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Agent Tips to Maximize Commercial Auditions

May 21, 2012

“The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little.” – Thomas Merton

The moon waxes and wanes, the tides ebb and flow, and casting calls likewise follow cyclical patterns. Sometimes you’re basking in the glory of auditions lush with fruitful acting opportunities; other times you’re a parched stranded traveler on an isolated dessert road waiting for someone–anyone–to drive by. How could this happen, you ask yourself … when you have an agent?!

Don’t assume your agent is giving you the cold shoulder. Agents can only call you in if jobs are on the board. Commercial executives, producers, directors, and advertising agents like their vacation time just as much as the next guy. Expect spring and winter breaks, as well as the entire summer, to be slow to middling. Likewise, expect an influx of jobs to come in a month before these breaks, as well as before popular commercial events like the Super Bowl or major holidays.

But regardless of how many job opportunities are flowing in, it’s always a good idea to make your presence known to your agent. Make a practice of checking in. Go into such meetings with an understanding that he or she believes in your potential and is invested in your success. There’s always a chance your agent needs to get to know you better so he or she can best represent you–to get you auditions that match your personality, your look, your skills, your essence. By checking in, agents will also learn more about your drive to succeed. When you meet, don’t emphasize how slow the auditions are, your new job, the class you’re enrolled in, or any work you’ve been doing as an extra. They likely hear from actors all day long about such matters, and this is not what will make you shine in their eyes. First off, they want to hear enthusiasm in you voice and they want to see the belief you have in yourself. Communicate how you’re being proactive: emphasize any new notable relationships you’ve fostered in the field, work you’ve done with recognizable actors, casting directors you’ve seen, and share any roles you’ve played in independents especially those to be submitted in film festivals…as long as it’s all true. And if you don’t have any news to relate, go out and make news! Don’t get caught in the mistake of waiting on your agent; an agent will do the best he or she can, but at the end of the day, it’s your career, and no one will care about it like you. Find roles through friends, classes, workshops, industry seminars, and public submissions boards.

At the same time, life is about stages, and if you don’t have any real news to share, just bring your positive energy, your special personality, and chat about what’s good in your life: a great hike you just traversed, a terrific movie you’ve seen, a new skill you’re acquiring. Keep it brief, but keep it upbeat. The idea is to remind them of your presence and your flavor without pressuring or nagging. Hey, your success is their success. You can make their job easier by reaching out to them. Many actors have found that by simply keeping in contact with their agents, their commercial auditions increase. We hope yours do as well!