Can you hook me up (agency referrals)?

“It’s all about who you know,” right? Yes, connections still go along way in the industry, so if you are just getting your foot in the door and are new to the business of acting, then you will probably want to work hard at creating connections and developing relationships that can help you further your career. Bill Oberst Jr. seems to think so, too – watch now!

I received a question recently from a young (in experience) actor. He asked:

How do you know when it’s ok to ask someone for referral for representation?

Here is my answer:

Dear Sir, thank you for the question. I believe that an actor looking for representation, before he asks his represented friend for a referral, should be very confident in his knowledge of what he has to offer the agency which he is interested in submitting to. In all truth, you may not need your friend’s referral power, so “hook yourself up” by getting your ducks in a row and then submitting to agencies which you believe are a good fit for your skill set. If you have absolutely no luck in getting an interview with an agent on your own, then, indeed, you might need to ask a friend who knows you and your work well. If your friend does go out on a limb for you and talks you up to his agent, you should be ready to deliver the goods during the interview. Your marketing materials (headshot, reel, etc.) should be polished, and your resume’ should have some credits on it that make you look employable. Remember, agents are looking for people who can make them money, so you need to make sure that you know what goods you have to offer, how to market them effectively.

It’s also important to know that there are different tiers of agencies in our region and each one may have a particular niche. It is crucial that you *target* the agencies which are most suitably fitted for what you have to offer – are you a model? interested in commercial work? voice over? do your know your type? does the agency you are soliciting already represent a few people of your type? – these are all questions worthy of exploration before you begin your hunt.

Thanks for the question, and good luck!

~ David

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  1. Good advice – “hooking yourself up”.
    One of my big pet peeves is the following conversation:

    Friend: What are you up to?
    Me: [I tell them what I’ve been doing. In this case, it includes a fun film gig or two]
    Friend: Aw, man. How are you getting all this awesome stuff? I mean, that’s great for you but, man… I really need to get an agent. Who’s your agent? I should really get an agent.

    As if agency representation is all that’s holding them back from having a career just like mine. Plus the implication that my success isn’t really totally mine, it’s the fact that I have this magical agent conjuring acting job spells for me.

    Actors and agents have a valuable, professional relationship. And yes, ideally, an agent is part of the path to more frequently getting in front of higher quality opportunities, but ultimately it’s the actor, not the agent, who walks into the audition and books the job. So yeah, go do the work, educate yourself and make your friends with representation eager to refer you!

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