Showcase is done and dusted. Savour that feeling. Relish it. Now…
Congrats! You should feel ten times lighter and exceedingly proud of how you handled yourself. Now go ahead and treat yourself with a real yowser of a splurge. Have a sneaky bevvy by all means, but don’t celebrate by drinking yourself into a coma! That’s expensive, boring, predictable and waste of valuable liver function. Get experiential! Go and do something really amazing to properly reward yourself for nailing the culmination of all that training. Good on you!
So now the hard yards of showcase season are done and it’s over to the agents to do their thing. All that is left for you to do is be a professional. You’re no longer an actor-in-training so relish this achievement!
It’s time to change creative gears. With any luck, you should now have some requests from agents to meet up with you for further discussions. If requests for meetings are pretty thin on the ground, head straight to On Not Getting Any Offers From Agencies which speaks directly to this situation. If, however, you do have a few teed up it’s time to wrap your head around what’s about to go down. First and foremost, these meetings are NOT interrogations or tests where the agent is waiting to pounce on you for a wrong answer. It is merely an opportunity for them to get to know the person behind the work they saw a bit better.
IMPORTANT NOTE: A meeting is just that: a meeting. It is NOT an offer of
representation. Treating it like it is will make you look
over-confident and won’t do you any favours.
I said the next part was easy, so let’s jump straight into the guts of how to engage in an effective agent interview…
LONG HAUL LIFE SAVERS:
- “WHAT DO I WEAR!??! WHAT DO I WEAR?!?!?!”
Clean and casual. That’s it. No need for Versace suits or glitter-bomb fascinators. Agents want to meet a person, not a mannequin. In short: don’t turn up in your riding Lycra and you’ll already be off to a good start. As an afterthought, dress to your age. Nothing looks more out of place and uncomfortable than a young graduate in full blown suit, waistcoat and tie. Save that get-up for public service interviews.
- Confidence, never arrogance. Sincerity, never performance.
Another message from all the agents I’ve interviewed. Every single one said that they are 100% fine with nerves. They expect it and genuinely want to make you feel at ease. It’s not an interrogation or a test. Just a quick, informal chat about a few things they wish to know about you. Don’t stress out about ‘getting them to like you’. They do like you! And enough to take time out of their already busy day.
- Research agencies.
Many actors, including yours truly, recommended doing this prior to your meetings. Get a subscription to IMDBPro. It will allow you to search for agencies, examine their books, look at the kind of clients they represent. We also recommend talking to actors you know personally who are represented by an agency you’re scoping out. The inside scoop they provide will build a picture of what the agency is about and how they function.
- Be punctual.
10 minutes early is a good ballpark figure. 20 minutes or more is a bit strange! It is a working day after all. Just don’t be late. You’ll see this again and again across this resource: Late = Unprofessional.
- Prep a short bio and have it up your sleeve just in case.
Agents will want to know a bit more about YOU the person as opposed to the actor they’ve already seen on stage. This is just part of building a relationship and will give them some insight into your background and goals. There is no harm in prepping a very short bio that can encapsulate your journey to this moment. Just don’t take it out of your pocket and read it like a script! Consider including where you’re from, when you started your first steps towards being a professional actor, your study or schooling, your favourite plays at drama school and one or two goals for the future. No need for notepads. Just have it at the forefront of your mind ready to go if you need it. .
- Don’t bitch about previous agents or agencies.
If you have had representation previously, NEVER whinge about ‘crappy previous agents’ . Even if your previous agent was the literal hellspawn of Satan who totalled your car and beat up your Granny, you VILL SAY NUSSINK (said in voice of KGB operative for full effect). All the agent will see here is a snapshot of the future: you bagging them out in future interviews and bitching behind their back. Needless to say, this has the capacity to completely sink your chances of representation.
- Do your due diligence
and prep some genuine questions.
You will be invited to ask questions about the agency. It is a two-way conversation after all. If you have some pertinent questions ready to go, it can really help map out your next steps. Also, it’s good to demonstrate to the agent that you’ve done your due diligence on the agency. Consider asking about how they nurture the professional development of newer actors on their books, the feedback systems they have with casting agents or how they prefer to deal with self-tests. You should also definitely know if they represent someone from your drama school. You won’t look too switched on if they mention a recent grad they represent and you respond with a blank stare.