Inviting Agents and Casting Directors to Your NTSA Performance

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NTSA always invites agents and directors from NYC-based theatre companies to our productions; however, we also encourage our students to reach out directly! If an agent receives a postcard from NTSA, telling them about our production, they might spend the whole performance focusing on someone else. However, if an agent receives a postcard from YOU, telling them about YOUR performance, who do you think they’re going to be looking at when they come?

1. Don’t seriously look for representation unless you’re willing to relocate now. 

Most talent agents won’t consider representing you unless you’re located in or near one of the major markets (like New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Dallas, etc.). If you and your family are willing to relocate for your career, you should be able to make a six-month financial commitment to support yourself. You have to be available to go on auditions and jobs with a parent/guardian during the regular work day and must be able to make up school work that you've missed independently. If you’re not willing to relocate right now, we recommend taking advantage of NTSA's resources to build your publicity materials — your professional website, your social media channels, your theatrical reel, your headshot and resume, etc. By getting your publicity materials together now, you’ll be in a better position to appeal to representation when you are ready to move.

TIP: Don’t forget about local agencies! Every major city has its own agency that works with local actors for print and commercial work. We highly recommend that, after your NTSA experience, you reach out to your local agency!

2. If you’re in one of those markets, research agencies that specifically work with young actors.

If you’re ages 14-16, your best bet will probably be with an agency that has a specific young people’s division — like Wilhelmina Kids and Teens, The Osbrink Agency, and Clear Talent Group. (Or a no-fee referral service like JAM TAM Management!) If you’re over age 17, you have many more options, and we encourage you to reach out to any agencies that are doing work for which you might be the right type. (Look at what their clients have been working on recently to get an idea of who they represent and what their “niche” might be.)

TIP: There are a lot of scams in the entertainment business. If any agent insists that you purchase a shoot with their recommended headshot photographer or that you purchase classes at their recommended acting studio, just walk away. (Legitimate agencies will give recommendations, but they'll never require that you use a specific service.) If you get offers for “test shoots,” make sure that the director or photographer is completely legit and never go unaccompanied by a parent/guardian. Remain skeptical at all times and do your research!

3. Let us know!

If you’re inviting an agent, let us know! That way, we can put aside complimentary tickets at the box office and send out an introductory postcard with information about your production (if we haven’t already). We want to do everything possible to make sure that you’re successful!

4. Get some personal postcards.

You’re probably going to want to get some personal 4x6 postcards to send out. As a general rule: only send postcards to agents when you have something to say — like when you’re performing in a new show (like with NTSA!) or have gotten a new agent or have booked a new TV series. Make sure that you write a targeted and focused message on your postcards, so that the agent knows that you’ve done your research and know all about their individual work. You can get about fifty on Vistaprint for $25 or less.

TIP: You can order these once you arrive at NTSA if you want them to feature your specific role (ex. [NAME] as “Holly” in Loserville). However, you’d want to order them Express Shipping and have them delivered to our business address. We’re always happy to take your postcards to the post office for you free of charge!

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5. Use the 6-4-2-1 technique.

We highly recommend that you check out the 6-4-2-1 technique on Waiting for the Call. They have a fantastic guide for what you should send out when. As previously mentioned, we’re happy to send out the “primer” postcard for you. Just let us know who you’re reaching out to at least eight weeks (two months) in advance!

6. Don't overlook other theatre professionals!

We know that everyone wants to find representation — but consider inviting some other theatre professionals to your performance as well! Look for theatre companies that have been presenting work that interests you and reach out to their artistic directors. Look for up-and-coming playwrights that you might want to collaborate with, directors whose work you particularly admire, and other actors that you aspire to be like! These folks love to hear from you and will sometimes come to see your performance (and maybe even take you out for coffee and a one-on-one chat during your NYC trip)! Use the 6-4-2-1 technique for them as well, as they sometimes need multiple reminders.

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7. Have realistic expectations.

Professional acting is a tough business for anyone — but especially for teenagers. For every forty auditions that you go on, you might get one callback. If you struggle with rejection in your high school theatre department, then you might want to wait a couple of years (and get a bit more experience under your belt) before you decide to seek representation. There’s a distinct chance that your family could relocate to a major city (like NYC or LA), and then you don’t book any jobs and end up going back home. That doesn’t mean that you need to give up hope of being a professional actor. It might just mean that you’re not what casting directors are looking for right now, and you should try again after college. Have realistic expectations going in and recognize that being a professional actor is a long and exhausting marathon.

NOTE: The business card at the top of the post was designed by The Creative Actor on Etsy. You can buy all kinds of business card, resume, and postcard templates that you can print yourself at home (or take to your local FedEx Office)! The postcards were designed by Mary Cox Creative. Her work definitely has the kind of look that would get you noticed!

Posted on Mar 26, 2018 in Getting Ready  

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