By Jennifer Rudolph
Episodic Season is a'happening and it's time for you to start getting called in and booking work. Now we all know that mailings, unsolicited submissions/phone calls and hoping someone sees your Off-Off Broadway show/indie film screening doesn't work 99% of the time. In this highly competitive business, it's all about relationships and being really, really good. Every actor needs to be at a certain baseline (or "bar" as I call it) before attempting to procure work. You wouldn't attempt to run a marathon without being in tip/top shape, would you? I hope not.
Working Actor Basic Pre-Requistite #1: Be involved in an ongoing scene study class to work your muscle.
Working Actor Basic Pre-Requistite #2: Know who you are, what your "type" is and what you are selling and to who. Make sure your packaging is top-notch (headshots, resume, website etc)
Working Actor Basic Pre-Requistite #3: Build relationships and work with casting directors who can help you hone your audition technique. Learn what it takes to book roles from the gatekeepers themselves. If you are really really good...they will notice. How can they not?
When 350,000 actors are vying for 28,000 roles....you have to think like a shark and treat this like a business.
And now...the Google Spreadsheet.
To snag an agent and/or manager, you need to be "viable" which means either you have some killer credits OR killer relationships. Because agents and managers only do 10 and 15% of the work respectively, you have to do the other 85/90. So what does that look like? Casting directors need to know you and LIKE you. They are your "buyers," Just like on the ABC series "Shark Tank" (my favorite), you are not going to secure an investment from a shark with just an idea, no proven sales or having done any of the footwork yourself. Again, they are only getting a minimum amount of equity and are looking to add gas TO the car, not BUILD the car. They want a product that is already up and running - just like agents and managers do. Without coming to the plate with a Google Spreadsheet of casting directors who know you and are big fans - you are too hard of a sell and not "viable" to them. You CAN snag representation without major credits. You CAN book jobs without having representation. You CAN do it all. You just have to have the goods, understand how it all works and be smart about how you navigate things.
If you come to AGR, are meeting and working with CD's and nothing is happening...take a pause and reflect on if the work you are doing is truly memorable and if your packaging is en pointe.
If you are meeting CD's and getting fantastic feedback and your packaging is en pointe, write it all down in the Google spreadsheet aka who you worked with, what they said, and when. Attach it to your headshot/resume when meeting agents/managers and boom...you have ammunition and have suddenly gone from "serviceable" to "viable."
An agent/manager is VERY likely to be open to working with an actor with credits/no major credits if they are solid, marketable and have a long list of relationships, recommendations and high marks from casting directors.
So do the work...think like a shark...and you'll rule the ocean. Almost every single AGR Success Story I write about have followed this trajectory.
That Google Spreadsheet will be your best friend. :)
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