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Three Reasons You Might be Struggling to Secure Representation

April 11, 2018

If you’re having trouble landing an agent or a manager, there are a number of things that could be to blame. For example, perhaps your headshot isn’t grabbing their attention, or you don’t look like your photo when they call you in. Maybe you don’t live in the area and the pro isn’t convinced you’ll be able and willing to travel. But according to these pros, the reason you’re not landing a rep may have nothing to do with your headshot or your talent:

You don’t have enough training or experience.
Before going to any meeting with an agent or manager, you must be ready. That means as the parent you must have done your homework, read up on the casting process, researched the agent and agency and prepared the proper paperwork. As the performer, you must have taken classes.  CIF advises parents to read through the KidStart Program in its entirety before beginning to seek representation.

You’re not present in the moment or aware of your characters situation.
According to Jay Schachter of Abrams Artists Agency, one of the most important things he looks for in prospective talent under the age of 16 is that they are aware of what is going on the scene they are performing during their interview. “Technical aspects like hitting comedic beats, memorizing lines, etc. can all be learned,” Schachter said. “But if a young actor isn’t present and doesn’t really understand the context of what is going on in the scene, then how can they possibly give a good performance? The successful actors I find truly have an understanding for what is going on in the scene and are able to bring an element of themselves to the character.”

So how can you help your young child be more present within the scene? To start, Schachter suggests not worrying so much about line memorization, but rather to help your child understand what is actually happening in the scene.  “If they know what is going on in the scene they will be more likely to remember the lines and understand the meaning.”

According to Schachter, if the agency takes a meeting with a family, they’re already half way on board. Trust that much and do the prep for the scene you will present them, and you’ll be well on your way.

You (the performer) are a challenge to market.
"Most of the time when I pass on a client, it has to do with marketability," said Mara Santino of Luber Roklin. "Know your type, how marketable you are, and what makes you stand out form everyone else. The 3 key ingredients I look for:  marketability, personality and talent."

So here’s the good news: being tough to market is sometimes more about the pro than it is about you. You can’t change who you are. You can only change what you do with what you have. If a pro says your child is tough to market, it may have more to do with what they have on their current roster as well as the current connections they have access to. That said, if you’re getting the “I can’t market you,” comment from a number of agents an managers, time and time again, you may need to take a deeper look at yourself and your skills. Does your child simply have a unique look? Remember, there is a role for everyone if your child has the skills to support it. So continue to take classes and build  skills. Perhaps “You’re tough to market,” could be something deeper. Are you and/or your child going to be a challenge to work with? Does your child know how to follow direction? Do you?

You and your child are a package and as such are sometimes marketed as a team.  A child can be talented beyond belief and still be overlooked if the rest of the team does not present well in meetings.

 It’s also important to remember that your child has to want it more than you want it. “The drive has to come internally from the child performer, not the parent or family member pushing their child in a particular direction,” explained Terrece Lynn of The Wayne Agency. “Family members should remember that the most important element in helping their children become a success is ensuring that they have a constant support system in place."