As usual, I was struck by the idea of writing this post because of making another mistake. One great thing about my mistakes is that you can learn from them! I’ve had several Los Angeles based agents shut me out of a potential meeting due to sending emails with attachments. Did you know this was a thing? When on the lookout for an agent, it’s common to throw your resume and head shot into the bottom of the email and hit ‘send’, without giving it a second thought; but this could be steering people away from even opening your submission! I know you send countless emails out when trying to find the perfect agent or representation, so let’s not limit your options by annoying some of the very people you wish to meet.
Although some agents still prefer the tried and true method of receiving hard copy head shots in the mail, the vast majority have switched to email submission or the ever-more-common industry referral only method. Unfortunately, I can’t help in the industry referral option (maybe a blog post on that in its’ entirety one day) but I can help you avoid making a common mistake when addressing agents by email.
To get us started, check out my email signature below:
CEG – Cohesive Entertainment Group
Los Angeles, CA 90010
‘Success is not a result of spontaneous combustion; You must set yourself on fire’
-Arnold H Glasow
Your email signature is your most powerful tool. Agents want to know only a few key things before they will consider meeting with you:
1. Do you have experience?
2. Is your presentation CD (Casting Director) ready? Quality head shots, strong credentials, proper training, website and booking site presence, etc.
3. Are you bookable? Do they believe you have what it takes to make everyone involved some money?
4.Do you take away from their current client list or add to it?
5. Do you appear to be professional, and easy to work with?
The goal in creating your signature is to answer these 5 questions without requiring that anyone do a bunch of digging. You should be providing agents with the least amount of work possible. They are already inundated every day with requests from everyone. The last thing they want is to open your submission, click on attachments and wait for things to load- or worse yet, not even be able to read your resume due to weird formatting or a similar issue. The submission you present is your first impression and your product package, so to speak.
Keep it concise enough to not overwhelm, but show them you got it going on! It’s important to note that instead of dropping a large head shot attachment at the bottom, I chose to EMBED it into my signature. I think this is the most influential element you have, since this will speak volumes to an agent or manager; it shows that you are organized, professional, AND they even get to see it in a thumbnail size JUST the way they would with a breakdown. If it catches their eye, chances are it would catch a casting directors’ eye on a breakdown in a similar fashion.
The embedding feature doesn’t give the viewer a chance to look away, and it doesn’t let annoyance or laziness play a hand- the person receiving your email has no choice but to see your face pop up in the email thread. In this way, it plays the exact same as an old school mail submission with a clear window mailer that let’s you see what’s inside. If you haven’t heard of these, they are one of the best ways to send a hard copy head shot:
Your face and beautiful, glossy head shot are the focus when this mailer is received on someone’s desk! If you do plan on sending hard copies, this is the way to do it.
When choosing what else to include on your signature, accolades and accomplishments should be on the list. Are you a union actor? Make sure to let them know. A member of the Women in Film board? Also a good thing to include. Your contact information, other agents, PR rep contact and similar should all be included. Be sure to include logos when possible to make your signature more visually striking; people are more likely to remember a logo than a word. Won an award recently? Be sure to jot it down right under your beautiful photo.
And always, always leave your IMDB link and Actor’s Access link as well.
If those two links are not included anywhere in your submission, I guarantee you will have a difficult time getting called in for an interview. Agents are much more likely to view the resume on your Actors Access accounts than open an email with your resume attached. Make sure your actors access account is fully up to date before you send your emails out or you will risk looking unprofessional! Head shots must be recent and match what’s in your email submission, media files should be uploaded and ready for viewing, etc.
I always like to conclude my signature with one of my favorite quotes; quotes can set the tone and show a little bit of your personality. You only get this one chance to tell them who you are, use it!
With these tools, you can’t fail in shooting straight to the top of the list when contacting potential agents. So, go for it! Get those emails out, reach for the stars, and remember to always be fearless!