4 Strategies for Landing an Agent in L.A.

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Photo Source: Photo by Daniel Semenov from Pexels

Actors are often confused about where to start seeking representation in L.A. and what to prepare in order to seal the deal when they do finally schedule a meeting. Luckily, there isn’t just one way you can go about obtaining representation. Here are four strategies to keep in mind.

1. Receive a personal recommendation. The easiest route to getting an agent in Los Angeles is by personal recommendation from a casting director, producer, director, manager, or even another actor. These personal connections are worth their weight in social capital gold.

2. Join a class. Get out there and be seen! If you’re in an acting class or an acting program where you perform in a showcase or a theater production, you can get seen by an agent. Agents, managers, and casting directors frequently get invited to these productions so they can discover up-and-coming talent. Meeting someone there can lead to that personal recommendation or, if an agent likes you, they might reach out to you directly.

From teaching classes to attending events, CDs find actors from doing searches across the country. Some even find actors in other types of classes and environments (like restaurants where they’re working).

3. Submit to agents. Don’t be afraid to pitch yourself to agents via email, as long as their website says it’s acceptable. Use this guide to the best agencies in L.A. or this resource list to find agents who match your vibe. Send them your headshot, résumé, demo reel, and links to your actor website and social media pages. Include a short note saying something like “I’ve heard great things about your agency” or “I’m new to L.A. and would love to meet with you.” Address your email to them personally—don’t write “Dear Sir or Madam.” 

Follow up in about a week to see if they’re willing to have a meeting with you. Some agencies will tell you they aren’t taking new clients right now. Others may say they have too many similar clients. But don’t despair: You’ll find the agent that’s a perfect fit for you.

4. Come prepared for every meeting. When you get the opportunity to meet an agent, make sure you’re prepared. 

  • Bring your materials: Remember the basics, like always bringing your headshots and résumé with you. 
  • Research: Do your research on the agent and agency beforehand. Look over their roster of talent and determine how many clients each agent represents.
  • Remain open: Know what is unique about yourself so you can pitch your uniqueness to the agent. Have a clear point of view on what kind of roles you see yourself playing, but be open to hearing what they have to say.
  • Don’t be late: This is probably a no-brainer, but it’s important to show that you’re a professional by being on time for your meeting. 
  • Show off your skills: Every agent has different auditioning requests, so it’s always good to have both a comedic and a dramatic monologue in your back pocket that will show your acting range. The monologues should be no more than a minute to a minute and a half. Some agencies will give you a cold reading when you get there to see what you will do on the spot, so don’t be surprised if this happens. 
  • Ask questions: Make sure to ask smart questions like: Would it be best to email or call you? Is it OK to drop by the office periodically? Do you already have a sufficient number of actors that are the same type as me?

*This post was originally published on April 5, 2019. It has since been updated.

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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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Lisa London
Lisa London has been a casting director for more than 60 films and television shows. Over the last 25 years, she has cast projects for Sony, Disney Channel, HBO, Nickelodeon, Screen Gems, Universal, Columbia Pictures, and ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and Amazon.
See full bio and articles here!

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