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If you ask actors what drew them to the field of acting, you can bet your bottom dollar they won’t answer, “Oh, it was definitely the business side of acting.” Rather, you’re most likely to hear that it was the artistic aspect of acting that ignited their passion–and the business end is often the most challenging part in their career journey. Well, thespians who have business-end questions are in luck because an unnamed, former Hollywood agent has extended his or her help to aspiring actors recently on The agent has asked actors to, “Ask me anything.” And not only are individuals taking him or her up on the offer, but this agent is giving plenty of practical advice that’s well worth the read.

Here are some of the topics that have been discussed thus far on Reddit:

When asked for the best headshot advice, the former agent wrote:

“Headshots are tricky. We are looking for something that pops out. I know that isn’t the best answer but its the only one I can give. There is no right answer. If you are wearing too much make-up it is a turn off as we don’t know what your natural face looks like. The background shouldn’t make you blend into it or over shadow you. Profile pics are usually not good as we are looking to see your face. Your face should be unobstructed and the best advice I can give you is don’t get super creative on the pose. Go with what has worked. When we submit your headshot to a casting agent, they get a very little thumbnail of your image and thousands of others. The people who get called in for the auditions are the ones who had headshots that made them stand out from the rest. A good headshot makes you “pop” not blend. If you have headshots, send me a pic and I’ll let you know. Also, the best headshots are not always the most expensive. We used to send people to this photographer that only changed $75 bucks. Soon after getting them, they always booked. She was amazing at getting the best “look.” The other thing is that when you take a headshot, know what your type cast is. The object is to get your foot in the door and get work, so dress and look the part you would most likely get cast for. If a casting agent can see you as that character, then they will cast you as such.”

When talking about actor types, he or she asserted: 

“I think anyone can be an actor. Every type is always needed in the entertainment industry. Some type may get more work than other but that doesn’t mean that looks will keep you from making a lucrative career. When I’m looking through headshots, the first thing I notice is looks but not “beauty”. I’m looking to see if you look different from everyone else. What makes you stand out. Whatever that feature is, that is what should be featured in your headshot and that is what will make agents and casting directors take notice. I had one client that booked many many roles simply because she wasn’t classically pretty.”

When discussing ways to grow an acting career through experience, the former agent said:

“If you have SAG-AFTRA eligibility, you are golden. With that even if you only have a few credits, we can start to submit you for higher paying but smaller roles to build your credits. If you are not don’t have eligibility, then you need to have at least enough information to fill up the majority of the back of your headshot. Meaning enough credits, classes, and talents to fill in that information. We could get an amazing headshot but turn it over and the back is blank, then we don’t see any dollars signs if you couldn’t even get a web series. And your demo reel better be filled with actual footage of you acting not just of you filming yourself in a scene. That does nothing for us, and casting agents don’t like it because often times it isn’t well filmed. So there really isn’t a right answer as to when to get an agent but for me, i didn’t sign clients unless they had good headshots, a decent resume, and actual footage.”

When asked about the best time in an actor’s journey to reach out for an agent as well as the best way to do so, the former agent responded:

“Having a great reel is not enough. Agents have to submit you to casting agents and most of them do not want reel footage. Having a co-star/under 5 credit would open more doors for you and get you in the door to see a smaller agent. I liked meeting people at workshops. 1. It game me the chance to meet people in person. 2. I got the chance to see your face and movements in person. 3. It gave me the chance to check to see if you would present any “problems” in the future. The biggest thing that will get you banned in Hollywood the fastest is having an attitude. Hollywood is a very small place. If you have been here you will find that you meet people from other shoots, workshops, etc all the time. It is the same for agents, most of us have done business together. So having an attitude will get you to a place where no one wants to work with you. Headshots get thrown in the trash more often then not unless it is just amazing. I used to get hundreds every week. I would suggest go to casting workshops, join reputable acting school and get in their showcase, and when you do meet an agent you want to represent you, be very humble cause you are a dime a dozen. If we don’t like you, we won’t represent you. We are after people who will make us money, troublemakers don’t make money, they get kicked off sets and give our agency a bad reputation. My number 1 bit of advice is be nice to everyone!!! I once booked a client for a music video for a major pop star but on a different set she was rude to the girl she felt was just “make-up.” The girl turned out to to be the cousin of the pop star. Guess who got fired. You never know who is related to who. Send me a message if you want more advice.”

So, how about you? Do you have specific questions you’d like to ask about your particular career path? Perhaps you wonder about more general aspects of the business? Either way, here’s your chance to ask away! Here’s a link to the Advice from a former Hollywood agent, ask me anything web page.

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