Before You Blame Your Agent…
Because, it’s not always your agent’s fault
(By Jim Webb)
You’re not getting enough auditions. Your friends are auditioning like crazy, while you rarely get any.
The knee-jerk reaction among many actors, inevitably, is:
“It’s my agent’s fault.”
“My agent isn’t pitching me hard enough”
“My agent doesn’t believe in me”
“My agent doesn’t have enough connections in the industry”
“I need a bigger, better agent”
These are common opinions you might have, when it seems your acting career is stuck in the mud. And, by the way, sometimes these opinions are, indeed, facts.
Maybe your agent isn’t pushing you hard enough because they are too busy servicing their more important, more profitable clients. Maybe your agency is too small, has a bad reputation in the industry or it simply doesn’t have the clout of another agency. Maybe it is, indeed, their fault.
But, maybe not.
Before you go blaming your poor agent for what they may or may not be doing for your acting career, consider that the reason for your lack of success may have nothing at all to do with your agent.
Here are a few reasons, having nothing to do with your agent, for why your audition rate might be in the dumps:
#1. Headshots, headshots, headshots!
Your headshots are often the biggest reason a casting director, who doesn’t already know you, will call you in for an audition. Sure, your agent’s clout and nudging can also get you in the door. But if you’re not getting your fair share of auditions, the first place you might want to look is your headshot – the most important tool in an actor’s toolkit.
Consider this fact:
The number of auditions you receive can go up dramatically – DRAMATICALLY – by upgrading your headshots. Actors can literally go from receiving a few auditions per month to receiving a few auditions per week, with the right headshot.
And, it’s not uncommon for truly great headshots to have you going to numerous auditions in a single day.
Seriously! A positive change to your headshot could open the floodgates!
Headshots are truly the door to your talent. The more eye-catching or provocative your headshot is, the more you inspire casting directors to want to open that door.
Before you go blaming your agent for not getting you out enough, take a good, hard look at your headshots. They might just be what’s truly holding you back.
Maybe your footage is the problem.
Do you have a high-quality demo reel?
Do you have shortened clips of your work?
Do those acting clips showcase you playing your specific types?
Does your agent have access to those clips so they can use them to submit you?
Like headshots, your footage must be an enticing door that makes casting directors want desperately to open.
You might not have enough experience yet. The number of credits on your acting résumé can make a difference in the frequency you are requested for auditions.
But you already knew that, right?
What you may not know is that the kinds of credits on your acting résumé can also make a huge difference. Having unrecognizable credits may not help you, in other words. Your résumé may be loaded with credits, but are they the kinds of credits that can open the right doors?
Before you go blaming your agent, evaluate the kinds of credits you need, and develop a plan to earn those credits for your résumé.
After examining your headshots, footage and credits, take a look at your training. Training is not a trivial matter. It is, indeed, one-way casting directors weed out actors who may not be worth the time it takes to bring them in for an audition.
Also, the kind of training you receive, and from whom you received it, can make all the difference in the world. When an actor doesn’t have much experience or credits, casting directors can look to your training. Seeing that you trained with a teacher or at a school they recognize builds trust. They may not trust you, due to your lack of experience, but they can trust your training.
Before you go blaming your agent, ask your agent what kinds of training they believe would be helpful for you to add to your résumé.
#5. Times are slow
Finally, this industry works in ebbs and flows. Sometimes there’s lots of auditions to be had. Sometimes there’s not. Sometimes your category and talents are in high demand. Other times, they are not.
Ask your agent for a list of the projects you’ve been submitted for recently, to see if times are hard or if they’re just hardly working for you.
Before you go blaming your agent for the slowdown, make sure it’s not simply a temporary slowdown.
And, remember, just because your actor friends are auditioning regularly, and you’re not, doesn’t mean your agent is necessarily bad. The two things don’t always correlate.
There are many reasons you might not be getting enough auditions. Before you go blaming your agent, make sure it truly is their fault.