How to Prepare for a Commercial Agency Meeting

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Q: I have a commercial agency meeting coming up. How should I prepare? Do I need to memorize commercial sides? —@valleyvillageactor, Backstage Community Forums*

Congratulations! Finding a great commercial agent is one of the milestones of a successful career. But preparation is key. The meeting should be about discovering through observations and questions if this is going to be a good fit on both sides. 

Before the meeting, do your research on IMDbPro. How big is the agency? How many people do they rep? Is it a small boutique agency, or will you be joining a roster of a thousand other actors? You may even recognize a few of their clients. If so, reach out. Ask them about their working relationship with the agent. Has the agent gotten them auditions on a regular basis? What kind of auditions? 

Also, prepare some questions! Agents need to know you’ve done your research and that you’re interested in the relationship. Some great questions are: How did you get started? What was your favorite booking? What do you do outside the office? 

READ: How to Become a Commercial Actor

Prepare other questions that will help you figure out their managing style: If we do end up working together, what’s the best way to stay in touch—call, email, or text? If I see an audition I’m right for, do you mind if I bring it to your attention? Are there any casting directors you work with regularly that should know my work? (This also informs you if they have any close relationships with CDs—a crucial piece of information.) Do you freelance, or will I be required to sign a contract? What is your fee percentage? 

Finally, find out if you’ll need to read for them and what is expected of you in the meeting. This is a question you can and should ask. Don’t get taken by surprise. If they want you to read, will they have material, or will you have to prepare something? If you have to prepare something, choose two short commercial pieces that best show off your talents. Ask your actor friends if they have any; the internet is also a huge resource for material. And, yes, memorize them, but be open to any redirects. Good luck! 

This story originally appeared in the June 24 issue of Backstage Magazine. Subscribe here.

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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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Bill Coelius
Bill Coelius has been in numerous television, movies, and over 50 national commercials. He also teaches acting in New York, Los Angeles, Portland, and Detroit.
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