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Secret Agent Man

Anatomy of a Meeting

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Anatomy of a Meeting
 It seems like every actor out there is dying to get a meeting with someone like me, but none of you knows how to behave when you're actually in my office. Some actors are naturals at making a good impression. They walk in, do their thing, and leave to the sound of my mental applause. These are the people who get signed. But the rest of you? It's not a pretty sight. I can't begin to tell you how many actors have talked me out of signing them. And that's a shame, because I'm betting some of those people were talented enough to start booking work. They just got in their own way. So let's see if I can put an end to the madness.

When the day of the big meeting arrives, you should do something in the morning that makes you feel good about yourself. For some people, this means working out or going for a hike. Others like to watch their favorite movie. The truth is it doesn't really matter what you do, as long as it brings out the eye of the tiger. Remember, state of mind is crucial when you're taking a meeting with someone who could change your life.

After that, you have to consider what you're going to wear. This isn't the time to play dress-up. An agent meeting is not a costume party. You want to choose clothes that are comfortable and show off the real you. So if you're a casual kind of guy, please don't wear a business suit. That's just silly. Jeans and a shirt are fine if that's the way you normally dress.

As you head out for the meeting, you're probably a little nervous, right? Well, the main thing to understand about agent meetings is that there's no reason to be nervous. If anything, you should be feeling a little bit cocky. After all, I'm the one who called you. That means you did something right. Maybe I saw you in a show or maybe a friend referred you or maybe your submission caught my eye. Whatever. The point is, I'm bringing you in for a meeting because I'm interested enough to know more. That's an open door, gang. So walk in feeling good about yourself. Nervous people don't get signed.

Now, you need to realize the meeting starts the moment you walk in. We get a lot of unwanted drop-offs at my company. That means you're being judged from the get-go. So don't stroll in talking on your cell. That's obnoxious. Just leave the damn thing in your car. Next, make sure you introduce yourself to my assistant with a smile. Don't just say, "Hi. I'm here for my meeting." All that gets you is, "And you are?" Instead, try saying something smart like, "Hi. My name's Bob Smith. I have a 4 o'clock meeting with Secret Agent Man." See the difference?

There's one more thing you should keep in mind while you're waiting. It's totally cool to make small talk with my assistant, but be sincere and don't kiss ass. She knows when an actor is trying to work her. And all that stuff gets back to me later. (I remember one brain surgeon who actually hit on my assistant while he was waiting to meet me. Guess what: She wasn't interested, and I didn't sign him.)

So now you're finally sitting in my reception area, waiting. And waiting. And waiting. How will the meeting go? Am I going to sign you? Is your life about to change?

As you can see, this topic is too big for one column, so we'll have to pick it up next week with you walking into my office and saying hello. Cue the theme music from "Jaws." I've got a bad feeling about this….

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