Trying For An Agent Too Soon
I know that getting an agent is a big goal for most talent, as well it should be. And I’m not going to deny the importance of having a really great agent for one’s career. But I notice that for most voice over talent, getting an agent is an obsessive pass time–heck, the same goes for most on-camera talents, too! Yes, we need agents. We need good to great agents who have access to copy so that we can have access to copy so that we can book jobs.
How soon is too soon to get an agent?
Scenario #1: If your demo sounds amazing, but felt terrible to record in the studio, you are probably not ready for an agent. Time and time again, a talent tells me he got his demo done, but he felt so green in the demo session. This means that the demo producer is really really GOOD and made you a kick-ass demo despite the fact that you weren’t quite ready. That demo may even be great enough to get you in the door at an agency, but with no skills to back up that demo, you won’t book anything. The agent will drop you, and you will smack your forehead and say, “Dang it, Anna was right! I should’ve gotten really amazing first so that I didn’t waste my opportunities at this great agency.”
Scenario #2: If you overlook all of the fantastic regional/minor market voice over jobs (meaning jobs that come through anywhere but NY, LA or Chicago), and you insist on going straight to getting a major market agent, you are most likely not ready for that agent. Which sounds more appealing to an agent? A talent who consistently books online and regional jobs? Or a talent who has a demo but doesn’t bother to try to procure work and instead wants a top market agent without first paying dues? This is a global marketplace. Go out and make some money, prove you are bankable, and agents will fall all over themselves to represent you.
Scenario #3: You know many connected professionals in this business who also happen to be fans of yours. Excellent! Someone offers to give you a referral to a high-caliber agency, but you’re not even done with your classes and demo yet, have no home studio set up, and you know it’s going to take probably another 6-12 months of concentrated effort to get yourself ready for a regional agent, much less this Ari Gold your friend wants to refer you to. You think, “But this is it! I’ll never have another chance like this again!” So you go meet with the agent, who sees right away how green you are and is annoyed with your mutual friend at wasting her time. Instead, you could’ve told your friend, “Can I take you up on this referral when I am ready? I don’t want to waste such a wonderful opportunity just because I’m so eager.” You then go get yourself ready, follow up on the referral, and create a relationship with the agent that no matter the outcome, you can always follow up with her because she sees you as a professional.
Be amazing first. The rest takes care of itself.