“How do I get a Talent Agent in Central Florida?”
This article explains how to get yourself into a solid position to sign with a Central Florida agent.
It is inspired by my Q and A session with some of the High School Drama Students at Timber Creek high in Orlando, FL. I’d like to say “Thank you” to The Drama Dept. for inviting me in to share a few things I’ve learned on my journey as an Actor.
I also wrote this for my theatre friends, who’ve have asked me this question. So here it is, in hopes it helps more than just the people I know directly:
7 Things you need to do to get an agent in Central florida.
1) SAG FRANCHISED AGENT?
Identify your target and go for it!
First of all, you want to know what agents to submit to. So do some research. type in Florida SAG Franchised agents into google and have at it! or just use my link…
in the most basic terms SAG Franchised means recognized by SAG as a legit agency for representation.
Two well known, highly reputable agencies in this Market include the Hurt Agency and Brevard Talent Group. In Tampa you will find Level Talent Group has a solid reputation. The Diamond Agency is vastly popular for print work. You may find out others qualify for your needs as well.
With that said, SAG implies a level of professionalism and experience that must be discussed and acquired.
Quick tip: If you know an actor in the agency, reach out to a current actor/talent in your field/focus for feedback on the agency experience. More on this later…
Now to build your Agent Kit…
2) RESUME: BEEF IT UP
If you’re starting out and your RESUME does not have enough credits to stand the test, then get set to build it up.
“how do I know my resume is ready?”
Well, you not only want to have your theatre/live performance credits on there but you’ll also need to get some film work on your resume.
3) GET FILM WORK
Film work experience shows your potential agent, a foundation, clear evidence you have practical knowledge on auditions and on set etiquette.
“But Where Can i get Film work?”
You can go to greenroomorlando.com to look for constant updates on other production opportunities.
right now I know dajavufilms is casting their next film. Look for independent productions like these. Some won’t pay but will give reel footage and EXPERIENCE
“No shame in starting with Student Films!”
Valencia, UCF and Full Sail University offer plenty of opportunities for you to get work on set. FSU sometimes comes through here as well.
Check in with them periodically to see how/when to audition.
Orlando 48hr film festival, an annual film festival allows you to make a film in 48hrs and it gets screened. You’d be amazed how many professionals love to do this and build their networks!
get on set. Learn the lingo, the process and most of all NETWORK!
by network i mean, mingle. Meet people, build a contact list, ask good questions, like where do you study? how long have you been doing this? etc.
When you go audition for these student/independent films you get to practice the whole casting process.
Having your headshot and resume handy will allow you to present yourself prepared and ready to leave a professional impression.
4) GOT HEADSHOTS?
Some people like to try to save money by getting amateur headshots and that’s a choice, but with a higher probability of amateur results.
If you know a novice or professional photographer that will take/retouch your pics and save you money great! But be pleasantly critical. This is “YOU” on paper! It will either grab the agent or have her toss it aside.
So get professional headshots to send out to agencies! You’re a professional right? No? You will be if you build your agent kit like one.
Many agents take email submissions, but get prepared to send out via regular mail.
Here are some great photographers I know of/worked with:
Each has something great to offer. you will have to see which fits you best.
If you decide to send out headshots via regular mail I suggest you use Envelope for headshots which have a “window” on the front sleeve. Dimensions vary.
5) EDUCATION and TRAINING
Sanford Meinser a renowned acting couch teacher said (and I paraphrase)” it takes at least 20 yrs to become an actor,”… so get started already!
Get re-educated. Do workshops/seminars.
START STUDYING AND DON’T PLAN ON STOPPING
Every master was a student first and every student invests time and money if they want to master their craft.
Acting Schools in Orlando:
from Art Sake I went to the studio I currently study in: Class Act Studios with Lauren O’ Quinn.
For spokesperson/host work you can look to Class Act Studios, Mark Mullen Casting and Lisa Maile for potential classes.
Lauren O’ Quinn offers coaching for both spokes and hosting as well as ACTING
you may also find classes at Orlando Shakespeare Theatre
Definitely put Lori Wyman, South Florida’s go to Casting Director on your list. She holds audition workshops in Orlando and Miami. Find a way to meet her and show her you’re the real thing. It’s possible! I did it.
6) COVER LETTER/MESSAGE
The most effective letter will find good company with a reference/recommendation of current actor/talent the agent represents. So make friends in the industry as soon as possible and find some potential “family members”
Letter content: State in 2 to 3 short paragraphs why you want to act and what you want to do: i look forward to: Commercials/film/print/spokesperson/voiceover.
Consider that these are busy people, they don’t need you memoir, just a quick : “hey there I’m John Doe and writing to express my interest in…ready to meet you and discuss potential partnership…” etc.
Quick insight on voice over: Voice over is a great market to break into but difficult, a significant less amount of work in this market. But some of my good friends make a decent living with it.
Make connections. network. become an expert at following up and staying in touch.
Quick thought: You may have asked “Should/Will an agent charge me to work with me?”
Answer: Only after you book a gig will they get PAID. Any organization charging you for starter kits of headshots and consulting or training are more like talent managing agencies. And some could be scams, be careful!
Servies like 24/7 Casting are what I call self-promotional services. they give you promoting tools for a fee. Check them out, they may be of use…
“Should i use 24/7 casting?”
It’s a solid option and reliable resource from what some have told me. Even though I don’t use it, i’d say its a credible starting off point. Remember that every which way you go, you will have to invest money. This is after all a business you’re building. 24/7 casting works for some people as a starting point and for others it doesn’t. It will allow you to put your name out there and give you one way to network.
You have to be wise about how you spend your money. Everyone’s situation is different so choose according to your means.
If you want to know what I did when I started in South Florida 5 years ago:
First I got my headshots done with Bob Lasky in South Florida, loved working with him!! Then moved to Orlando, beefed up my resume with student/independent films, started studying as soon as possible at Art Sake, submitted to the Diamond Agency, got in. After the resume had film credits, I submitted to other agencies based on teacher/coach/classmate recommendations.
Eventually that led to signing with the Hurt Agency for on camera work and with Diamond for print work.
7) THE KEY: Networking
Build a community of colleagues through classes and workshops you attend. Get your work noticed and hope one of your new colleagues will consider referring you to the top agencies in our market since they probably already are represented by them.
I can almost guarantee that the top agencies will prefer to get referrals from current talent they represent. So work your skills and once again network!
For the Hurt Agency, I have helped some of my colleagues meet with my agent only AFTER seeing their work, and feeling confident they’d be an asset to my agent.
all of this is probably easier said then done. Each of us has their own journey. But, just start, and ask as many questions along the way. We’re all good to help out in this market. You certainly can count on me…
hope this info helps you out.
please submit questions, comments, concerns etc. And to my more seasoned colleagues, if I left anything out, please feel free to add to this, to help the incoming acting generations…
MajeLiv at Godspeed