Time to get stressed yet again…
Argh… That scary yet important time of year is just around the corner.. Writing to agents, organising our showcase, choosing the correct repertoire that will make us all stand out individually and finding an outfit that will be acceptable to wear throughout the performance. This will all be done whilst trying to write a dissertation and doing other academic things. We all might as well say goodbye to our social life for a few months but hopefully all of this hard yet exciting work will result in the majority of the year receiving representation from a well suited agent.
Below is a quote explaining what an agent is and how they benefit a performer:
‘[..] Talent agents are licensed by the state, and by law are only allowed to take a 10 percent cut of whatever you make. There are agents that deal with actors, and there are agents that deal with magicians, stand-up comics, and babies. Some specialise in ethnic talent, and some only deal with youth (under 25). You only pay them when you get work. You can “freelance” or “sign” with an agent, and usually they give you a one-year (or 18-month) contract. They may have a lot of clients, but they also have great relationships with casting directors and can push to get you in the room. Agents get the breakdowns for the big projects and submit their clients.’ (Newton, 2014)
Agents can benefit a performer in many different ways however its not necessity to have one ‘ If there’s one thing actors obsess over […] it’s getting an agent. From the moment they get the acting itch to the day they hop off the bus in La-La-Land, visions of agents are buzzing around their heads like Sugar Plum fairies at Christmas time. They don’t know why they need one or how to get one, but they are pretty sure they are going to be on easy street once that box is filled in. […] Agents aren’t for everyone, however. The vast majority of newer actors and even some more experienced ones don’t really need to be in the market for an agent’. ( Patrick-Green, 2013)
As this process is so intense and many other drama schools will be performing there showcase around the same time as us, i need to remember an agent isn’t the most important thing and that i need to enjoy my last few months of drama school whilst working hard and been positive!
As a year we have decided to designate one individual this been ‘Jon Potter’ to write to agencies around the UK and invite them to our showcases, We have decided to do this as its a well known fact that agents are extremely busy people who dont reply to all enquiry’s therefore its much easier to send one email on behalf of all twenty six people within the year instead of irritating agencies before we actually meet them by sending twenty six separate emails inviting them to the same show. Even though Jon is the designated individual to write to agencies he is provided with support from the whole year group. We send him contact details for agencies, help him with the lay out of the emails as well as making sure timekeeping is met. I have personally done some research on agencies that i believe would be best suited for myself however i understand that at this stage of my career i cant be too fussy about which agency would suit me best. Regardless of this fact i believe it would be more realistic to try get representation from an agent based closed to my home town this been ‘Leeds’. ‘ Look for agencies in your hometown first, and make sure that you target smaller places instead of reaching too far’ (Acting in London,2016) I believe this as when i finish university ill be coming back to leeds and maybe it would be best to get representation from an agent who is based in the north however regardless of this i will take representation from anywhere as i am willing to travel etc.
In total we have two showcases one based in Manchester and the other based in London both shows will be performed in February 2017. A showcase basically is a short performance that enables people to show off their talents an enables agents to see the potential a performer has. ‘Showcase is another form of audition, but a much bigger one. Drama school showcases are professionally staged and attended not by the public, but only by talent agents and sometimes directors and casting directors.’ (Acting in London,2016)
As stated above this year is extremely nerve racking for us all as we dont know what the future holds and if we will receive representation or not however all i can do at this stage is make sure i am involved in enough contrasting pieces within the show that enables me to show agents what i am capable of. Before the Christmas holidays we were having slots with Robert Purvis our musical director to discuss ideas and rep to put into our performance. So far i have suggested two contrasting pieces which have been approved for now however this could change within time depending on how the rehearsal process goes and whether our director ‘Tim Flavin’ approves them or not. Repertoire i have suggested are ‘The Actuary Song’ from ‘ I Love You Because’ performing this as a duet with ‘Paige Groom’ this piece is character based which works at Paige’s and my own strengths as character work is what we both excel in. The second piece i have suggested is ‘Someone You’d Be Proud Of’ from the Musical ‘The In-Between’ performing this as a duet with ‘Megan Miles’ however i did suggest turning this into either a large ensemble number or a girls ensemble number this been because i believe the song can be taken out of its original context and put into the context of meaning/ representing how we are feeling as this showcase so to speak could either make us or break us. The lyrics particularly ‘It’s time that I believe, expect I can achieve, And if I fail, at least I gave it all’. These lyrics represent how many of us will be feeling throughout the showcase process.
I have also been asked by Robert Purvis to participate in a quartet Reprise called ‘ Moonfall’ from ‘The Mystery of Edwin Drood’. This defiantly isn’t something i would usually perform as its got a strong operatic sound to it however im overwhelmed to have been asked to participate therefore i will except and excel the challenge, from doing this it will also allow me to show agents that i am capable of performing more than one style of music.
So far i am involved in three snippets and once we return after the Christmas holidays and get cracking with the rehearsal process i will be involved in many more snippets of the show. I am looking forward to the challenge ahead and we will see what the future holds. I just need to remain chilled and positive as well as continuing to work hard and enjoying my last few months of a student before entering the ‘REAL’ world..
Lets create another fantastic show with these wonderful people!
Acting in London, (2016) ‘How to get an Agent 101: Acting Business How-Tos’, Acting in London. < http://actinginlondon.co.uk/acting-business-how-to-get-an-agent/> [29/12/16]
Acting in London, (2016) ‘Your Drama School Showcases’, Acting in London. < http://actinginlondon.co.uk/acting-business-how-to-get-an-agent/> [29/12/16]
Newton, M. (2014) ‘Agents vs. Managers: Which One is Right for You?’. Backstage. http://www.backstage.com/advice-for-actors/backstage-experts/agents-vs-managers-which-one-right-you/ [29/12/16]
Patrick-Green. D. (2013) ‘ 5 Reasons You Don’t Need An Agent’, ‘ Backstage’. < http://www.backstage.com/advice-for-actors/backstage-experts/5-reasons-you-dont-need-agent/> [29/12/16]
Simkins, M. (2009) ‘Tips for surviving the acting industry’, The Guardian. 9th May 2009
Rutherford, N. (2012) Musical Theatre auditions and Castings A performers guide view from both sides of the audition table, London: Methuen Drama.