So, last week, we looked at how “drop season” does not always mean bad news for the dropped actor. I got a lot of spectacular feedback from some of you fine folks, letting me know how that’s exactly the perspective you needed, because focusing on how to get to the “hell yes” agent is always a better position from which to approach representation. Cool. 🙂 Love it!

I had mentioned last week that I wanted to compare what agents and managers are looking for in actors vs. what it is that most actors submit to agents and managers, when seeking representation. Ready? Here’s a graphic depiction for you.

Click the image to download a PDF version.

You wanna show off your range. They want to know exactly how best to pitch you for your immediate next-tier bookings.

You include the most flattering (often airbrushed) headshot from your most recent shoot. They want to know exactly how you’re gonna look when you walk through the door — whether it’s to meet them, to preread for a role, or to meet with producers.

Your cover letter is almost always twice as long as it needs to be to get the job done, and it often includes loads of information about your passion, your dedication, your professionalism. That last part is the only thing the agents and managers tend to care about, because they’re looking for your ability to help a production make its day. They’re looking to see that you get repeat work from the same teams, which means you’re doing such a great job that they want you back again and again. They’re looking for ways to eliminate risk that you’re gonna be anything other than a total pro when they pitch you and send you in. Further, they wanna see evidence of relationships that you’ve cultivated and ways in which they too intersect with some of those people. Everyone’s web of trust is in play, here. If you’re booking work in casting offices in which these agents and managers already have strong relationships, you’re all gonna get to that next booking (and therefore the money) faster together.

Your resumé — I can almost guarantee — has too much on it. If you’re new to Los Angeles, it has too many out-of-market bookings (things that are relevant there, but never here: industrials, corporate/non-broadcast, modeling, and community theatre). If you’re new to the business itself, it has too much “filler” because you’re trying to prove you’ve WORKED. You only need one professional credit on your resumé to prove you’ve worked. Everything after that should either teach us how to cast you next *or* display a really phenomenal relationship you have with a director or producer or casting office that will bring you in again.

What’s the biggest overall *anything* that an agent or manager is looking for when reviewing an actor’s tools in consideration of representation? DOLLAR SIGNS.

Don’t hate them for that. It doesn’t mean they don’t care about your talent, your training, your passion, and your drive. It means that if you don’t look like a booker, they have no room for you on their roster right now, because every day you’re NOT booking, they’re working for free.

Get your marketing tools in order so that they don’t reflect what’s important to YOU but instead what’s important to the person on the receiving end.

And if you’re not yet ready to “look like a booker,” spend the next few months creating content that shows what it looks like when you do book. Submit on lower-tier projects that show the momentum *toward* paid work. Build relationships with folks whose next projects could include something for you. Do staged readings. Kill it in class. Network. Build your community of fellow creatives. And trust that the right rep for you may still be a few months (or years) away. There’s nothing wrong with that. You’ve got all the time in the world.

NOTE: Our free quarterly SMFA Tune-Up call was an amazing two-hour adventure and, yes, we’ll be offering up a recording of the call for those of you who missed it (or who want to be inspired all over again). Please save the date for our next call, which will take place on Friday, July 11th, at 2:30pm PDT. Don’t delay! RSVP here!

Bonnie Gillespie autographed the internet

Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

Originally published by Actors Access at Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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