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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Market Your Acting Career (Tip #4) Re-Establishing Relationships with Agents

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I just received a question from one of my students, and I thought the Bite-Size Business readers would benefit from hearing the answer. First, the question:

“As I mentioned, I’ve worked in a non-acting capacity with a NYC agent for many years (though I have, since, moved on to another day job.) I would love to invite him to the reading I'm doing in 2 weeks and I am wondering - when is a good time to send him an invitation? Should I send it ASAP with a follow up reminder?  Should I just send one a week in advance?  I know schedules fill up quickly with these people.

Also (as I told you) he had referred me to the commercial agent in his office, but she has not yet seen my work. You had suggested that I contact the original agent to have him help me get back in contact with her. Is this invitation email the appropriate place to ask him about that?

Finally, after I graduated from college in 2006 I was in a show, and the owner of an agency loved my performance and called me for a couple of commercial auditions several times over the course of the next year.  I didn't book any of them, and being young and stupid neglected to follow up with her and keep her in my contacts.  Is it too late to get in touch with her?

Thanks for all your help - I'm really excited about these new steps I'm taking!!

Hello! These are all amazing questions - I am glad you are starting to think about re-cultivating these relationships. Oftentimes, meeting the person can be the easy part (it is also easy to fall out of touch, as we can see.) What is hard is to know what to do when you realize you should have been keeping up your part of the relationship. But, all is not lost!

The first thing I want to mention is: Go easy on yourself. We are human, and keeping in touch can be difficult to do, especially when we don’t have the right tools (contact database, for example) or the know-how (what to say, when to say it, how to say it- aka MARKETING skills). It’s better late than never to get back in touch, so here are a few tips with regard to your specific situation:

Regarding the agent you know: Your relationship with the agent is close enough that you email, right? Send an email invitation right away, and then send a gentle reminder 2-3 days before the performance. As I mentioned, be sure to check with the other actors in your show to see if any of them are repped by this agency. Having other clients there will increase the chances of getting this agent to your show. But if you have non-represented actors in your cast, even better! If there are talented actors, be sure to let the agent know that. There could be a possibility of him signing several clients, including you, which can make attending this reading very lucrative (it’s uncommon, but it does happen.) And don't feel badly if he can't make it- this is rarely personal. Agents often have plans to see 6-8 shows a week and perhaps they just can’t squeeze yours in. In this case, it is still a great opportunity to let him know that you are currently working, and that you are interested in building your relationship with him. 

One quick suggestion- has he ever asked you to let him know about projects coming up? If so, I'd suggest starting your email by checking in with him, asking some personal "catch up" questions. Then, in a separate paragraph, I would say something like, "You asked me to let you know when I have a project coming up, and in a few weeks I am performing in a reading that I am very proud of." Then give him the full details.

Regarding the commercial agent in his office: What I would suggest is to mention this commercial agent in your show invitation email to the original agent. Say something like, "I'll be happy to set aside two tickets, perhaps for you and [commercial agent’s name]? If you remember, you had suggested I contact her (and I did)- this would be a perfect way for you both to see my work..."

Regarding the agency owner you met in 2006: You can send her a postcard/letter/email inviting her to the event, and let her know you are kick starting your career and would love her input. Once the reading is done, I would suggest sending her a headshot/resume with a cover letter and ask for a meeting. You want to let her know how your career has grown and changed since she last saw you, and it would be a good idea to see how her agency is doing to see if you are a good fit for where they are today.

Hope this helps- I am thrilled you are getting out there, and I am looking forward to hearing about the results!

Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. To learn more, check out http://www.theactorsenterprise.org.

1 COMMENTS - Click to READ:

blaqbird said...

Thanks for reading my blog! I definitely enjoy the information that you provide for actors. I'm still trying to figure out whether or not I want to give acting a shot full-time, even though I've thought about nothing else for years! I'll keep reading!

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