How to Submit to Talent Agencies (According to an Agent)

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Finding an agent can make all the difference in your career, so here’s some basic guidance from an industry insider on how to make your acting agency submissions stand out.

  1. Craft a compelling heading. The subject heading in your email should be simple but enticing. “Actor seeking representation” is a bore. “Just got great reviews!” is better. “Referred to you by [insert casting director’s name]” is best (as long as it’s true!).
  2. Keep attachments simple. Many who apply for an acting agency think that the more attachments they send, the better, but the opposite is true—you don’t want to overwhelm the agent, after all. Send no more than three headshots, and a PDF of your résumé is fine. 
  3. Make a killer demo reel. One of the most important parts of talent agency submissions is the demo reel, which should showcase your acting range and unique skill set. 
  4. Aim for short and sweet. As for the email itself, please don’t send your life story; one or two paragraphs are plenty. The best acting cover letters provide a brief discussion of your background, experience, and career goals in a way that feels both personal and professional. 
  5. Make sure your referrals are ready. Mentioning a referral is always a good idea, but because anyone can claim such a thing, the referral isn’t really worth much unless the person in question gets in touch with the agent directly.
  6. Avoid flash drives. And if you’re sending an old-school hard-copy submission, please don’t include a flash drive with your reel on it. Because it could contain a virus, agents won’t plug it into their computers.
  7. Use the golden rule. Always put yourself on the receiving end and consider what kind of submission you’d like to get. That way of thinking should help your submission stand out from the avalanche of mail agents receive on a daily basis.

Ready to find an agent to submit to? Browse Backstage’s Call Sheet talent agency listings!

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Secret Agent Man
Secret Agent Man is a Los Angeles–based talent agent and our resident tell-all columnist. Writing anonymously, he dishes out the candid and honest industry insight all actors need to hear.
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