Why Actors Need to Work For a Bit Before Trying to Get an Agent

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Photo Source: Illustration: Jordan Sondler

Q: How long should I wait before getting an agent? —Iesha W., Arizona

The truth is, there are no hard and fast rules on how long you should wait before seeking representation. If you’re brand-new, with no professional experience, but have a very specific look or type, you just might luck out, get awesome reps immediately, and book a lead in a blockbuster right out of the gate.

While that could happen, it probably won’t. I’m not going to sugarcoat this for you: Why would an agent agree to rep an actor who has zero professional experience? They have plenty of proven actors on their roster who are known in the industry and already book work.

My advice? Before you look for an agent, get out there and audition on your own. Your job for the next year or two is to learn how to audition so you can learn how to book. Get cast in a stage play or a student film. Then get cast in another and another. There is no education like the act of doing something. Make mistakes, make friends, keep up your training, and keep auditioning.

See if you can intern at an agent’s or casting director’s office. You’ll gain invaluable insider knowledge of how the industry works.

Find like-minded friends and create your own projects. Make more mistakes, learn from them, get better, and gain confidence.

During this process, you’ll discover where you fit in the industry, what your type really is, and how to be calm under pressure. You’ll begin to build relationships with people in the business, develop an audition process that works for you, and learn what it’s like to work on a stage or a set. You’ll also earn the trust of casting directors and other industry folk.

When it’s time to look for an agent, you’ll be a connected actor who is constantly developing skills and gaining experience. This makes you a much easier sell and more appealing to agents looking to expand their client roster!

Actor and web designer Amy Russ helps actors showcase their castability, personality, and professionalism with simple, effective, and affordable websites. Find out the crucial “5 First Steps” to creating a website that stands out in her free video training.

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and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

Amy Russ
Actor and web designer Amy Russ helps actors showcase their cast-ability, personality, and professionalism with simple, effective, and affordable websites. She is also an actor who has been working in TV, film, and theater for years.
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