“Should I call my agent and tell them I want to audition more?”
So you want to call up your agent to let them know you’d like to audition more. What might be the best way to approach that?
First, let’s imagine you are an agent. What sort of phone call would you most like to get from one of your actor client’s? What would make you more glad that you signed them, more glad to make the effort on their behalf? What kind of call might point towards more work for your actor and hence more money for you, the agent?
It’s safe to assume all your actor clients want more auditions and work and let you know this regularly. You are very busy scrambling day in and day out to make your 10% of those few auditions that you arrange that actually book. You want nothing more than for all your clients to book work. Do you really need an affirmation that any of your actors indeed want to audition and hence book more?
Do you want to hear from your corral of actors only when they complain or try to somehow ingratiate themselves to you, hoping to get more auditions? Do you want to only hear from your actors if they want something from you? No.
What might be a better way to remind your agent you are alive and a good prospect for submission? What is better a way to make your agent happy to take your call?
As I suggest elsewhere on my site, acting is about giving, not about getting. I would first suggest, you make sure you are focusing your energies on further strengthening and sharpening your acting talents to be more competitive and irresistibly good.
You should be bolstering your confidence with classes, shows, projects, workout groups, seeing shows, taking in local art and culture, listening to relevant or inspiring audio books, reading, traveling, drinking in entertainment history and generally pursuing things that feed your life and your readiness to deliver your art.
You are doing your job, keeping up your end of the agent/talent arrangement by doing your 90% of the work load (for your 90% of the paycheck with 10% going to your agent).
You apply yourself to feeding and nurturing your life, art and craft— then check in with your agent to keep them updated on your progress, your growth, all you are making, all you are learning. You demonstrate that you are on the move, laying the web, building your creative powers– that you are a smart up-and-coming pro who gets it. You’re not just sitting around and waiting for your agent to lob opportunity your way, like so many other actor clients.
Such a passive stance is for the naive- not you.
It makes sense: The kind of actor client an agent signs and keeps working for is the one they actually want to hear from, because that actor doesn’t waste anyone’s time with whining or worrying or being annoying. An agent wants to hear from a growing, thriving creative power that is becoming a more interesting, able and competitive.
This kind of actor is someone who is a good bet as a business partner who will bring in money– if not today, then soon, because that’s where you’re clearly heading. Such clients are a pleasure to represent, to work for, to speak with.
It’s fine to check in with your agent about concerns, but be sure to let them know where you are headed, how you are encouraging opportunity by developing your craft. Share your momentum!
That is a better way to not only up your chances at booking, but to also add favorable focus in your agent’s mind.
Never forget: You are the talent and the power that amplifies opportunity and draws work to you. Work that, share that, grow that and agents will welcome your occasional phone call with a smile.
…what is the policy on submitting demos directly to companies. I.e. if I wanted to submit my voice demo along with resume and my agent’s contact information directly to a video game company. Is that okay? Also, is there any point or are the gaming companies going to go through casting agencies anyway.
If you can get your demo to a decision maker who has the time and interest- great! It might work. But a demo is a generic intro to your talents and it may be easier for them to go through an agency (your agent should be able to submit or talk you up as well).
Top gaming companies often go through agents as it saves them time and it’s easier to coordinate auditioning if the agency serves as both a talent filter and collector of the specific auditions.
[…]if you’re just updating your agent with what you’ve done since you’ve last spoken with each other (which classes you’ve taken, if you’ve self-submitted for anything at all, etc.), then how often is too often? Once a week is probably too much, but would monthly be too long?
I can’t imagine an agent wanting or needing to be bothered with weekly updates. I’d update monthly, but only if there’s significant news.
I just signed on with my first agent, and I’ve heard having a list of ideas or projects you’d like to be involved in or where you’d like to see your career go is good. I’d love to share that with my agent, but how do I do it without coming on too strong or sounding like I’m making demands? Because they are very busy with other talent, of course.
It’s fine to express interest in certain shows or networks, but I’d assume your agents are sending you all that is coming their way that seems right for you. If you’re not seeing the kinds of projects you feel right for, you can mention it. E.g., “I’d love to read for some Blizzard-type games, those feel right for me with all my stage training and plus I love gaming,” or “With all my comedy experience, I’d love some more comedic auditions, if you notice any,” or, “I’ve seen a lot of “super hero” reads but how about a villain? I think I could deliver on that as well.” Etcetera…
Remember that agents are always hearing from actors who want something. Don’t be impatient, but don’t be afraid to express where you’re coming from.
You can also update them as to what you’re doing to improve your demo/website/improv or VO skills, etc. You’d be showing that you’re not only good, but you’re getting better and being smart and dedicated about it- not just waiting for others to bring opportunity your way, as many actors on their roster may do. You move your career and capacity forward whether your agent is sending you auditions this week or not.
Ultimately, an agent just wants a client who is good and who books and isn’t passive or insecure.