Updated May 2023
5 Tips to creating and maintaining a great working relationship with your agent
Do you blame your agent when your career is not going to plan?
I believe that’s what most actors immediately rush to.
But maybe there are other things at play here like: your marketing tools, your marketing efforts, or your networking skills or possibly even your communication skills.
We cover all of these things (how to network, how to best communicate with Decision Makers and how to market your skills) in our Audition Masterclass Series.
Here are five crucial steps to creating and maintaining a successful relationship with your agent.
- Before you actually get the audition or get the job – Communicate! In other words start communicating with your agent before the call comes.Make sure you’re on the same page as your agent when it comes to things such as your specific type, your range and your goals.
Possibly the most important thing to show them though is your brand. To be able to do that, you have to know your brand and know how to show your brand to your agent.
No point in having your agent send you for roles you are not going to get.If that happens, there is a real gap in your communication somewhere. And it’s up to you to rectify the issue!
The more you and your agent are on the same page the more you will not only get auditions but you are far more likely to get the gig!
And if you decide that you are not wanting to pursue your career in musical theatre or commercials any more say, and you’d prefer to concentrate on prime time television and feature films, then you need to communicate and come up with a strategy that you and your agent can work on to get you there.
This is up to you. You need to work as a team to be sure your agent can help you get there.
You will need new headshots (though are headshots losing their relevancy since the advent of the digital age??), self tapes (not self tests), costume and make sure you do your research as to what characters you want to play. This is not up to your agent but up to you! Remember you are the product!
- Follow up on every (major and not so major) audition. Find out what the CD and Decision Makers think of you—get feedback from the Casting Director. Always go that extra mile. This is up to you to do not your agent. You need to develop the connection with CDs. Resolve any problems or doubts about your work. Do this for the first few months if you’ve just signed with an agent until your working relationship is solid.
- Have a clear understanding of the expectations. What do you expect of your agent? What do they expect from you? Again it’s about being on the same page as each other.Do you expect to be able to speak to your agent on the phone daily? Weekly? Never? Ascertain these questions and expectations at an early time in your relationship so that you know exactly what is relevant in your relationship and what is not.
Don’t’ forget your relationship with your agent is one of the most important relationships of your career.
Apart from booking auditions, what other supportive information and resources can you expect from your agent? Do you expect them to do more than submit you, like recommend a photographer, a videographer, a stylist, or publicist? Advise you on audition material or what to wear to an interview? Do you expect them to set up general meetings with industry people? How will this relationship define itself? These are all important aspects to be clear on when starting a new relationship with your agent.
- Show gratitude weekly. Don’t forget, until your first payment comes through from your first acting gig, your agent is working for nothing! So let them know how much you appreciate them with an occasional card, gift of food the whole office can share, or even a theatre ticket, flowers, etc. A little gesture goes a long way.
- Constantly update. I’ve mentioned earlier how important self tapes are to the relationship between you and your agent. Constantly involve your agent as to the characters you both think you can play. Build your library on your various character types, making sure your agent is well aware of how hard you are working to help them get you the gig.
Headshots are still relevant today (though do they have a use by date??) and agents still love them, so if your agent insists on getting a headshot then check which phogtographer they recommend.
Résumés, and demo reels need to be constantly updated. Again don’t wait for your agent to ask you. Show them that you are pro active. Show them that you are a team – both working towards the same goal. Be sure you often go in to see them regularly – face to face. Relationships are not just to be forged via email, zoom and phone! The more you are in the consciousness of someone, the more they will remember you when talking to other industry colleagues.
Don’t forget both agents and Casting Directors really want you to succeed.
Consideration, kindness, and excellent communication will guarantee not only a lasting relationship, but a special one where you both achieve your goals—work, income, great roles for you, and fabulously exciting careers!