How to get an agent: Write to them

‘How to get an agent?’ is usually the first thing people ask me when I do workshops. The first course of action is writing to one. This can be a daunting task and actors often feel the need to give their whole life story in one cover page. We know you’re keen to impress but don’t do it. Before we get into cover letters, there are a few things you should bear in mind. First of all, check the agents website to find out if their books are open, and how they like to be approached. In most cases you will write to them by email.

Agents tell me

I’ve learned a lot speaking to and interviewing agents and this is what they say:

We…

  • are busy
  • likely already have full books
  • receive tons of submissions every day
  • need you, but not likely as much as you need us. So be patient with response time. 

With that in mind, when writing your covering letter or email you need to keep it brief. There’s no need to include all your experience in your cover letter (they can read your cv/resume). Instead, you want to highlight certain points that will peak their interest in you.

How to get an agent – Things you should say:

  • That you are seeking representation and why you chose them (I saw your website, I’ve heard good things about you etc.). Also, why you are seeking representation (new graduate, new to the city, changing agents, etc)
  • Your key selling points: I’m a high tenor, I play 6 instruments and I’m a strong dancer (this is important because they may not have a lot of people on their books who fit that criteria.
  • Sign off with “I look forward to hearing from you” and of course attach your cv/resume, photo and Spotlight link (if you have one).
  • If you have recently finished a production make sure you mention that, and include any reviews you may have.TIP 1 “Writing to an Agent”

How to get an agent – Things not to do:

  • Lie about how you know about them. Don’t use a false recommendation. (they will check)
  • Write an essay (no one has time). Remember agents are very busy. Get to the point.
  • Attach large hi-res photo or video files. These take up space and can be hard to open. You need to make it quick and easy for the agent to access your material.

Finally, give the agent sufficient time to respond (2-4 weeks), before you chase them. Bare in mind you may not receive a response at all. If they respond and would like to meet you, stay tuned for my next tip ‘What to say in the Interview”.

In case you missed Casting Director Jim Arnold read all about it here.

Kenneth Avery-Clark
Principal & Co-Founder of the ICMT.