As a misguided but hopeful aspiring actress, I have made countless mistakes on my quest for stardom.
But as a commercial and theatrical talent agent at a boutique SAG franchised agency in Beverly Hills, I have witnessed some truly dreadful attempts at seeking representation.
So here is my gift to you. Straight from the mouth of an agent whose rejection list is tenfold in comparison to the slim number of talented actors and actresses that make it onto my roster.
1. Unsolicited emails and calls are just that. unsolicited, and therefore frowned upon. Send me your headshot with a resume stapled to it and a cover letter with references. Keep it short and sweet, but for god sakes sell me on why I should waste my precious time watching you fumble through some god awful monologue that I've already suffered through 4 times that week.
Try this. Dear [agents full name], My name is X and I would love to be considered for representation with [talent agency]. I want you to tell me who you studied with, what roles you've landed, your most recent or impressive project and anything that makes you unique (i.e. languages, stunts, race car driving, etc etc etc).
2. well well well you didn't listen did you (you terd) and went for the unsolicited email to save money on headshots and stamps. Fine, well you better get the agency name right in the email body and you better attach a link to a reel, imdb or at least a youtube video that will make me giggle. And don't think I'm not annoyed that you're already having difficulty following instructions.
3. Act grateful and honored that I have called or emailed you for an interview. Thank me and thank me again.
4. Show up on time. And on time is exactly 10 minutes early.
5. Dress business casual, get your roots retouched and cover your tattoos. I can hear you now whining. But I'm an actor, I'm expressive and an individual not bound by the conformity of business attire. No, you're lazy and your acting teacher inflated your head with nonsense. This is an interview for a job and I'm offended by you're unkept hair, stretched out vneck, and, gasp, flip flops. Let your "vibe" come across in your photos.
6. Show up with a headshot and resume stapled to the back, I want to know I can send you out on auditions and you'll be prepared.
7. Imbecile. Your headshot is not 5x7 photos your friend snapped of you at a cookout.
8. No really. bring those and I will not only kick you out of my office, but I will spend the rest of my day cursing your stupidity.
9. Oh you have a full time job, 3 kids and a mother in law that sucks you emotionally dry? Um, I feel bad for you, but you've just been rejected. Lets try again. "I am passionate about acting and building my resume and career. I think of this as a full time job and have absolutely no obligations that would keep me from attending auditions. Furthermore, I am extremely tech savvy and will confirm my ability promptly on LA casting and Actors Access" I might not even like you, and your resume may be painfully bare, but this declaration would make me absolutely giddy with happiness.
10. DO NOT look me in the eyes while performing your monologue. Creep.
11. Don't drone on and on. Answer my questions concisely and honestly, then let me do the talking. Did I mention that I don't care how much you despise your mother in law?
12. Compliment me. Preferably that you can't believe how young I am with my list of accomplishments. But I'll totally take "love your earrings!"
13. Don't be afraid to say you're shopping around at other agencies. Now you've got me questioning that I zoned out 8 minutes ago. I can't have my competition steal you! You're the only actor I've had all week that dressed appropriately and brought in a legitimate headshot. Plus you complimented me!! I might just have to offer you a contract right now!
14. Above all else, breathe. If you're nervous with me how the hell can I trust you to audition in front of much bitchier casting directors? Be prepared, cordial and prompt. Know your strengths and accomplishments well and brag about them! I already like you enough to cut into my overwhelmingly busy day, so don't sweat it. Just smile and be yourself! :)