When I was living in Los Angeles, I tried doggedly to get the Progressive Artists Agency to represent me. I can’t remember the guy’s name, but I sent a picture and resume in hopes that would be enough of an in to get me an interview.
I had done this hundreds of times as any actor trying to get an agent does. There is a small coveted green paper-back book called the Ross Reports. This dynamo magazine had every agent in town listed along with their address and phone numbers.
The first step is finding a photographer to shoot professional head shots for you. I used a girl named Erin Flynn. Some friends had great pictures made by her and referred me to her.
So I went in for the shoot. She asked me to bring music that I really liked to relax me and I brought in some James Taylor.
Before going to the shoot, I had to get professionally made up. A friend of mine did it for me because I couldn’t afford a professional make-up artist and I didn’t really know anyone to do it anyway.
Next came meeting with Erin in her studio and setting up lighting for each shot. Erin and I talked in great detail about the kind of picture I wanted in terms of how I wanted to portray myself. I wasn’t interested in looking for “glam” shots. More, I wanted a down-to-earth, “real” looking pictures.
Getting to achieve this is very difficult when you are in front of lights and a camera. After the shoot, you get what’s called a “contact sheet” which has all the photographs on one long continuous piece of photo paper.
Upon selecting a picture, I went to a photo reproduction place where I could choose the font and placement of my name on the head shot.
This all cost a lot of money, so I cut corners wherever I could.
Finally a box of 100 to 200 pictures came in the mail and then begins the process of attaching a theatrical resume to the back and mailing them to potential agents and or producers.
You didn’t include a cover letter, as the picture and resume spoke for itself.
I was delighted when Progressive Artists Agency phoned my after receiving my packet. They were a very reputable agency and known for taking on unknowns.
Bottom line was, I met with a guy who talked in pretty great detail about my career goals and I really thought he was going to take me on as a client.
But as with so many interviews, this one went nowhere.
I was just one of hundreds of nameless-faceless interviews he had and sadly he didn’t take me on as a client. I had no real explanation. Unfortunately that was the norm for out there.
In comparison, when a singer tries out for American Idol, they are given immediate feedback, which is something I really missed when I lived in L.A. There were a lot of smiles and “Thank yous” without any real response that would be helpful-no constructive criticism or any idea what to do differently.