- Jo Kelly
How To Find An Agent In L.A. (Even If You Don’t Live There)
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I was recently asked by an actor living in Spain for tips on how to find an agent in Los Angeles. This is definitely a hot topic in my Instinctive Actors' Society. I often see questions about finding an agent from actors in lots of different cities around the globe, either wanting to move to L.A. or already planning to make the change, trying to get the lay of the (la la) land. ;)
Do I send them my material? Can I call them? Who do I even call? Should I look for a big name agent, or a small one?
Is a manager the first step instead?
First, kudos to you for wanting to be prepared and doing your due diligence! L.A. feels a little like the Olympics of acting, so it’s understandable to want all your ducks in a row before you dive into the industry here.
So I hosted a LIVE training session and Q&A to share my tips for how to approach making the leap into the Los Angeles market and finding representation that’s right for you and your career. The video is normally just for members of my private online community, The Instinctive Actors' Society, but today, I’m giving you access to it.
Here are a few highlights we covered:
If you’re not in the U.S., your first step is to get your papers in order - your visa, green card, work permit, etc. L.A. is a very professional atmosphere, so no serious agent or manager will sign you without your paperwork complete, no matter how exceptional an actor you are. And the cost of hiring you on a project without those papers, and risking closing down a production that potentially 200+ people are relying on, is too high.
To make sure you’ve crossed all your T’s and dotted all your I’s, you should meet with a lawyer, either in your current city, or by visiting L.A. and meeting with one here. Now, a lot of lawyers say they can get you the papers, but not all lawyers will get you the papers, so make sure to seek out a good referral. (P.S. You can reach out to me or other actors for recommendations in the Instinctive Actors' Society. Join the community now here.)
Be a local hire. This may be a bitter pill to swallow, but if you want to work in L.A., you need to be in L.A. The abundance of actors already in the city ready to jump into a role makes it difficult to snag a part from across the pond. Casting directors want to know and trust that you have an address here and can audition and show up to film in-person, without them having to pay to fly you in and put you up somewhere to stay.
When it comes to your acting, it’s super important to get your instrument ready. If L.A. is the Olympics of acting, you need to be a world class performer to compete and handle the high pressure of big opportunities - ones that will ask you to cry on cue, be ready in just two hours, etc. Are you able to be present and rely on your instrument to open up to extreme emotions even with lots of obstacles in your path?
We talked about honing your instrument last week, as well as creating headshots and a reel that represents you authentically, so you can click here to get a refresher.
Make a list of actors who are getting cast in the type of roles you feel you’d be a good fit for, and include a few that are a half step above where you’re at now. We want to continue to reach forward. Take a look at their team. This will give you a target list of representatives that are working at the level you’re at and where you want to be.
Ask for referrals. Every agent has a stack on a desk in their office of unsolicited submissions, and they rarely, if ever, have time to go through them, so a referral is your best bet. The first place to start is asking your current, local agent, then your previous industry contacts - fellow actors, directors, producers, distributors, and commercial agencies. The goal is to scan your network and see if you have any connections to get you in the door to the agencies on your list OR a similar agency.
Last but not least, start sending your materials to your target list of agents. If your referral source doesn’t offer a way for you to send your info in, call and find out from the receptionist the best way to submit (drop off, email, snail mail, fax, etc.). Send the materials including your referral source (and be sure to get their OK), and then FOLLOW UP after a few days proposing, not asking, for a meeting.
Now, enjoy the video training!
So now that you have your action plan, what other questions do you have about finding representation in L.A.? Are you getting ready to make the move? Let me know in the comments below.
And join me every week for free LIVE training session and Q&As JUST LIKE THIS ONE. Simply click the link below to get access to the private online community!
Now you'll never miss another session, and have access to all our previous training videos. PLUS, it's the #1 place to ask me acting questions and connect with other artists.
Until next time!
Whenever you’re ready, here are TWO ways I can help you:
1. Join my free Facebook Group, THE INSTINCTIVE ACTORS’ SOCIETY, exclusively for actors who are ready to go from good to great and become undeniable.
REQUEST TO JOIN: facebook.com/groups/instinctiveactorssociety
2. Get on the waitlist for my course, The Reset Journey From Resistance to Freedom, and stop struggling to access your natural, authentic talent in the audition room or on set. You’ll learn how to reset your instrument to be 100% instinctive and free in just 33 days.
GET ON WAITLIST: tobeornottoact.com/waitlist