How To Get An Acting Agent Meeting Through A Cold Email
I currently have nine reps (LA Theatrical & Commercial, managers, and six reps in local markets.) By pitching myself via email, I secured meetings or direct offers for representation from all of these reps. (Full disclosure: I did meet one in person, but I had emailed before and after meeting in person!). I know how to write a strong email pitch. So, what are the magic ingredients?
I will happily break it down for you. There is nothing we love more at Career ACTivate than helping actors take control of their own acting careers within the entertainment industry. I’m going to share with you my biggest tips that I teach my clients to make a standout email pitch to reps.
Agents and managers are always looking for actors with talent. If you can effectively communicate with a good agent, you will increase the possibility of being signed by an acting agency. As far as we are concerned, the next talent agent will love you once you learn how to cold email an agent!
There are auditions for acting jobs waiting for you!
*For the sake of readability, I’m going to use the word “agents,” but this can apply to managers as well*
1. HOOK ‘EM BY DOING YOUR RESEARCH
Know who you are writing the email to.
It may sound simple, but most people forget this incredibly important step and send a mass email to many agents that is virtually the same, and then they wonder why no one responds. Agents, like all human beings, want to be desired. They need to know that you want to work with them individually and that you don’t just want any ‘ol agent!
But how do I know anything about them you ask?
- Find them on social media – learn what they like and dislike – what do you have in common as human beings.
- On the business side, learn about them and their clients on IMDBpro, their company website & social media.
Now, after researching them, what makes you want to work with this agent – this person specifically? Make the beginning of your e-mail, “your hook” about THEM. Maybe you are excited to work with them because you see all of their clients have booked comedy shows. Tell them you are passionate about comedy as well.
Maybe you see from their twitter account that they are obsessed with Modern Family, which is your favorite show. Perhaps you learn that they are from your hometown or went to the same college as your mom. Whatever it is, use your commonalities and try to form a relationship. Always try to connect to them on a human level.
You want to make your reader feel a special connection to you from reading your opening paragraph. Connecting with them on a deeper level can make them want to get to know you (hence, they may call you in for a meeting). They may even decide they want to represent you because they find you interesting.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
2. GIVE YOURSELF CREDIBILITY
No matter where you’re coming from in your career thus far, we must give ourselves credibility and lead with that when talking about our work in the industry. For someone just starting out, it may merely be your excellent training with notable studios and a quote or two from those acting teachers praising your work (yes, you can ask for these!).
For someone who has booked legitimate TV or film credits, let them know what you booked and include the significant details about your acting resume and any roles you have had in the past. If you have taken any acting classes or went to drama school, include it in the email!
Leave out the info that makes it less appealing.
Check out these two examples –
“Booked a recurring co-star on ABC.”
“Booked a RECURRING role on How To Get Away With Murder on ABC, with scenes opposite Viola Davis and Tom Verica.”
***See how I left out that it was a co-star. Instead, included more details that show you can handle working with starring actors. Make it sound exciting!
“Booked a short student film.”
“Booked a lead in a thesis film at AFI, which went onto win X festivals”
***See how I left out that it was a short film. A film is a film, so add more information to make it more credible.
Sometimes credibility can come in the form of a reference too. Don’t bury a reference at the bottom of an email! Credibility can come in the kind of feedback you’ve received from casting in an audition or workshop or the fact that a casting director has called you in multiple times within the year. Get creative. Think about all the reasons why an agent would want to work with you and what information you have to show that other professionals in the industry have already vetted you.
3. ASK THE QUESTIONS YOU WANT TO BE ANSWERED
What do you want from the agent? A meeting? An audition? Then ask for what you want and make it in the form of a question with a question mark at the end. Do not infer your question. Emails are statistically proven to be answered more frequently when an actual question is asked. Don’t waste time! Get right to it and ask your questions.
Often times, casting directors and acting agencies, in general, respect actors who do not sugar coat things. Be straightforward!
Ex. Are you available within the next two weeks to sit down and discuss potentially working together?
4. DESCRIBE YOUR TYPE
Make sure you clearly articulate what types of roles you are often cast in or would be going out for. It’s usually helpful to compare yourself to another actor to give some context. Consider including a short list of the current TV shows you know you are a fit for.
Ex. People often say I remind them of a young Tina Fey, but I have the heart of Rachel McAdams.Want to learn some tips to hone in on your money-making brand? Then I HIGHLY recommend you grab some free tips & tricks from Jona Xiao HERE. She went from making no money in acting for many years to now being a successful working actor with 45+ TV/film credits (THE FLASH, SWAT & more) so you’ll learn a lot from her.
5. INCLUDE YOUR MATERIALS
I recommend including:
- A link to your Actor’s Access (for theatrical) or LA Casting/Casting Frontier (for commercial)
- Your reel. If you don’t have a reel, at least include 1-2 strong recent self-tapes
- 1 headshot. More than one can be overwhelming & more headshots can be seen on your link.
- Perhaps include a link to your website if it’s really great and currently up to date.
***PRO TIP: Include one “WOW” marketing material. Some ideas –
- A list of industry feedback that you’ve gotten (quotes from industry professionals/reviews)
- A One Sheet (my friends at Jive Duck design some great ones, but you can also make your own: http://jiveduckstudios.com/gallery/marketing-gallery/)
- A short list of your strong casting director or producer/showrunner/writer connections (I wouldn’t give a full list here as that’s usually something to save for the meeting).
6. SPRINKLE PERSONALITY THROUGHOUT
Be genuine and let your personality shine throughout your email. The hook of your email is now making it personal about the receiver, which is great, but we don’t want to lose sight of who you are throughout this email, so sprinkle your personality throughout. You want to give the talent agency the best possible representation of yourself! Are you a jokester? Include a joke. Is there a cool fun fact about you that really says a lot about your personality? Include it. This will make the email more interesting and possibly your reader and you will find common ground.
Ex.- One of my clients wrote in her training section of her email, “B.A. University of Miami (GO CANES!)” Well, it turned out, someone she wrote to had a family member that went to Miami and they commented on her “go canes” shout-out. You never know how you will connect.
7. PERMISSION TO FOLLOW UP & CLOSING
In your email, give yourself permission to follow up and let them know when and how you plan to do it. Then close the email on a positive note with gratitude and/or warm wishes to their acting agency.
Ex. I’m sure you’re very busy so I will follow up via email in X days if I don’t hear back from you. Thanks for your time and consideration. Have a great week!
A final pro tip – look at the way this article is formatted. Hopefully, it was pretty easy for you to read as we sectioned it out, used numbers, bullets, and bolded and italicized phrases to make it more readable. You can do the same with your email pitches. Emails that are just solid blocks of text are often difficult to decipher. Agents are busy people – make it easy for them to read.
Now spend some time doing your research and writing these personal emails to agents! And make sure to follow up, follow up, follow up. One of our coaching clients stayed in touch with a rep over the course of a year, reaching out 19+ times in order to set up a meeting and sign with their target agent. Just because someone doesn’t respond to your first email, does not mean they are not interested – we truly don’t know what it means so keep on following up until you do! If you get no response after about 3 times reaching out, take a break and touch base again in about 3 months with new wins. You got this!