Every actor asks themselves this question at some point in their career, and today we will answer it for you as simply as possible. There are three variables that you have to consider.
Firstly, where do you reside? If you live in a large city with a very competitive industry, then it would be ideal to get represented. However, if you live in a small city, representation may not be needed. In some places, there aren’t even agencies because there is no need for it.
The second variable is the amount of time you have at hand to look for your own gigs and market yourself. It would cost very little to do everything yourself, but it would take quite a bit of time to be keeping tabs on casting calls, reaching out to people of interest, and trying to warm up a cold prospect. On the other hand, an agency will have the resources and manpower to market and pitch you to clients, with the trade-off of taking a percentage of your fee from the jobs they help you get. Whether you pick the fore or the latter depends entirely on the amount of time and energy you have.
The third thing you have to consider is the caliber of work you are hoping to get. It is not impossible to find great work when you go at it yourself, but the chances are slimmer than if you are with an agency. Agencies have a reputation and industry connections that they have spent time and money working on and maintaining for years. Therefore, casting needs for larger productions usually get funneled to agencies simply because as a body, they already have a track record of producing a certain standard of work and have more at stake to uphold it.
We interviewed two actors in LA for our Krispy Talk series and asked them if they had agents. One of them had two, on each coast of the States, while the other had three in the States and none in Singapore.
So do you need an acting agent? The answer varies from person to person, depending on resources and career goals.
Having At It On Your Own
If you’ve decided it best to have at it on your own, here are some tips you can keep in mind.
Join local casting groups on Facebook
There are plenty of casting call groups on Facebook that are either focused on a country or a region. Join those groups and get to know admins and active industry professionals that are in the group.
Follow local film and performing arts schools
If you’re trying to build up your resumé, local film and performing arts schools are treasure troves for potential work. Get to know their general schedules and be on the lookout for casting calls for students in their final year
Befriend local directors, producers, casting directors, and playwrights
It is very important for us artists to support one another. So it will be very beneficial for you to get to know the industry professionals in your locality. Put in a good word for someone when you get the chance and I am sure they will return the favor.
Stay updated with your local theatre companies
Local theatre companies are definitely a must-follow for creative opportunities. For example, we have our Village showcases every other month.
We call for submissions, pick a select few of the lot, and reach out to actors to showcase the selected pieces. One Village showcase gives opportunities to playwrights, actors, and occasionally directors. And due to the pandemic, we’re holding our showcases online, which opens up the collaborative opportunity to everyone around the world. Likewise for audience exposure.
Start Looking For Representation
If you’ve decided to start looking for representation, leave no stone unturned and make sure you research the agents in your locality. Just like any relationship, it is important for your agent to be a good fit for you and the goals you have for yourself. Do they represent other actors that are the same type as you? How do they carry out their marketing efforts? Determine which contract type works better for you and your career goals.
Set yourself up for success. It helps to get training from a reputable institution, or a referral from a well-known casting director. If with neither, you may increase your chances of landing your dream agent by preparing your professional headshots, resumé, cover letter, and monologues.
We have group and private classes available for actors who wish to start their studies in other acting methods or who wish to get one-on-one training to prepare for auditions and the like. If you’re new to acting, we also have a beginner’s class.