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How To Get An Agent...


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#1 MsLaGuardia

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 05:17 PM

Hello smile.gif

Everybody was so helpful when I posted last year about where to look for National Youth Theatre funding - I thought I'd ask for some more advice.

I'm currently in my third year of University, studying drama and theatre studies. I will have one more year after this one where I will gain a masters degree. My dream would be to go to drama school after my course - but as do most things in life - this all comes down to money. I just can't afford to attend a drama school - even with dada awards etc it's just not something I can afford. For a one year Post Grad course it's going to be somewhere around 14 thousand for the course fees alone. Sigh.

I'm trying everything I can to get into acting, such as NYT and Old Vic New Voices - I'm already a member of NYT and I've been invited to audition for Old Vic New Voices. I guess my next step is to try and get myself an agent...

I perform in shows at university and before the end of this year I'm hoping to perform in a production taking place on a professional stage. I'm assuming this would be a perfect situation to invite an agent to....but my next question is just how?

Is it really as simple as the things I've read - just ask them to show up? Do you send them tickets in the hope they'll use them, or do you just write a letter and give them the theatre address? I know these questions sound silly - but there is never anyone who can truly answer them for some reason. So I ask you...whatsonstage members - how did you get your agent?

And is there anyone who has 'made it' without the need to train professionally? I understand the importance of training, I really do - I just can't afford the costs - there HAS to be another way, there just has to be....doesn't there?

Thank You for your time! x

#2 Haz

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 05:50 PM

I work for an agent. We get LOTS of letters/emails/calls about shows (especially around this time of year) so make sure you give plenty of notice - around 3 weeks or so is best.

To be completely honest with you, I think you might struggle to persuade people to come to non-CDS productions. There are SO many shows to see just looking at drama schools, that to try and add in performances by university drama courses would leave you with just not enough time to breathe.

Fees for drama schools are extortionate but bear in mind that there ARE scholarships/grants/bursaries available. Get in touch with the schools you're interested in and find out exactly what financial support they offer and how you'd go about applying (and also when applications have to be in by - it's often quite far in advance of the start of the course).

If you want to invite people though, get hold of a copy of Contacts (produced by The Spotlight - either call them or order it from your bookshop. It's about 12) and go through the agents section. Be selective - if you're musical theatre, there's no point writing to an agent who purely does voice-overs and vice versa. Send a short, concise letter explaining your training and experience thus far with details of how to get tickets - either your own contact details or those of the box office. Also send a CV and headshot.

Can I ask why you're doing an MA now, rather than a BA? Is it a Scottish course? Bear in mind a postgrad at drama school is the equivalent of an MA. If you did a three year BA and then a postgrad, you'd save a year's uni fees that could go towards your drama school fees. Is it too late to think about something like that?

Make sure you subscribe to The Stage etc. PCR, though a bit rubbish for more experienced actors, can be good for details of short films etc. Look into getting as much relevant experience as you can during your uni holidays. If you decide you can't afford drama school, you need to show people that you're serious, so get as much experience on your CV as possible.

Good luck!
whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should

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#3 MsLaGuardia

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 07:18 PM

Thank you for your thoughtful reply smile.gif I will be sure to follow your advice.

My University offers all single honour drama students a 4 year course where you come out at the end with an 'MDrama' award. I could finish after this academic year and recieve my BA, but it's not even something anyone considers - One of the reasons I took this course was due to the fact I could come out of uni with a higher degree level.

I never thought of contacting drama schools one by one to ask about their specific funding - I just looked into Dada's etc and figured they'd be very little use to me - although generous, they're not quite enough to allow me to take advantage of one.

Thanks Again smile.gif

#4 JIJane

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 11:24 AM

QUOTE(MsLaGuardia @ Jan 21 2008, 07:18 PM) View Post
Thank you for your thoughtful reply smile.gif I will be sure to follow your advice.

My University offers all single honour drama students a 4 year course where you come out at the end with an 'MDrama' award. I could finish after this academic year and recieve my BA, but it's not even something anyone considers - One of the reasons I took this course was due to the fact I could come out of uni with a higher degree level.

I never thought of contacting drama schools one by one to ask about their specific funding - I just looked into Dada's etc and figured they'd be very little use to me - although generous, they're not quite enough to allow me to take advantage of one.

Thanks Again smile.gif


Very good advice from Haz. Just one thing - if you want to be an ACTOR noone is going to care how many years you spent training at uni and whether you have a BA or MA. If you are getting an MA and doing 4 years for other reasons, then that's fine but in terms of being an actor - save your money and go to drama school.

Funding - look at each school's website for details, there is funding available for post grads but you need to research...you may also want to think about taking a year out to just work and earn as much as you can - and then spend a year at drama school. Quite a few people do this.

#5 Aranel

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 02:35 AM

xx

#6 Biddy

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 05:55 PM

I don't know anything about them, though from adverts in TheStage, & from Googling, I gather London has some places
(eg The Poor School and TheActorWorks)
which offer training in the evenings & weekends, enabling students to Work & Earn in the daytimes.

#7 Biddy

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 06:03 PM

QUOTE(JIJane @ Jan 22 2008, 11:24 AM) View Post
you may also want to think about taking a year out to just work and earn as much as you can - and then spend a year at drama school. Quite a few people do this.


Taking time out in the world could help in other ways besides income:
Drama Schools might prefer candidates who have Life Experience beyond School & College.

Also, from adverts in TheStage, & from Googling, I gather London has some places
(eg The Poor School and TheActorWorks, & maybe others)
which offer training in the evenings & weekends, enabling students to Work & Earn in the daytimes.

Good Luck!

#8 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 15 June 2008 - 11:46 PM

I don't want to put a downer on your options but I have to totally back up the poster who said that no one will care whether or not you have a masters.  As said before, if you're doing it for other reasons then fine keep going but if you're doing it because you want to act - well get the undergraduate degree, get out of there. work for a year or two and save your cash.  (What is an MDrama anyway - realistically it's probably not going to get you further than the BA.)

Also, and I know this sounds tough but as the relative of a director who often trawls through all the major drama school shows and sometime casting director, if you're thinking of going to drama school you really should look at a two year course rather than a one year as there is generally a huge difference between how much you can really learn over the two periods - and consequently the standard of the graduates from the two courses.  (There's a reason why RADA doesn't offer a one year course and it isn't because it wouldn't be a nice money spinner for them.)  I can't count the number of times I've heard directors say "if only they'd done the two year course they'd have had a chance".  Remember that only a fraction of people who train for acting actually end up making a living from it; remember also that it's the rest of your life you're planning for.  If you have to take out loans to do it then that's the way of the world these days.  I'm guessing you must have taken out a loan for your degree - if acting is what you want to do then why not do the same for drama school.

One final poing, there will always be some people who 'make it' from drama schools no one recommends but if you want a realistic shot at getting through apply to two year courses at 'good' drama schools and then work hard!  (I've said two rather than three because I suspect you'd find three too much to fund and there are good drama schools that offer mature/post grad students two year courses in place of the usual three - though still not RADA... .)

As for getting an agent at this stage - well unless you have something very notable about you, or good connections, which I'm guessing you haven't since you're posting on here, forget it.  Some smaller agents might show their face at Oxford, Cambridge and the odd London uni student production but that's about it.

That's been a bit harsh so can I add, well done on getting in the NYT, that is an achievement and must mean you can act!  If you get onto a two year course somewhere you should have a head start.  Good luck.

#9 Ken

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 10:15 AM

QUOTE(Biddy @ Mar 21 2008, 06:55 PM) View Post
I don't know anything about them, though from adverts in TheStage, & from Googling, I gather London has some places
(eg The Poor School and TheActorWorks)
which offer training in the evenings & weekends, enabling students to Work & Earn in the daytimes.



There are a few places you can go part-time. Pineapple Performing Arts School (a Sunday course for all levels) or Stageworks has an 'advanced students only' Saturday Programme. www.stageworkstraining.co.uk

#10 MsLaGuardia

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 07:57 PM

Coming back to this thread months later it's nice to see the newer replies. Thank you.

Since my post I have figured out I really don't need to go to drama school....I now know it isn't what I personally need to do to get anywhere...I'm starting to understand hard work and determination is much more important! I already believe I have the acting skills and networking skills - and I now know Drama School does not equal agents and doors opening!

I'm sure all the people who helped me in this thread and via PM will be pleased to know I have so many things on the cards at the moment and I'm lucky enough to have been taken on by two agents in the past couple of months.

Thank you smile.gif





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