Searching for a new agent or manager is a competitive business. Depending on the time of year, their offices might receive hundreds or possibly even thousands of submissions from actors all looking for the same thing—new representation. So, how can you stand out from the crowd and make them see how talented you really are?
I’d suggest that you don’t use the same tired tactic of sending a basic headshot and link to your demo reel. Instead, try implementing a tool that is built specifically to grab attention at a single glance: the personal Electronic Press Kit (EPK).
EPKs are not a new tool. They’ve been used in the industry for years by celebrities and filmmakers looking to show off their latest press clippings or tout their critical achievements. But I believe EPK’s aren’t just for the industry’s elite. An EPK offers an effective visual depiction of your career and, when designed properly, it becomes a tool for showcasing your successes, skills, castability, personality, and so much more. It gives reps a quick sense of the roles you can play and the projects you’ve already been thriving in, so they’ll understand immediately how to submit you.
Wondering how you can create one? Here are some of the basic elements you should consider including in your own personal EPK.
An EPK typically spans over multiple pages in a visually easy to view style. You can choose to highlight your entire career or even a single project depending on your goals. The length will depend on how much you want to include and I recommend inserting your strongest, biggest, or most significant successes toward the beginning to pique their interest right away. Don’t forget to include your contact info and the final file format is usually a .pdf if you’re attaching it to an email. You might also consider uploading it to a page on your personal website so you can share that link via email, social media, and more.
As you’re putting your EPK together, keep this old idiom in mind: a picture is worth a thousand words. If you want to appear as a working actor, then be sure to include some images that reflect that. Not only do you want to insert your best headshots, but also a variety of other types of photos. Use stills of you on the set of your latest project, behind the scenes images of you in-action, quick pics you snapped working alongside recognizable faces, promotional and festival posters, and shots of you on the red carpet at a festival or premiere. You might consider using what are known as editorial or lifestyle shots, which most headshot photographers can shoot for you. During your next photo session ask them to snap a few of these more artistically stylized shots to use for publicity.
The key is to make sure your EPK stays visually focused. Keep the ratio to at least 70 percent images, 30 percent text per page.
An EPK is all about presenting you as someone who is in the game, so this is your chance to show-off. Are you starring in a short film that’s hitting tons of festivals? Try adding the film’s poster along with all those festival laurels. They always look impressive. Did you appear in a theater show alongside a famous actor? Insert a picture of you two together in the show with a quick one-sentence description of your role. Were you on the big screen in the small role of an acclaimed feature film? Get a quote from the director about your work in the project to include. Quotes from industry insiders, such as casting directors, producers, directors, celebrities, coaches, and others help to establish you as a talented and trusted professional.
Remember, an EPK is a visual depiction of your work history so you’re not bragging and it’s not the time to be shy. Instead, you’re simply celebrating your successes.
Most EPK’s contain some sort of biography. This really is the only section that tends to be more heavily weighted toward text over images. Consider your bio as an opportunity to give the readers a taste of who you are as a person and how you got where you are now. It’s a chance for you to share your personality, along with details about background, training, hobbies, special skills, and anything else that you want to reveal.
As a rule, I always like to insert one surprise into every bio. I write something that the reader wouldn’t have known from looking at my résumé or IMDb.
Press and news.
Considering the word press is in the name, it’s smart to include some of your actual press clippings. This section highlights any guest appearances, podcast interviews, press releases, reviews, news blurbs, and any other related items. Depending on how much press you’ve received, you can incorporate it differently. If you’ve got one nice article, then you might want to insert the entire write-up. But, if you’ve got many, I like to insert just a snippet, such as the headline and main photo, and then add a clickable link to the full article posted online.
If you don’t have a lot to work with, try adding press coverage that the project itself received like “Pick of the Week” or “#1 New Drama.” These can appear very impressive.
Demo and clips.
Nothing showcases you in action like actual footage of your work. Depending on how much tape you actually have, you might consider breaking down your filmography into categories like comedy and drama or even into separate clips for your more high-profile projects. Your demos can really help to showcase your talent and your castability, so be sure to insert a link to your various reels.
Also, if you have a unique special skill like surfing, stunts, horseback riding, or boxing, get some footage of you doing it, upload it online, and add it as a clickable link into your EPK. This might just be what catches their attention.
It’s important that your EPK stays on brand. What does that mean? Well, you want the general tone or feeling of it to be in line with the types of roles you portray. This is all about showcasing your castability, so don’t create an EPK using dark colors and dramatic images if you want to audition for comedic roles. Stay in your lane. If you’re funny, let it be fun. If you’re edgy, then do that. No matter what, just keep it all consistent.
Your EPK should feel like an extension of your overall public persona. So, make sure your website and social media accounts have a similar tone. I believe your personal EPK can give potential agents and managers a strong sense of who you are and what you’re capable of as an actor.
Once you land that new rep, your EPK becomes a tool they can use to help get you in the door for more auditions and meetings.
*This post was originally published on April 24, 2019. It has since been updated.
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