Suzanne Lyons discusses the importance of networking and offers great information on creating relationships within the Entertainment Industry.
By Diane Christiansen
Finding your “niche” or your “brand” or your “type” seems to be daunting for most actors, including kids and teens. Yet it really can be a fun process. Possibly the reason for any difficulty is because actors have this idea that they can play anything. However, Agents and Managers have to market you, to them you are a commodity. Our intention is to make it easy for them to do.
Here is a great exercise that we do in our classes to help you know how to market yourself before you showcase your work and/or interview with Agents and Managers.
You can do this with any group of 5 or 6 people. Try this; have 5 or 6 people watch you walk into the room, the more objective they are, the better. Ask each one of them to tell you what kind of role you look like you can play. Each of us carries ourselves a certain way, and each of us give off a certain “vibe”. They are going to say things like “The Jock, the Nerd, the Cheerleader, the boy next door, the Prom Queen, the smarty girl, the Best friend, the leading lady, the Social Worker, the Cop, the Detective, the Urban Professional, a Gang member, the Politician, the Doctor, the Lawyer, the blue collar worker, and on and on. Once you’ve collected those five or six ideas, you should be on track with your obvious “Type.”
At that point, you can package yourself that way to Reps and if they are seeking that type, bingo! You’ve hit the mark. I know you don’t want to be type cast, but that’s how careers get jump-started. You have to get your foot in the door. Once you’ve been the Nerd fifteen times, you can expand your range and convince your Reps to try a new look or photo. But in the meantime, go for what you are, it’s the perfect way to start your career!
A demo reel is an absolute must for actors. In this video, Retta Putignano of Create Your Reel talks about the value of the demo reel for getting you in the door of casting or an agent, and exactly how it should look in today’s market.
All actors need a demo reel. In this video, Retta Putignano of Create Your Reel talks about the demo reel and its evolution.
By Master TV Host Teacher IDalis De Leon
Let me start by saying there is no one way to get an agent. Everyone has different journeys and different talent brands. So let’s say you’ve been so busy “doing the work”, building credits like you are supposed to, and you haven’t had a proper agent relationship in a few years. It’s time to buckle down and put you on the market as a hot unsigned talent looking for representation.
- FIRST things first-Make sure before you look for an agent you have three things:
- A STRONG REEL: Evidence of your work and talent brand abilities
- CREDITS (jobs and training) for actors: Inde projects, web projects and student films,
for hosts: journalism (writing )credits, live event credits, red carpet, movie junkets, and local tv station credits
- GREAT HEADSHOTS to get you in the room
- Get your Online Presence together: Revamp your Facebook, build your Twitter, and launch your Youtube Channel: Take off the photos of you doing jello shots at your cousins bachelor party, replace them with great photos of yourself on set, on a red carpet with a mic in your hand. Commit to your talent brand as a business. A big Twitter following is essential for hosts, it was the second question a Dick Clark Productions Executive posed to one of my hosts who was applying for a job to cover the red carpet for the Oscars. How many twitter followers do you have, he asked as he waited for her response? At least 10,000 and above is apparently respectable. Launch your Youtube Channel for your video projects, demo reel clips, class scenes, student films indie film scenes and begin to build an online presence that says working actor, working host, working reporter or new media journalist. When they Google your name, what will they find?
*An agent can only be as good as you as marketing material you give them to work with.
- Research IMDB PRO: Find you own method of research here, whether its looking up your favorite shows and and seeing who casts them, or credits you can acquire through which casting director or what agent represents what actors and what style of genre and actor they are normally looking for. Invaluable resource for actors, directors and writers.
- COLD CALL: Make a list of actor friends & hosts who work. Write a personal email to each one indicating that you’ve done your homework and you think that their agent might be a right fit and if you could just use their name when you submit your material you would be very grateful. As long as you have a referral, a cold call becomes a warm call. Call the agent assistant and say “ Hi, I know one of your clients “so and so” and I am looking for representation, I am a working actor/host. What’s the best way to send you my material? Then send your material, wait a week, if you don’t hear from them follow up.
- Go to Idalismedia.com for a list of Host Agents. Now Casting, Backstage, LA Casting have PDF downloads of agency listing for actors. These listings are everywhere. Stop and create your own list from your research. Make a list of your top 20 choices and then another 20 you wouldn’t say no to. These 40 are the agents you should focus on and just go down the checklist as you research and approach each one about representation. Takes notes and keep track. Someone will sign you especially if you are staying busy.
- Traditional Methods still work: Targeted mailings, postcards, attending events, networking, making connections, showcasing your work on stage or hosting a live event red carpet or movie junket and joining organizations that keep your work in front of people.
By iDalis De Leon
- First and foremost ask yourself AM I READY FOR A TALENT AGENT?
*Here is a guideline to determining if you are ready for an agent:
A) If you have demo reel footage of you speaking five lines or less, you are not ready.
B) If you don’t have great headshots, you are not ready.
C) If you don’t have a reel with evidence of your insanely unique, fantastic talent brand abilities, then you are not ready.
D) If you are not excited about your own talent brand, then you are not ready.
E) If you have no idea how to sell yourself as an ACTOR or TV HOST..then you are not ready
If you are not ready for an agent according to the criteria above then…proceed to tip #2.
- DO THE WORK- Do enough work that they come looking for you. The biggest misconception about agents is that they are the answer to getting you auditions and ultimately work. Actors and TV hosts get the auditions through a great presentation of marketing materials they’ve passed on to their agent. Namely your headshot, reel and resume. Securing an Agent is not a magic pill. Although talent is indeed submitted by the agent, in the end, the partnership of your great talent brand, marketing materials and your agents longstanding relationships with casting directors and producers gets the auditions. They have relationships with casting they’ve built for years. Yes they can help but the talents headshot, their acting abilities and tv host brand, the quality of their work, and reputation in the end really gets the audition. The truth is agents want you to book your 10 percent, to pull your 10 percent of weight- from the 100 percent of talents they have on their roster.
*Agents are praying that you will:
a) Be a great actor but more importantly be a great AUDITIONER.
b) Be a great actor but more importantly have great HEADSHOTS that get you in the room.
c) Be a great actor but more importantly have killer REEL that closes deals.
d) Be a great actor but more importantly have a real grasp of yourself as a HUMAN BEING & be easy to work with.
Agents need all the help they can get. Agents won’t and are not expected to do ALL THE WORK for 10% of your little paycheck. Do the work, show up and the agent will show up.
An agent wants someone who is booking. Get the work done ANY WAY YOU CAN. Do WHAT EVER IT TAKES to get it on screen. Get credits and get seen. Then and only then are you ready for an agent. When you show evidence that you are ready to go on auditions that are at a higher level then you are ready for an agent.
So if you are ready for an agent, proceed to Part 11 in the next blog- if not- get to work!
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