I love this question because the answer is yes AND yes.
There is no best way, but there is a smart way to create a strategy to get an agent or manager and to keep them working hard for you.
How to use workshops and seminars to get an agent or manager to sign you.
Doing good work in a workshop or seminar repeatedly (in a tight period of time, say 6-8 weeks) will get you noticed by an agent/manager or casting director. But they're not likely to sign you unless you book something big. They'll freelance you if you use the 3 month targeting strategy I talked about in my last newsletter.
If you missed it, click here now to see how to build the kind of relationship in workshops and seminars with agents/casting directors/managers that get you auditions.
How to Use Great Press to Get Representation
The other alternative is to book something on your own and create a marketing strategy to get them out to see your show.
Here's the kicker: no one's going to sign someone in a show that hasn't been reviewed by the big media outlets in town.
Get one great New York Times review and you can use that to get signed. The NYTimes is the single most powerful review in the world. Broadway shows and TV shows are cancelled if they get bad NYTimes reviews. So follow the money: find a great theatre that's known for getting fair, good reviews from the New York Times and keep auditioning for that company until you get a decent role that shows what you can do.
Once you get the role, create a kickass marketing strategy to make sure every industry person sees you in the show and gets a copy of your NYTimes review.
How to Self-Produce to Get an Agent
Well, this process is essentially the same as the one above with one minor difference: you have to raise money to self-produce.
Once you've raised the money, you can take the time to write a script or pay someone to write it for you.
How I Raised $100,000 in 30 Days When I Had Never CrowdFunded Before
I self-produced 3 workshop productions of my latest play, _Good Bread Alley_. I had never raised money by crowdfunding ever. I did some research, hired a Kickstarter coach and I raised $100,000 in 30 days to produce my latest play Good Bread Alley at New York Theatre Workshop.
I've outlined how I did that in the [How to Raise 100K in 30 Days Webinar available here.](http://www.thedreamunlocked.com/classes.html?link_list=2345321)
Once the project is done, you have to get produced at noteworthy theatres or released at a major film festival in order to get on agent/manager radars.
**Remember, these agents/managers sign folks who have demonstrated both talent and their ability to make money. Booking work or being in a project are clear signals that you will eventually make that agent/manager some money.**
**Talent alone is no indicator of that. **
**Your business saavy, however is...**
And here's the biggie about making your own work.
Why You Still Need to Self-Produce Even if You Have Representation
Once you have an agent/manager, they cannot fight to get you in auditions unless you're actually in a show or on TV or in theatres where industry people can come and see your work.
Work begets work which is why you see the same actors over and over again in various projects.
So, you need to self-produce, so you're always in a project industry folks can see you in. Only actors who are already in projects work consistently...it's because they get more auditions because they're already working.
So you should self-produce because:
**1. So that you're always working **
**2. People have a place to see your work a lot and then call you for auditions **
**3. So you can get on-camera credits on IMDB**
Generally, on-camera work is the money-making work, so i f you have no on-camera credits, then no one will sign you. It's impossible to tell what your work will be like on-camera until we actually see you on camera.
And that's the barometer for signing a client.
Does the camera love this actor and does this actor love being in front of the camera?
So, the other reason to make your own work is that you need on-camera credits to get taken seriously as an actor and get agent/manager meetings. If you write or option a writer and produce a short film, then you will instantly have credits.
So, a quick review.
In order to get representation:
**1. You need to target agents/managers for 6-8 weeks in seminars and build relationships with them, not just audition.**
**2. You need to make your own work so folks can see what you can do before they call you in for an audition**
**3. You need to make your own work, so even once you're signed, you're still a working actor and your reps need to be able to say that to casting directors when they're fighting to get you an audition.**
Please ask in the comments below!
Love, Light & Power,
April & TheDreamUnLocked Team
P.S. Have you signed up for the FREE teleclass:
Star-Maker Blueprint: How to Get an Agent Who Gets You Auditions
now to save your place on Tuesday, 6/28 @6pm (EST)
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""""One of the most mortifying moments I experienced in my theatrical career was when I was asked to bring the entirely African-American cast of a new musical we were workshopping, a new piece by an African-American librettist and composer, across the street to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and up into the plush boardroom so they could perform a song or two for the board of directors. I wanted to say something, but I didn't. For one thing, it would take an invaluable 45 minutes to an hour out of the creative team's limited time together. But... every year we had to do the same old song and dance for the board to remind them that yes, we did do new plays and musicals, so yes, it was sometimes a good idea to expose the board to new voices, to the vibrancy of an exciting work in progress.
You all know where this is going, don't you? I led the team in. The talent in that team! The writer/composer himself and the cast, lauded veterans of the stage and the most promising members of the next generation of acting giants. And there was our board. White, as white as can be, white white white white. And very comfortable. They'd just been served lunch, I believe. My theater spared no expense in pleasing our board and catering to their demands (oh my god, I'm feeling such rage right now! I'm pretty sure we had a staff member who was mostly dedicated to help our richest board members get house seats to shows on Broadway and the West End. But I digress...)
The only black face in the audience seated at the conference table? The only person of color? The head of our education department, of course. My heart went out to her.
The cast sang a song from the show. They did it. And they brought it. Because they were and are professionals. And the very pillars of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion reverberated down to the parking lot. It was breathtaking.
And I had just been complicit in the remaking of a scene for the millionth time: black bodies and voices entertaining white audiences, an institution raising money on the backs and voices of black bodies.
I was too mortified to apologize to our writer and to our cast, none of whom, I should add, expressed even an iota of discomfort. They were professionals, and they shone. And come to think of it, they'd probably all become accustomed to this scene. "It's just how theater works," they might have thought with a shrug of their shoulders. Or maybe they seethed inside, for the millionth time, when all they were trying to do is workshop a new musical.
Well, I apologize sincerely now to our writer and those actors. I wish I had had the courage to put my foot down. It is not how theater should work.
I quit the American theater on Valentine's Day 2016, so I've been out more than four years now. And honestly I don't plan to return, which is why I can write with such candor.
The heart of the problem, my friends, is with the non-profit structure, which is capitalism on steroids. Who are the bosses ultimately in an American institutional theater? The board of directors. Who are the board of directors? For the most part, those members of the community not with the strongest attachment to the art form but those with the deepest pockets. Often they're really not members of the community. They often just drop in. They are sometimes mere tourists.
It's no wonder that that board meeting was held in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The theater, like most American theaters, had built its board of directors on the old opera model: You get the richest folks together, offer them galas and house seats and receptions and private recitals and showings (for which artists often don't get paid extra, mind you), you pamper them and make them feel more special and entitled than they already do, and then they'll write you big checks to support the kind of art they like, the kind of art they can bring their kids and grandkids to. AND they--not the artists, not the community--get to hire the institution's leadership.
It is a rotten model. Rotten to the core. How can any artistic institution claim to be working for and in the community with that model?
It's got to be torn down. It's got to be reinvented. And I have no idea what the next model will be. I really don't. And no, honestly I don't think government is the solution frankly. Some of the most bloated, self-satisfied, decadent theater I've ever seen was in Germany, where it was almost fully government-funded. Lots of bells and whistles and provocations and completely soul-dead.
I see amazing and galvanizing lists of demands recently being made and posted by theater artists of color. These are vital demands. But they don't address the central issue. As long as the ultimate bosses of an artistic institution remain the community's deepest pockets, nothing will change. Nothing. You'll be putting band-aids on a gaping wound. Sorry, but it's true.
So please figure something else out. Maybe for a few years you just avoid the institutions. You've already started. In the pandemic, so many of you are making amazing art without an institution. Find those who truly adore your work and ask them to fund it. Screw non-profit. Form a corporation and value your art art-making as a resource that profits you, your viewers/audience and your community. I have no idea.
But please don't return to a new version of the old. After the virus, after he's out of office, after police reform and nationwide conversations about race, after, after, after, begin something new. I can't wait to see what it is!”
Words: Pier Carlo Talenti
Video: Griffin Matthews
April Yvette Thompson