The best way to get an agent, who is worth hiring, is through direct referral.
The days of agents trolling for talent, unless the talent is already working and earning significant money, are gone. They simply do not have the time or resources. Yet they need you to continue to exist and to earn a living. You are doing them a favor..but do so by providing the tools, talent, skills, knowledge and attitude they need to market you and build both of your incomes and careers.
Network with other actors and industry professionals and ask for the referral, use their name and have the tools ready before you meet or submit to them. Have them set up meetings if possible, or teleconferences or FaceTime/Skype. If not, confirm you can use their name and simply email, write and later call with the referral, politely.
Most important is your skills.
Be honest with yourself.
Talent is subjective. Do not allow your own attitude of the opinion of others keep you from moving forward on your dream. But do be aware that the judge of your talent will be the agent, and they must believe in you to represent you fully.
The magic or bling or sparkle that is stardom is also in the eyes of the beholder. You are not a star. Even most “stars” do not consider themselves stars. Audiences decide. Agents look for certain qualifies, and each agent, every casting director, every director are different. Not all actors need to be stars. If you are in this to be a star, you should either rethink your reasons, or walk away. It is about talent and the craft.
The craft and the skills can be learned and must be constantly exercised. Those who say “I am an actor” and have not had deep and real training in the skills needed and the craft of how to do it well, are lying to themselves in the professional sense. We are all actors, but what agents want to work with are professional actors, who pursue their craft.
How good is your cold reading. Can you get up there with someone who has been doing this since they were very young? How real are your accepts? How believable are your characters? Do you listen and react or do you perform? All these are questions to ask yourself and come up with a solid answer before seeking to partner with an agent.
Be honest with yourself and with your business associates.
If you lie to, mislead or are not ready your time with an agent will be short, or they will simply stop submitting you, and it will make it harder for your to land and keep another agent. They do know each other.
What have you go to offer the agent you want to hire you? If they are gong to help market you and submit you, they need to know what you are selling. Only the best will have that opportunity with most viable agents. And not all agents have the same connections, so as talent you should also shop around, as you could land the wrong agent for you and set back, damage or even scuttle your career potential. Make sure both of you are making the right choice in partnering, in you hiring your agent.
You need the tools.
You will need to be at the top of your game with your reel (or very professional video), have great headshots that look like you, an honest resume that shows experience and training, references, photo business cards, zed cards (when required), postcards or thank you cards with your photo for follow-up. Even photo address stickers have some value.
Keep your product out front and top quality.
Personalized email is the current method of first contact, and most get trashed, as most unsolicited photos are trashed. But if you do not send them out you greatly decrease your odds of making it in this industry.
The Post office or snail mail is not dead. Mailings still work. Make sure they are professional, in good taste and fit the casting director you are mailing to (do some research to find out what they like to see and read).
Do not call to follow-up. This is a rule best not broken, but remember that all rules are meant to be bent. It is up to you, the personalities involved and circumstances.
Make yourself different, in a good way, and consistent (same headshots as an example) in all marketing.
Offer something special you have that no one does as well as you.
When you enter a major production market, you are competing in "the Olympics of Acting." Know the market, know the names and contacts for shows; casting directors, directors, and show-runners...keep on top of the industry.
When you do get a meeting be yourself, but your informed and very talented interested self. Information is power. Talent is a requirement.
Art Lynch Coaching