So, it’s definitely submission season, showcase season, meeting season ’round Hollywood.
(If you don’t already have your FREE calendar of the showbiz seasons, please head over here to grab the SMFA Hot Sheet that’ll keep you aware of what’s going on when, in our beloved industry!)
Every day, another colleague posts about a league school’s showcase she just experienced, a fellow casting director laments that she can’t find her favorite actor who used to be repped by so-and-so because they’ve moved on to another agent, and a favorite manager mentions the meetings he’s lining up based on submissions.
So, assuming you’ve done your Self-Management for Actors homework and properly targeted agents and managers based on loads of data-mining (yay, you!), it’s time to get your goods in front of these fine folks so y’all can start printing money together!
Problem is, most actors slap a headshot and resumé into an envelope with a tired old cover letter, toss it in the mail, and wonder why that’s the end of it. Or they use a template email (“Dear sirs…”) and click send then pray.
First thing’s first: If you’ve DONE your SMFA homework, there is *zero* chance you send the same thing to all of your targets. It’s pretty much impossible! Because your targeting homework has taught you LOADS about these folks and you know how different they are… so you treat them differently. Duh.
Next: You aren’t slinging spaghetti at the wall and hoping something will stick! You’re selective! You’ve ranked the reps so you know which ones make up your ivy league and which ones are your safety schools.
That means you’re sending your different for each target submissions IN ORDER so you don’t find yourself in the situation of having offers from the less-exciting prospects BEFORE you’ve even met with the ones you really hope to get with! Uh… talk about awkward! You’ve just signed on the dotted line with the rep you ranked 8 out of the 10 to whom you submitted… and THEN you get the meeting with number 3? Suckola, man. Don’t be that guy.
Submit to the best-fit, rightly-targeted, most-excited-about reps first. And do it exactly the way they spell it out on their website, if they have a submission policy posted. That means use the damn form if they give you a form. Use the email address they provide if that’s how it goes down. And if they want hard copy submissions, that’s good ol’ snail mail, y’all. Do it. Just the way they ask for it.
And if they don’t spell it out anywhere (and if you’ve done your SMFA homework correctly, you’ve looked EVERYWHERE, checked with currently-repped-by-them actors you see on the IMDb roster, and maybe even sent a well-timed tweet to ask your target what he’d prefer), you go with your gut. And if your gut says, “Call the office and ASK,” do it. But not like a jackass.
Do it like a confident business person who’s just confirming a submission address. You’re in and you’re out. You’re not so clueless that you call first thing on a Monday morning or last thing on a Friday afternoon. You’re not so nervous that you UHM and ERM and OOPS your way through the call, instilling ZERO confidence in your ability to talk to, oh, I don’t know, maybe the casting directors they might want to send you out to meet should they agree you’d be a good fit!
Think about it. 😉 Really simple stuff here. Your every encounter is the chance to show ’em how WORTH sending into casting offices you are, right?
So, without re-doing all of that doing I’ve already done-done for you, just keep this in mind: The purpose of a cover letter is NOT to land the agent. It’s to get the meeting! That’s it. Do NOT overdo the handshake by trying to turn it into an engagement ring, basically. 😉
You want to leave ’em wanting more. You want to drop breadcrumbs down the path to the conclusion you want THEM to draw (not draw it for them). You want to get in and get out so you can let them get back to their day… including coming up with a great date and time to set a meeting with you, right?!?
And just in case you need one more reminder about that whole handshake/engagement ring thing, rather than your submission taking the tone of, “I’m awesome; represent me!” it should be, “I’m awesome, you’re awesome, here’s where our awesomeosity intersects to make us all some money; let’s take a meeting to see if we’re a good fit.”
Honestly, BECAUSE most actors assume their materials are meant to land rep, you stand out just by being confident that you’re doing things exactly right by submitting in such a way as to land a MEETING. The work you do THERE is what comes next. We can dive into more of this in a future BonBlast, of course. 😉
Meanwhile, comment below about how YOU rock your submissions! I’d love to see you share your toys, and get feedback on how you’re pulling all this together.
Oh, before we wrap this up, note that homework for our amazing SMFA Retreat in LA goes out TOMORROW — please be sure to check your promo tab, etc., for the goods, because we need you to take action on the homework, get legal with us, and of course we want you to know where to show up for this game-changing superfun day we’re gonna share! <3 So! Excited! 'til next time, STAY NINJA, beautiful ones! XO