Hopefully you’ve read part 1 – Do You Need One or More?
Now that we have established that you need an agent, lets address the topic of how to land an agent. Not only are most talent agents rosters completely full, the competition is now global, not local, so making a full time wage with an agent isn’t what it once was. The North American market is saturated and finding your way in without a strong connection like a coach, or voice talent, production staff etc. is next to impossible, no matter how good you are.
The number one quality an agent looks for is uniqueness. Unique voices are usually youthful voices, quirky voices, scratchy, baritones etc. However if your voice is too unique, or too character driven, this can also be a problem. So when you create your demo make sure you have mainstream type deliveries as well as the unique ones. Many of us (including me) have nothing unique about our voice. We might be great voice actors, but if there is someone else on the agents roster who sounds anything like you, the agent can’t justify taking you on. Agents are always trying to downsize not add to their roster, however they are ALWAYS open to the next best thing.
Your demo and your connections are key here. Before you even make a demo, have some consideration of what agents might consider taking you on. Listen to their roster. Is there anyone on there like you? Always try and get in with an agent in your local market first, then expand from there. Have your demo created to suit what the agent might be missing on their roster. This isn’t easy, as they have nearly everything they need already.
Most agents won’t take on anyone without a referral. Consider that they get tons of submissions each day and almost every unique pitch has already been done. In days of yesterday you could pester the agent (in a creative way) and they would eventually take you on, but with the internet, no one has the time to be pestered anymore and this doesn’t usually produce a good outcome.
Not only do you need a connection, but your cover letter and branding package has to be reflective of creativity, uniqueness and excellent business savvy. Yet it can’t be too gimmicky. Standard cover letters won’t stand out amongst all the other non-creative cover letters, and don’t create one template cover letter and send it to all potential agents, that will be transparent. So how you write your pitch or present your package is extremely crucial, and most of you don’t have good business savvy – or your business savvy is too corporate and stiff for a creative industry. We have to get super creative here.
I highly recommend you research each agent you pitch. Make sure you get along with them and that they suit your personality. Just because you got in, doesn’t mean they are the best agent for you. Also consider that most agents won’t take you on without a good amount of experience, so it’s important that you build your resume before taking this step.
One thing I have always recommended – which is usually a sure thing – is to find a job and give it to the agent. Give them commission for a job they didn’t get for you. An agent is very unlikely to turn down free money, unless of course they don’t like your marketing package (demo, cover letter, website etc). Many of my agent connections will take on those that I think are ready, but I don’t use these referrals lightly and even with the referral, it can still be very difficult to get in.
I know this is discouraging, but it’s the reality of the business. Don’t let this set you back, allow it to challenge you. If you need any help with pitching agents, writing cover letters or creating a brand that stands out, please don’t hesitate to contact me. It’s one of my specialties and I think I’m pretty darn good at this part. Try and think from the agents perspective instead of the talents. That’s good business.