There is no one way to get an agent. I’ve been “trying” for years to figure out how to get one, and now that I have, I figure I should share my experience.
Step 1: Research.
Get on your computer and get an IMDB account. (IMDB = International Movie Database.) Then, think about the shows and movies that you would like to be on. For example: The Mindy Project. That show is hilarious. I’d love to be on that show. So look up The Mindy Project. Then look at the actors on the show. Mindy Kaling and Chris Messina are two main characters on the show. OBVIOUSLY, I am not going to have a shot at being represented by whoever represents them. Scroll down. I’m looking for co-star roles. These are the actors who are featured in one episode and usually are not actually given a name. For example: Drunk Roommate, Google Girl, Bookstore Clerk. These are the actors I should be looking at.
Find one, click on the actor. Now this takes you to the actor’s page. Which has their resume on it. Things to look for: are they currently booking jobs? What other types of shows are they on? If you like what you see, look at who represents that actor.
Now click on that agency. And it takes you to the agency page. Here, you can see all the actors that this agency represents. Check them out. Are they currently working? What are they working on? Take notes. You need all this information for….
Step 2: Cover letters.
Be real. None of this, Hi! My name is blank and I’m looking for representation. No shit you’re looking for representation, that’s the whole point of the letter in the first place! Why would you say your name?? Your headshot is attached. They see a big fucking picture of your face with your name on it.
BE REAL. Don’t be so proper. Don’t write what you think they want to hear. They’re bored with cover letters (if they even read them). Here’s how I started my cover letters: “Dear Joe, Basically, I’ve been kicking ass for the past year, and I’ve only been here for two years (from South Jersey).” It’s different, it’s confident, and it’s me. (Of course, now, I hate that I wrote this, but what’s done is done.)
Give a quick recap of what you have been doing with your career. How you’ve been taking action. I like to include my writing and producing endeavors as well.
Then comes your personalization. Why this agency? I see that this client of yours was on this show recently and I could definitely see myself on that show. Or, that’d be the type of show I’d like to be on. Or something like that.
Then, I say which actors I look up to and which directors I’d like to work with. Just to give them a better idea of who I am. So, I might say something like, ‘Roles I’d love to play are usually those by Anna Kendrick and Rachel McAdams. Directors I’d love to work with include…’
And finally, I’d love to meet with you or audition or something like that.
Step 3: OCD.
This is where I get crazy. I hand wrote all my cover letters. Used nice resume paper. Wrote it in pencil then wrote over it in some colorful Sharpie. Include a link to my IMDB page at the bottom, so they can check out my resume and reel online (if their assistant or whoever hasn’t already thrown this letter in the trash).
I buy fun stamps – specifically, Pixar movie stamps (Monsters Inc, Toy Story, The Incredibles, A Bug’s Life) and Harry Potter (obviously).
I buy the envelopes that have a clear front, so that my headshot is the first thing they see, without even opening the envelope.
I use colored markers to address the envelopes.
Step 4: Keep busy.
Don’t just wait around, hoping someone will call. Submit yourself every day for auditions. Keep doing what you do. Write. Go to class. Build your resume.
I’m not saying this will work for you. I probably sent out about 20 of these. I heard from one, and they ended up signing me. 1 out of 20 are good freaking odds. I’m just saying.