If you are looking for tips on how to sign with an acting agency, look no further! It doesn't matter if you live outside of Los Angeles, CA, if acting is your aspiration there are ways to find work. Before I moved to Los Angeles, I lived in San Antonio. There wasn't a ton of acting jobs there but I did my research and found a local agency. It gave me a chance to get my feet wet on stage and film and also hone my craft in classes. By the time I moved to LA, I was more than ready to sign with an acting agency and you will be too.
You will need to have passion to sign with an acting agency because it's a tough business to be a part of. It isn't the type of field that has a sure path you can follow to ensure success, so you have to have something driving you to stick with it. When you meet with agents they will be able to tell if you love acting or just want to be famous. Of course, there are some agents who will sign you if you just want to be famous, but be willing to do all kinds of ridiculous things if that's what you're truly seeking.
You will need to research the agencies in your immediate area. I wouldn't suggest signing with an agency more than an hour away from you because you may get last minute auditions. For instance, when I was a student in San Antonio I booked a job in Austin and had to drive an hour each way on a daily basis for several weeks. But you know what? If it's worth it, the drive won't really matter to you. Also, when you research, be sure to check out how many people they represent. You don't wan to sign with someone with a huge roster because you aren't likely to get the attention you need.
We all have to start somewhere, right? Even if you haven't had any professional experience on stage or on screen, agents will want to see that you have had some kind of training. This lets them know that you will have a clue what to do when they send you on auditions. It also shows them that you take your craft seriously and won't treat auditions as practice. Most cities offer acting classes at local colleges and some will have theatre training available as well. There is always more you can learn.
Unlike modeling agencies who may call you in off of a Polaroid picture, agents will want to see a professional headshot of you. Your headshots are like your business cards, so you need to make sure they are professional. You don't need to spend a ton of money on your first round of headshots because honestly, your agent may not love them and ask you to take new ones. But you at least need to be able to show them what you look like and how they can potentially submit you.
If you don't have an agent yet but want to act, you can submit yourself for parts on sites like Actors Access and Now Casting. Sometimes you can find decent gigs on Cragislist under the creative or talent section as well. If you are fortunate enough to be close to a University you can see if they are casting for plays or student films that you can audition for. This way you will have experience on set and working with a script. It also will look good on your resume and you can show agents that you have worked before.
The worst thing you can do is try to be like another working actor. It's already a saturated field, so you need to be comfortable with being yourself. There is no one else like you and when you are able to be yourself, it's refreshing for people in the industry. You never know, your quirks may be what help you book your first major role and they certainly will help you stand out when meeting with agents.
Like any big dream you are going to need perseverance. I have been with a professional agency for over 7 years now and there have been times where an entire year goes by and I may book one job. It's not easy, but if you are with an agency that believes in you, don't worry. They also know how the industry works and will go on the journey with you for finding the perfect part!
Once you sign with an agency, take the time to develop a relationship with them. You don't want to pester them and send too many emails about auditions, but it is a good idea to check in once in a while and say hi. Let them know what's going on in your life and always let them know when you take new classes or get new headshots. Do you dream of getting in the industry? What's your journey been like?
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