The main goal of an agent is to help an actor or actress book work by submitting their head shots and resume to a casting director so they’ll be considered for a part. An agent can be helpful for actors and actresses, but when you first start out, getting one may be difficult, especially if you don’t have much experience in the industry. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get work. It just means you’ll have to be diligent about doing the legwork yourself. Once you start to pick up steady work, you can consider working with an agent to help you get high-profile jobs and parts you may not otherwise know about.
Have professional 8” x 10” head shots ready to give to casting directors at all times, even when you aren’t at an audition. Your head shot should look like you – no retouching should be applied. If you change the color of your hair or get a different haircut, you need to update your head shots. Your head shots should have your name and contact information clearly printed below the photograph.
Keep up-to-date copies of your resume along with your head shots on hand at all times. Highlight relevant work experience, separating work into categories like theatre, television and commercials. Don’t include non-professional work like school plays. College work and education is acceptable, especially if you attended a notable school with a well-known program. Useful skills like juggling or dancing should also be included. If you don’t have anything to put on your resume, take some classes at a local community college or university and audition for community theatre productions to build your resume. Limit your resume to one page and make sure the font is 10-point or larger.
Audition for and join a casting service that books extras and actresses for minor roles in commercials, television and films. Most major cities have a variety of different casting services that book actors for these types of projects. You’ll need to take your head shots and resume when you audition for a casting service.
Check local “breakdown” sheets in your area for open auditions and casting events. Breakdowns are usually printed and published in the morning and can be purchased at most newsstands if you live in a city with a large entertainment business like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago or Miami. Some websites also publish this information by location.
Keep a few copies of your head shot and resume in your car or bag at all times. You never know when you might meet someone who could help you land a paying job or beneficial role.
If you live in a major city, registering for a breakdown service that will update you daily or let you know about auditions in your area may be beneficial. These services usually charge a monthly fee, but they can save you a lot of time and help you get more paid work.