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We’re over six months in, and there’s no sign this is going to be over any time soon. You could shut down and wait. I get that. No judgment. But for those that want to be proactive and think they have a safe approach to things, what can you do? Getting an agent has NEVER been easy. Getting a good agent, even harder. During a pandemic? This is going to require some careful planning.

I think the first thing is to show you are safe and smart. No agent wants a new client who is going to break rules and put others at risk. You want to demonstrate this in your quest for representation.

Reach out and keep track of any positive responses. If an agent accepts your Facebook friend request, make a note and focus your energies regarding that agent on Facebook. Like, share and comment. Don’t force it and don’t rush it. Take your time. And don’t make the rookie mistake of asking for a meeting too early. Get to know people. You are creating relationships and those take time. I expect actors to want something from me. Surprise me.

Be prepared to follow up with any industry members that reach out to you. Have your materials updated. Hopefully, you’ve been training this year. Many schools are teaching virtually. The great agents like to know that you are training, and that you are keeping your materials up to date. If you’ve been using social media, perhaps you’ve added a few industry members to your friends list. I know some actors think this is hard, but it is not. There are industry members who teach, write books and offer career consults. Join their pages. You don’t have to buy anything. Just reach out on all social media and establish a connection.

Target! You don’t want to spend time and money going after 500 representatives. Do a ton of research and generate a list of realistic and solid agents. Agents without working clients are of no use to you unless your plan is also not to work. If you want a good agent, you need someone with at least some entry-level clients, because this means that they have some relationships with casting directors. Ask them who their best relationships are among casting directors. If their answer is evasive, that tells you a lot.

Ask the tough questions, even if you are asking them over the phone, in an email, or via Zoom. Remember—you have the power. You are the one that will make them a lot of money. Don’t give up that power by taking a meeting where you just let them grill you and you have nothing to ask them. If you have nothing to ask a prospective agent, you don’t belong in that meeting. How many clients do they have? How many of those clients make a living from acting? How often do you expect to meet with a client?

Humor always works, especially now. Everybody needs a good laugh, right? So, if you can find a tasteful way to infuse your submission with a little humor, then do it. Emphasis on tasteful. Stay away from politics, religion and sex.

Be as attractive as possible, and what I mean is that actors need to look like working with them will be easy. Do you present yourself in meetings professionally? Do you dress appropriately for auditions and meetings? Are you training every month? Agents don’t want clients that look like they’re going to be a handful. Nobody needs that drama. Right down to a professional-looking cover letter and thank-you note. Avoid the process of elimination because a good agent will have a lot of choices, and you want to be one of them.

Now that you’ve sent your materials out to your target list, what then? Be patient. Obviously, jump on any potential meetings or requests to see your materials. Agents are less busy now, too. Many actors opted out of town and less are moving here right now, so just be patient. Give it few months. If you don’t hear from anyone, try reaching out to the same people via different means. If you did a hard copy mailing the first time, try postcards or an email newsletter the second time.

It will never be easy to get a great agent. Why not start trying today?

Written by Mark Sikes

Mark Sikes began his casting career in 1992 for Academy Award-winning filmmaker Roger Corman. In the past 25 years, he has cast over 100 films as well as television series, commercials and web series. He has cast projects for Tobe Hooper and Luke Greenfield and many others. In the past few years Mark has also produced four feature films.

Based in Los Angeles, Mark has cast films for many markets including the United Kingdom, Peru, the Philippines and Russia. Domestically, he has cast films that shot all over the country in Texas, Ohio, Massachusetts, Virginia and multiple projects in Colorado.

He currently teaches three weekly on-camera, audition technique classes in West Los Angeles.  Follow Mark on Twitter @castnguy.