If your child is hungry for a life in show business, getting representation is the next step to a budding career. But how does one obtain representation? It seems like a daunting task in an incredibly competitive industry. Luckily, there are many ways in which a child can gain industry attention to secure a rep.
In a production. It is always best to be seen in action. Agents and managers generally frequent theatrical productions, as they are always on the hunt for new talent. If your child is serious about acting professionally, make sure he is involved in school plays, community theater, and even regional theater. Reps are always looking for a child who has potential.
Industry showcases. Industry showcases are the perfect opportunity for young performers to gain industry attention. This is an event in which agents, managers, and casting directors watch actors perform exclusively for them. Actors perform scenes, monologues, songs, and even read commercial copy. If a rep responds to the actor, they will arrange a meeting and possibly sign on a new client. Even if your child doesn’t sign with an agent or manager, they might keep their name on file to be seen again in the future.
Workshops and classes. Many acting workshops and classes will culminate with an informal performance for an agent or manager. These are generally for educational purpose where your child will practice in audition-like settings. However, if an agent or manager sees promise in a performer, they might ask for their name to set up an interview.
Old-fashioned mailings. Years ago agents and managers primarily gained clients through headshots and résumés mailed to them by hopeful performers. Make sure you have a great photo that looks like your child and a résumé detailing your child’s experience and training. Get a list of agents and managers who work with young performers through CallSheet and send a hard copy to them with a short cover letter. If you live outside of the big industry cities, call your local SAG-AFTRA office to get the names of reputable agents and managers.
Referrals. Perhaps you have a friend who is signed with an agency or management company. Ask them for a referral. This can get your name in the door faster than mailing lists (because they can ask questions and gain a sense of who you are from a person they’ve already trusted to sign as a client).
Your coaches. Your acting or voice teacher can also refer you to a rep, as they have the contacts and a trusted relationship with many of them. I never pass up an opportunity to send one of my promising young students to one of my colleagues if I believe they are ready to work. Since the young actor has been vetted by me, the rep is more apt to respond. I have introduced many of my students to both agents and managers and they have continued on to have incredibly successful careers.
There are so many ways for your child to be seen by industry professionals. What is most important during this time is to stay involved in theater and performance opportunities while continuing with ongoing training. Passion is at the heart of any career, and it’s important to keep your child’s love of performance at the center of your journey.