Fabulous First Impressions at Your First Agent Meeting

January 7, 2013

You’ve been putting yourself out there for a while hoping to get an agent. And suddenly an agent indeed calls you in for a meeting. Before you start celebrating, it’s time to get down to the business of preparing. Yes, figure out what you’re going to wear and how to do your hair; but more importantly, be ready to answer questions such as “Lots of actors walk through these doors. Tell me, why should I represent you?” Even the coolest and smoothest speakers can get thrown off by such open-ended questions when juggling the desire to make a good impression, filtering their life story into a simplified response, maintaining an easy rapport, and displaying a unique quality. Not as easy as it seems! Agents need to get to know you in a short, limited time to figure how you may fit into their agency, and then get back to the work of finding jobs for their clients. Be smart and show your appreciation by coming prepared.

The Demeanor Advantage

First of all, some experts maintain your body language accounts for over 90% of what you communicate in a job interview, meaning your overall demeanor is arguably more important than your verbal response. So you want to get into a favorable, confident frame of mind. There are many techniques people use to go about doing this from yoga to deep breathing to positive affirmations. If it works, do it. But remember some of the scientifically proven techniques based on recent brain research to get into that confident, authentic zone. Three examples include taking two minutes to pose in power postures, including the classic Wonder Woman-legs-apart-fists-on-waist position. Read here for this quick, easy technique. Or embody a calm, happy manner by simply focussing on the present, and avoiding any distracting thoughts (whether positive or negative) that compete with your focus. Or tap into your inner happiness by using exercise, gratitude journals, and performing random acts of kindness–all of which optimize genuine positive human interaction. The mechanics of sending positive messages through body language involve sitting up straight (as opposed to hunching), leaning forward to show you’re engaged, keeping hands relaxed and away from your face, as well as breathing before you answer a question. A strange tip for maintaining eye contact is to choose one of the interviewer’s eyebrows and look at it; this creates a sense of listening intently without seeming too intense. Read here for more tips on body language at interviews. 

Articulating Verbal Responses

To begin with, verbal responses to the agent’s interview questions should illustrate a short-hand version of your history as an actor, where your career stands as of today, as well as your career goals. Imagine questions you will be asked, and practice ways to answer each one using clear, concise wording. If you want acting to be your profession, you need to make sure you speak professionally. Adding some humor is a plus to keep things feeling down to earth; using words from the Most Annoying Word List of 2012 such as “whatever,” “just sayin’,” and the classic “like” rate as cringeworthy. Emphasize your creative problem solving and ways you’ve grown stronger when addressing any drawbacks you’ve encountered along your Thespian journey. And make certain to prioritize your storytelling with illustrations of what makes you a shiny, remarkable, and unique candidate for their agency.

When practicing at home, make sure your answers last less than a minute but no less than 30 seconds using a calm manner. But don’t get too rote; being responsive to the agent is important. First impressions can make or break an acting career, so use this time to prepare. It can mean the difference between having a meeting with an agent, and actually having an agent.