The Agent Hunt Part 1: Numbers
Recently my acting agent and I decided to part ways. I was with him for a number of years and I joined him straight after drama school. We both came to the conclusion that it was time to end our working relationship, so it was time to look for another agent.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with acting agents, they are considered the "gatekeepers" of the industry in the UK.
In The Netherlands, agents (normally) don't submit you for castings.
Actors can sign on to casting agencies and the casting directors of the casting agency invite actors to audition for parts.
The invitations you get depend on your specific look or skills, but more importantly depend on the relationship you have with the casting agency.
In the UK there are 700+ agencies. Casting calls are sent to them by casting directors, and your agent will submit you for relevant roles. If you're lucky, you'll be invited for an audition... etc..etc...Most castings in the UK go through 'Spotlight'. A casting platform that professional actors can subscribe to. It costs around £150 per year, and 60000 actors use the platform. Sixty thousand competitors is a soul crushing number, and I would recommend ignoring the statistics. Out of the 700 acting agencies, there are about a dozen of these that are considered the 'top agencies', they are the agencies that have the stars under their wings (think Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Idris Elba). Not every agency that is registered to Spotlight receives every casting breakdown, in general the higher regarded the agency is, the more breakdowns it gets.
I selected 3 agencies that I thought would be my best fit and I focused my hunt on these three agents to start off with. Since I have an International background, the focus was on International agencies. Fairly quickly, I had ongoing correspondence with one of the agencies, but since I know how fragile first relationship are, I wrote about 60 other agencies. For each agent, I took about 20 minutes to compose an individual email. The body of the email where I introduced myself was the same for everyone, but the part of "why I liked to join your agency" was catered to the agent I was writing.
Consider 63 X 20 minutes. That's 1260 minutes ÷ 60 = 21 hours. Out of those 21 hours of work, I got 4 replies saying: "unfortunately we cannot take your application further at this stage..." and 2 meetings with agecies. The rest of my time 58 X 20 minutes. 1160 ÷ 60 = 19.33 hours of work that was ignored. It's a tough cookie friends... If you're crazy enough to try out the agent hunt yourself, there is an excellent list a friend sent me on Reddit https://www.reddit.com/r/acting/comments/7kta3d/agents_in_the_uk_my_comprehensive_list/?utm_source=amp&utm_medium=&utm_content=post_title Good luck!