So, you’re in the market for a new agent or manager. That’s great! Agents and managers are a big part of the entertainment industry, and it’s important to have a team that you really love. There are a lot of misconceptions around agents and managers, especially for actors who are new to the professional world. It’s easy to think that being repped by CAA right out of the gate would be a good move – but that’s not true. CAA isn’t thinking about their newbies, they’re thinking about Tom Cruise. When seeking new representation, it’s important to be realistic in your expectations but also set the bar reasonably high.
Know What You Want
Whenever I’m in the market for new rep, I first make a list of what I want the relationship to look like. I want to work with someone who:
- Has a great work ethic
- Is connected with industry professionals who I haven’t met yet
- Understands my type, marketing and ability as an actor
- Will be responsive when I reach out
- Is excited about working with me
To be clear, I don’t need my representation to be my friend. We don’t have to hang out, but we do need to have a reasonable working relationship. I also check that their client roster isn’t too big (so I can get personal attention) and that they don’t have too many actresses like me. I don’t want to lose an opportunity because my agent has five other actresses who are my type. Check in with yourself and see what is important to you. Write down the kinds of things that you look for in a working relationship.
During your meeting, don’t forget that you are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you. A lot of new actors fall into the trap of thinking, “I hope they like me and want me!” A big part of the interview is finding out if you like and want them! Do you want to work with these people? Remember, they get a commission on all the work you book. Would you feel comfortable paying them that commission?
Bring a list of questions with you to the meeting, and don’t be afraid to ask them things like, “Who do you know in the industry? What relationships do you have with casting or other agents or managers that will help me build my team? What strategies will you use to get me into the room?” Those questions are all 100% valid and important to ask.
Show Them Who You Are
If an agent does 10% of the work and you do 90%, what is the 90% you can show them when you’re in the meeting? If you create your own work, talk about that. If you’ve received any notoriety for your work, or recently booked something, share that. If you have marketing materials, bring those. Tell them which acting class you’re taking and explain what you do to ensure that you are stretching and growing as an actor all the time.
It’s also important to show them that you are a multi-faceted human being. Talk about your hobbies, your life and what’s important to you. Remember, you’re building a relationship. Let them see who you are.
After the meeting, be sure to check in and give yourself a chance to review how you felt about them. Did you like the answers they gave to your questions? The truth is, I would rather go unrepresented than be represented by someone who doesn’t make me feel inspired.
Do you have any must-ask questions in meetings? Share the wealth! Let us know in the comments below.