How to get television network credits without a talent agent or manager?
We’re approaching the end of 2017 which marks the beginning of a very intense and busy season ahead of us. As many actors scramble to work with their reps in preparing for pilot season — there are twice as many who do not have any form of representation for guidance. So often, unrepresented actorsare met with a very common “roadblock” heard from most industry professionals:
“You need network credits and a competitive resume.”It’s almost become a catch 22 for actors. You “can’t” get network credits without having a talent agent or manager in Hollywood. Wrong. As a Hollywood Talent Manager, I’m going to provide you with tips of how you can DO the work and get booked.
Start building your connections. Hollywood is a very small community. Once you’re in, you will see the same faces over and over again. That person needs to be you. Attend every event that you possibly can. FREE SAG foundation events. Charities. Don’t just attend the events and sit in the back. Physically introduce yourself to that industry professional. Use call-to-action statements: “I look forward to working with you.” Etch your existence into the mind of that casting director or producer.
Engage on social media. Social media has definitely increased the amount of accessibility actors have with industry professionals. Take time to research and created a targeted list of industry professionals you’re looking to work with. Ask yourself key questions: Are they on instagram or twitter? What shows are they working on? Does this align with my vision as an actor? Most importantly: What is a common icebreaker that you share with that professional? Anyone that follows my social media knows that I’m a huge fan of Disneyland. Some actors have used that as a great topic of conversation to engage me with. That one conversation led to them being signed by me at CGEM Talent.
Think like a talent agent. Talent agents are very busy making sure that their clients are all prepared and ready for submission. It also helps to be SAG or at least SAG-E. Look at your material and ask others to help give you feedback, too. A successful actor has great headshots, solid acting clips, and also submission pitch notes that make them stand out. For example, if the role calls for an athlete — you go into detail. (5 years of College Basketball Experience, Starter, etc.)
Casting Directors respect those who can sell themselves professionally for the acting role. They may even keep you in mind for a future role that you DO NOT have access to!Be in the know of television projects being developed. In order to stay up to date, you must know which shows are being produced and when. Following entertainment sites such as The Hollywood Reporter, IMDB or Deadline will help you to keep track of what is current. This method will also help you to target casting directors and producers for relationships. Booking through relationships happen often in this town.
Warning: The following bonus tip is a secret which requires flawless execution after a fewnetwork credits. This is a method that can be used to help you get a theatrical agent. Please be cautious and selective as to who you do this with. Seek recommendations from industry professionals for stellar theatrical agents.
When an actor is ready to be booked by production, representation often receives what is called a “deal memo“. A deal memo is a summary of what the actor is to be paid, billed as, etc. If a talent does not have any form of representation, the deal or contract is sent to them directly. Build a personal relationship with a great theatrical agent and ask them to assist you with closing the deal. This should be a targeted talent agent on your list — someone you REALLY want to work with.
This next step is where YOU become the agent. It’s time to go in for the pitch:
My name is Chris Giovanni, I’m an actor located in Los Angeles.
We’ve maintained consistent communication over time and I’ve been really eager to work with you.
At this time, I currently have an offer for a (insert co/guest/etc.) star role and really need assistance in negotiating my deal. I would be honored if you can look at my resume and see if joining my team would be beneficial to you and your firm.
I look forward to working with you.”
As a talent manager, I’ve used this method multiple times in getting my clientssigned by theatrical agents. It works and provides an incentive for the agentto believe and work hard for the client from the beginning.
Pilot Season is coming and most of you are ready to hit the ground running. Use these tips at your discretion and change your life for 2018.
If you have any further questions, feel free to comment or email me personally (firstname.lastname@example.org)!
Thank you for reading!
Chris Giovanni, CGEM Talent