What are some steps you can take if you have an agent but aren’t getting out for auditions? Maybe you have a bad, lazy agent and it’s time to get another one. But ... before you take that drastic step, let’s explore a few other reasons for a lack of auditions and what you can do about it.
Your headshots. Do you like them? Did you spend a lot of money on them? Unfortunately, those things count for very little. (See my post on “What makes a strong headshot?")
Your headshots need to fit in with what your agent is submitting you for. A friend of mine is an example of headshots that might not work for her. Her shots are technically beautiful. She is beautiful in them – in fact she looks like a model. But there’s two problems with her using those shots.
First, she had her hair and makeup professionally done for the shoot. This is not something she will want to duplicate for every audition. And second, the shots don’t really match her demo reel. In her dramatic clip, she plays a girl next door type – very down to earth. A second clip also shows her without makeup – pretty, but not at all glamorous. And these are the kinds of roles she wants to get, but she’s not getting called in on them, because her pictures don’t match the type of roles she wants to be submitted for.
Note: Because she’s in Los Angeles, even if she wanted to pursue glamorous or model-type roles, the competition is fierce. There’s just so many beautiful people for casting directors to choose from, which means she still might not get called in often. (There’s a way to deal with that that I’ll address in a future post.)
Anyway, it might be time to talk to your agent and see what they’re submitting you for, and how each of you sees you and the potential roles you want. If you don’t see eye-to-eye on the roles, that’s a bad sign.
Something else that may be the problem. What are you doing to help your agent get you in the door of casting directors? Your promotional work doesn’t stop when you get an agent. Are you doing plays, short films, stand-up, sketches (for YouTube or Funny or Die), improv shows, etc.? Find the performing areas that help you get more experience and exposure.
You also need contact your agent for a meeting (a meeting that takes place, if at all possible, in person or on the phone – not by text or email).
Note: My agent likes to hear from their actors (but only every once in while, like every few months). I notice my auditions go up after I say hello by phone or in person. If I have an audition nearby their office I might let them know this and ask if it's okay to drop by after the audition.
When you do talk - instead of asking them why you’re not getting called in for auditions, ask them what you can do to help them get you more auditions. Getting angry or upset at your agent won’t help your cause. But by asking them what you can do, you avoid accusing them of not doing their job. And you make it sound like it’s the two of you working together – which is what you want from your relationship.
When you do talk to them, your agent may have two answers for you about why you aren’t getting auditions. 1) They are submitting you a lot, but the casters aren’t calling you in. Or 2) The agent isn’t seeing many roles that fit you. Ask what he thinks you can do to change that.
If they are submitting you a lot – it may be your headshots. Talk to your agent about those. You want to make sure your headshots fit the roles you're being submitted for, so, you need to ask them about that. Do they need other types of headshots, like ones that are more commercial? Or do you need more credits? Time to get yourself more short film roles. Join Actors Access and sign up to receive notices for short films or low-paying feature films that your agent may not be submitting you for.
Finally, if nothing else works, it may be time to talk to another agent. When you contact them, you don't have to say who your current agent is, just that you're looking for new representation. And don't bad-mouth your agent - just say that's it's not a good fit, then ask them what roles they see you auditioning for, andif they can get you into those auditions.
The Actor's Guide To Auditioning