Now we’ve got some of your basic actor tools in order we’re turning to other elements of acting and industry life. Here at YAFTA, in addition to our acting academies for training and actor tools, we run the YAFTA Talent Agency which represents child, teen and adult actors for professional acting work.
Our actors have auditioned for a huge range of projects and have gone on to secure roles in feature films, TV dramas, documentaries, commercials and corporate work and a number of major soaps. These successes come from the combined efforts of the agency and our actors.
The actor-agent relationship is a vital part of your career and yet it can often be seen as challenging. Actors become disillusioned with agents who they feel aren’t getting them work and agents become frustrated with actors who let them down.
Most problems between actors and agents are very easily solved and many could be avoided entirely with a little bit of Agent Etiquette. You are in partnership with your agent and the simplest things can make that process run more smoothly.
In these tips on Agent Etiquette we’ll be looking at existing actor-agent relationships. A future tips post will focus on how to approach agents when seeking new or first time representation.
Ready to improve your relationship with your agent? Read YAFTA’s top tips:
Understand what your agent does.
The main problem actors have with agents (“mine doesn’t get me any work”) stems from a major misunderstanding of what an agent is for and what they do. Your agent is there to connect you to the work, to put you forward for casting calls and hopefully get you auditions. Actually getting the job is up to you. Your agent is also only one part of the job seeking process. Successful actors are proactive; seeking out opportunities, contacting companies and casting directors and making their own work, not sitting around waiting for their agent to call.
While this tip isn’t carte blanche to hassle your agent at every opportunity, it is good to keep in touch. You should feel comfortable dropping your agent an email or requesting a chat over the phone (at a convenient time for you both). Your agent needs to know what your career goals are to ensure you’re being put forward for the right type of work. Also be sure to send updates of any headshots, showreels etc, brief information on current projects and also relevant personal information that could affect your career, eg. moving house or having a baby!
The more an agent knows about you the better able they are to make decisions about which roles to put you up for. Your Spotlight skills section should be up to date but remember to flag anything particularly special or related to the area you most want to work in to your agent directly.
Remember your agent is working for you and just because they may be the ones putting you forward for jobs doesn’t mean you should take a back seat. If you see a job on Spotlight or another site and have specific, relevant experience that isn’t on your profile; perhaps a previous career or unusual hobby, let your agent know by dropping them a brief email. This should include the job title and any other pertinent information like the closing date!
We can’t stress this one enough. Please, please don’t forget to keep your agent up to date with your availability. It’s better not to be put forward for a job than be put forward and then have to pull out. Agents will work on the premise that you are available until you say otherwise. You make their job and your career harder if you cancel on jobs and auditions. A quick email will suffice!
Patience! It’s frustrating when you aren’t getting auditions and it is tempting to blame your agent and immediately want to jump ship. If you’re with a reputable agency think carefully. Ours is a very competitive industry with far more actors than there are roles up for grabs. Take a good look at your headshots, showreel, CV, training and casting type and see if any of these are in need of tlc. Think about what you are doing to get and create work yourself and finally, talk to your agent about your concerns and the industry. It takes time to build a relationship, don’t give up before its had chance to grow.
We hope these tips prove useful when it comes to working with your agent. You should never feel scared about contacting them; you’re in this together and you are on their books because they see something in you.
You can find out more about the YAFTA Talent Agency at www.yafta.tv while all our acting classes, masterclasses and actor tools information (headshots, showreels etc) can be found at www.yafta.co.uk
Prosperous partnerships to you all and, as always, see you on screen!