Mediabistro is partnering up with IF Management for a series of TVSpy posts. IF Management, a TVSpy advertiser, is a New York-based on-air media talent representation firm. Each month, IF’s agents and executives will share thoughts, advice and observations about the industry from the perspective of a top talent agency. Got an idea for a topic? Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last month, we dissected how to know if you need an agent and what to look for in an agency. But in order to give you a complete understanding of the relationship, this month we’re breaking it down from our side.
There’s no one answer to the question of what agents look for in prospective clients. It’s complicated and depends on many variables. After the jump, five tips that will help you find the agent that’s right for you — and help you stand out to potential agencies.
Write a great, concise cover letter.
What makes you different from the dozens of other submissions an agency receives each month? You may know you are better than the rest, but communicating that in your cover letter may be what makes the difference. Remember, you’re being evaluated on your entire submission, not just your on-air work.
Get the simple things right.
If you can’t offer a complete and polished product, how do you expect an agent to confidently sell you to a station or network? Make sure you spell everything correctly, including — most importantly — the recipient’s name. You’d be surprised how often people fail at that simple task. And don’t forget to attach all documents, clips and other necessary materials.
In your demo reel, leave them wanting more.
Agents want to see a reel that is compelling enough for them to be able to entice a potential station or network to hire you. Therefore, you should consider your reel like a movie trailer. Get the agent excited enough to want to see more of your work and to pick up the phone and call you. It’s a bit like dating: put your best foot forward, don’t seem needy and remember that less is more. Don’t give it all away in the beginning. Be a little tempting and elusive.
Show the right attitude.
We all want to find value for ourselves in a potential relationship. Though your ultimate goal is to get the agent to do something for you, it’s important to demonstrate that you have something to offer the agent, too. Everybody wants to work with a team player, so you’ll sell yourself more efficiently with a good attitude. Show the qualities that would make someone want to work with you: be level-headed, look toward the future and be a hard worker.
Don’t be a bother.
Persistence shows you’re serious, and following up is great, but only if it’s done professionally and politely. It’s fine to call or email a few days after you send your material, but if you don’t get a reply, wait at least a week before circling back. If there’s radio silence, it’s probably a sign of a lack of interest. While some agencies make a point to reply no matter what, an unfortunate reality of the industry is that others will give you the cold shoulder. Be sure to understand that and act accordingly.
While some agencies are very particular about the talent they bring on as clients, others are less selective. Keep in mind that each agency has different criteria, and the last thing you want is to force yourself into the wrong partnership. If you get passed on by your dream agency, don’t worry. This business has many quality agents. All it takes to find a good fit is some legwork and patience.
For more from IF Management, find them on Twitter @IFManagement.