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So you've gotten as far as the agent interview—congratulations! No matter how worried you are, remember that the agent saw something in you that he or she liked, or you wouldn't have been invited into that office. Your photo, résumé, referral, or—even better—your work has piqued interest, and now you just have to prove you're everything he or she is looking for, right? Wrong.

Luckily, all you have to do is be your absolutely best self. Strive to be you to the hilt: you on a wonderful day after a great night's sleep in your most flattering clothes after your favorite breakfast; you, at your most relaxed and confident. Don't bother trying to shape yourself into the image you think the folks at the agency want to see. Even if you could fool them, why set yourself up as something you aren't? Do you want to maintain a false image for the life of the relationship? Could you? Besides, there's no guarantee you'll guess which aspect of yourself they're interested in. If they see you as the sweet Midwestern type and you go in looking like Paula Abdul, you're just going to confuse them.

Let's take for granted that you've made it to the office on time, have avoided spilling coffee on your shirt, and are carrying at least five copies of your neatly updated headshot and résumé. You're feeling as relaxed as possible and you look your best. Now what? Remember, this agent, whether your first interview or your 30th, is just one of the many talent professionals you'll encounter in your career. The sooner you realize he or she isn't showbiz royalty, the better for you both. Treat the agent with respect, not deference, and engage in a real conversation. Use the most basic of your acting skills: listening. Instead of preempting a genuine dialogue by listing your accomplishments ("I've been on The West Wing and Friends"), or making grandiose promises ("I'm going to be the next Pacino") or self-slurs ("I know I'm not the best actor around, but I try really hard"), focus on having a dialogue with the person in front of you. Let them get to know you as a person—not your neurotic, antsy side—you (say it with me now) at your best. Answer the questions that are asked. Be as open to discussing your mutual love of Paris as the upcoming pilot season. If you have questions, don't hold back, but don't feel as if you have to make them up either.

An agent wants to know more than your acting stats; your résumé has already been looked over and your type assessed. The interview is a chance for you both to see if you would have chemistry as a team.

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