first impression, making their quality paramount. Are yours going to attract the quality agents and managers you'd want to work with?

For headshots, always use a professional photographer who is well-versed in industry standards. If possible, also hire a professional hair and makeup artist. Letting those with specialized experience help you when you shoot your headshots means less for you to worry about!

Reels highlight your acting skills and give agents a glimpse of your talent. When done well, reels leave the viewer wanting to see more.  Don't you have high-quality footage of previous acting work? Don't worry - that's where Reelarc comes in!

Finding the Right Acting Agent

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Finding an acting agent isn't as important as finding the right acting agent for you.

Researching Potential Agents

Don't rush your research process. Your primary focus here is to find talent agents & agencies who align with your acting style, goals, and career level. For example, if you're uninterested in theatrical work, don't waste your time and energy running after agencies that represent only stage actors. If you're relatively green in the industry, maybe don't chase after the top Hollywood agents.

Use tools like SAG-AFTRA's franchised agent list for a comprehensive directory of legitimate agents and agencies. Additionally, investigate talent agencies' submission guidelines in detail. Examine their client roster and ask yourself-

How many clients do they manage?

What kind of successes are their clients having?

Do they have a focus in the types of actors they represent? (Theatrical, stand-up, models, film, etc.)

Even more online research options include websites like IMDb, which has a wealth of industry information about casting directors, agents, and managers.

Stay informed about the acting industry. Regularly read industry trades (Deadline, Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Indiewire, etc.) to keep up on casting and agent news.

Review your prospective agents' social media presence. Is their website professional? Do they have client successes to brag about on their Instagram? Have they ever done a Q&A on YouTube? Google is your friend!

Ask around to your friends in the industry- do they know these agents? Have they ever work with a certain agency? Do they have any recommendations (or, just as important, anti-recommendations)?

Networking and Industry Events

Networking remains indispensable in the entertainment industry, especially while trying to land an agent. Industry events provide great opportunities to meet acting agents, casting personnel, and other actors. Make it a habit to attend acting classes, workshops, panel discussions, and film festivals.

Remember, your acting coaches or acting teachers often have established contacts in the industry and can provide word-of-mouth referrals. So keep it professional, even in class. You want those recommendations!

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Contacting Acting Agents

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Once you've created a list of potential acting agents and their contact information, your next step is...well, to contact them!

Crafting Your Pitch

Keep your tone personal yet professional as you craft your pitch/cover letter to a talent agent. Think:

  • Short
  • Snappy
  • Memorable

This letter should do a few things.

  1. Showcase who you are as an actor- What are your strengths/specialties? What type of characters do you fit? What are some of your recent career highlights?
  2. Exhibit the research you've done so far- let them know why you're contacting them and how you know you would be a good fit.
  3. Thank them for their time and consideration.

Remember to proofread before sending. You don't want your first impression to include a typo.

Email Etiquette and Follow-ups

When sending your initial email to acting agents, it is essential to maintain a polite and respectful tone. Yes, it's great to personalize your voice to your brand- you don't want to sound like a robot. You can crack an appropriate joke. But don't get silly or unprofessional, and do not waste their time. Get to your point- quickly. This isn't a research paper- it's a pitch.

Don't be discouraged if you don't get an immediate response. Acting agencies are often inundated with potential new talent. You can send a polite follow-up message after a week or so. Patience and professionalism pay off.

What to Include in Your Submission Package

Your submission package should include your demo reel alongside your acting resume, headshot, and cover letter (which is the actual email you're sending).

Linking to your social media presence can also increase your chances of a follow-up, but only if they're professional.

The Meeting Process

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Preparing for Agent Meetings

Any talent agent worth their salt will want to meet in person before they sign you. It's crucial to prepare for these meetings as much as you did during the research/pitch phase.

Be ready to discuss your goals, past work, training, and what makes you stand out. You're now pitching in person, not over email.

Have a few monologues ready to perform in your back pocket. It's likely the agent may have a cold read they want you do as well. Be warmed-up and ready to act for them as they need. Pay attention if they give you a note. They'll want to see how well you take it and can apply it. Legitimate agents will scrutinize your performance. They're estimating your potential with casting directors and identifying roles suited for you.

Discussing Your Career Goals and Expectations

It's a two-way street with an acting agent. While they figure out if you fit into their talent roster, you need to make just as sure that this agent aligns with your career goals and expectations. A few issues to discuss with any potential representative:

  • How does their specific contract work
  • What percentage do they take from actor pay
  • How do they stay in contact with their clients, and how often are they contacting them
  • What kind of auditions are they getting their clients
  • How many actors do they currently represent
  • Where do they see your career path heading, how would they pitch you

Contract Negotiation and Signing

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Embarking on a journey to get an acting agent doesn't end with finding one.

Understanding Agency Contracts

An agency contract is essentially the agreement that defines the relationship between an actor and their talent agent. This agreement includes specifics like the agent's responsibilities, commission rates, and other essential terms. It may also cement exclusivity between the actor and agent.

What to Look For in a Contract

When reviewing a contract from a potential talent agent, a few aspects warrant your special attention. Primarily, check that the agent’s responsibilities are clearly outlined. These should encompass tasks like submitting actors for roles, handling casting phone calls, etc.

Beyond this, review the terms for contract termination and extension and keep an eye out for any binding exclusivity clauses. Some contracts might prevent you from seeking representation elsewhere, which might not always serve your best interests.

Commission rates must be clearly stated. Remember- any agent who charges you money up front just to represent you is a SCAM. Legit agents only make money once you make money.

When in doubt about a specific piece of a contract, never hesitate to seek advice from fellow actors or industry professionals that you trust.


So now you've learned the ropes to get an agent! Remember, it's not about landing any old agent but more about finding the right agent for you. Nurturing a successful partnership with your acting agent is a continuous journey, not a one-time destination. So, apply these insights, and watch as your acting career leaps forward.

Don’t let your moment pass. Without quality demo reel footage.