On August 6th, Backstage featured an article by “Secret Agent Man” explaining that unsolicited emails from actors often get deleted by agents. The article provides a few examples of actors who reached out and were simply ignored.
After reading the examples, I couldn’t help but think that maybe the act of emailing itself is not the problem. Instead, it just might be the approach of the email.
Now, let’s be fair. Agents are inundated with emails, calls and mailings from actors. It’s just not humanly possible for them to respond to each and every email they receive. But, there are three essential steps you can follow in order to set yourself apart from the crowd and hopefully avoid the dreaded delete button.
Create a Connection
In a sentence or two, introduce yourself and identify WHY you’re reaching out to this particular agent. If you have a referral or recommendation, share it here. If you don’t have a referral, be sure to outline a specific success, client, or characteristic of the agent you’re reaching out to. The more specific the better, so do your research.
“I’m Jane Actor and I am currently scene partners at Acting Studio XYZ with your client Jeff Jones.”
“Jane Actor here. Casting Director Smith recommended that I reach out.”
“I’m Jane Actor and I admire the fact that you currently represent 19 actors with multiple co-star credits.”
“I’m Jane Actor and I am writing to thank you for the advice you shared about the importance of creating my own content at the recent SAG Foundation Life Raft event.”
You must create excitement if you want your prospective new agent to take notice. So, after you’ve created a quick connection, it’s time to outline 1-3 successes you’ve accomplished recently.
Outline why you’d be a valuable addition to any agent’s roster and remember to present concrete successes such as recent bookings, awards or nominations rather than describe your goals and aspirations.
“I just booked a costar on the season premiere of Revenge.”
“I wrote and starred in the short film, ‘Dog Days’, which won 6 awards including a ‘Best Actress’ nod for me at the Holly Shorts Festival.
“I’ve added six new television credits to my resume in the last 18 months.”
“I just returned from the national tour of ‘Jersey Boys’.”
So, what if you don’t have a recent success you can highlight? Well, it might not be the best time to pursue new representation. Focus on building relationships, booking jobs, or creating your own work.
After that, you can approach an agent when you’ve got exciting news to share.
Present a Call to Action
Finally, it’s time to ask for what you want. In a quick sentence, simply request a meeting or direct your potential agent to your website, IMDB page, or other site so she can find out more about you and decide from there.
Your call to action might look like this:
“I’d love to meet to discuss working together. Please check out my resume at www.mysite.com and contact me if you’re interested.”
“I think we should meet to explore working together. So, I’ll follow up with your office next week to find out if a meeting is possible.”
In the end, remember this: Yes, the right representation can bring a whole lotta good stuff to your career. But the key word here is “right”. So, know that on the path to finding the perfect partnership, you’ll run into rejection or even the wrong match. Heck, your email might even get deleted. But your job is to simply put yourself out there in a concise and professional way and give every agent on your target list the chance to decide for themselves.