I recently produced an industry showcase for unrepresented actors. Twelve very talented performers did what they do best - perform! I am proud to announce that many were contacted for “stage two": The interview.
The interview is the time to personally interact and see if you and the agency or management company are the right fit for each other. It’s kind of like a first date. Sure, you may be nervous. You may be thinking, “If I am just plain old me, will I make enough of an impression?" Your best bet is to be prepared, but also be yourself. Look your best without trying too hard. Relax and have a good time. This is supposed to be fun, remember?
Before the meeting, think about some questions to get the conversation going. In my previous article on assembling your team, I suggested some contractual questions. Here are some more conversation starters to consider.
1. What type do you see me as? This is a really important question and one that needs addressing before signing. You may think you can play the leading lady but your potential rep sees you as a character actress. Now is the time to get on the same page. Discuss whether or not you will be sent out on theater as well as television and film auditions. Do you both agree that comedy is your thing? And if it is, will you still be considered for one-hour dramas and film as well? If you are interested in pursuing commercials and voiceovers, find out who within the agency handles that.
2. How many clients do you have and how many are my type? Agencies and management companies come in all sizes. Some have a handful of clients; some have hundreds. Find out how many other represented clients are your type and how that might affect you getting submitted for projects.
3. How do you feel about me submitting myself for projects? There are many ways these days to find out about projects on your own. There are open calls listed in Backstage and plenty of resources on the Internet. While your potential rep will work hard for you in securing auditions, there may be times when you find something that he or she does not know about it. Ask how they like to handle this. What about student films? Find out if they are open to you pursuing these leads on your own. Remember you are part of the team, and it’s nice to know they are a team player.
4. Do you recommend photographers, acting, voice or dance teachers? There are a plethora of photographers and teachers out there. Ask what this potential rep thinks of your current headshot. Who takes their clients’ fabulous pictures? Find out where some of their other clients study acting, voice or dance. It’s always great to get a personal recommendation when you can.
Remember, good teamwork is just as important for an actor as it is for a star basketball player. Doing your research, knowing what questions to ask, and gaining a good understanding of how an agent or manager can represent you will help you choose the very best rep to be a part of YOUR winning team.
Master your craft, empower yourself, and enjoy the journey.
Denise Simon is a New York-based acting coach and career consultant who has been involved in the entertainment industry for more than 25 years as an actor, teacher, director, and personal talent manager. For 10 years, she was an associate with Fox Albert Management, one of the leading talent management companies in New York, where she managed such clients as Scarlett Johansson, Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino, Lacey Chabert (“Party of Five”), and Judy Reyes (NBC’s “Scrubs”). Denise has coached hundreds of children and young adults appearing regularly on Broadway and in television and film, as well as educating parents on the business of show business.