An agent for acting is an essential part of any successful actor's career. While you can get plenty of acting auditions on your own, you'll need an agent to get auditions of a high caliber. Particularly if you're in a large market such as New York or Los Angeles, an agent can open all kinds of doors for you. It can be difficult to find an agent. Here are some tips.
Obtain a copy of an agent listing book for your area. This book will feature the name of agencies, their mailing addresses, phone numbers and pertinent information about the agencies, such as the type of actors they tend to represent. Many books also feature what particular agencies are looking for in terms of new talent. These books are updated monthly so the information should be accurate. If you live in a small market that doesn't have agency listing books, conduct a quick search for the agencies in the area. Since there will only be a few, you can visit their websites to see if they are seeking new talent.
Put together a packet to mail to prospective agents. You should include a brief cover letter, outlining your acting experience and why you would be a good fit for that particular agency. Try to show your personality in your cover letter. Put your cover letter, headshot and resume, together in a packet and mail it out to agents. If an agent is interested in you, she will contact you to set up a meeting.
Follow up with a postcard mailing. If you didn't receive a response from your mass mailing, follow up by mailing a postcard to the agent. Write a brief note on the back of the postcard, explaining that you are following up on your packet and would love to meet in person. Make sure your contact information is on the postcard so the agent can contact you if interested.
Prepare for your meeting with an agent. These initial meetings are meant to see if you and the agent would be a good fit together. Even though you'll be nervous, try to be yourself. Have a monologue prepared in case they ask for it. Be aware that the agent may ask you to perform a cold reading of material at your meeting. This involves the agent giving you a scene to rehearse for a few minutes on your own. You will then perform it for the agent. If you have a demo reel with clips of your on-camera acting, bring it with you to the meeting.
Perform in theater. Agents often see local theater and many actors have found representation via theater. You'll never get noticed if you stay home. Get out in front of people and act! You never know who will be in the audience.
Consider agent workshops. These workshops are similar to casting directors workshops. You pay a fee to meet and perform for an acting agent. You will get the opportunity to ask the agent any questions you may have, and then perform either a monologue or scene for him. If he is interested in representing you, he will contact you after the workshop to set up a meeting.
If you don't receive any responses from the mailing or workshop, still be persistent. Aim to put out a mass mailing every six months or so. Agents' rosters fluctuate so spots may open up for your type in the future.
Be aware of social boundaries. Never hound an agent for representation. Treat it as a professional business relationship and be respectful.