The second time in LA was a time of ups and downs. From crying in acting class to scoring another meeting with a Hollywood agent. While I only stayed for five weeks, I got a real taste of what the Hollywood filmbusiness and the people in it can be like for the first time. I had been in LA for a week, had reunited with some people from the year before, did some acting classes, got to know my modelesque housemates and had settled in. I spent the days walking to do groceries at Superior (a complete workout in the North Hollywood heat), hanging out near a small public pool and most important: researching talent agencies. I found out that there are basically five agencies that every actor would give his newborn for to be represented by them. They’re called The Big Five: Endeavor, William Morris (now merged together), Creative Artists Agency (CAA), International Creative Management (ICM) and United Talent Agency (UTA). You don’t contact them for representation though, they call you. So I Googled on with just one goal in mind: getting a meeting at a talent agency.
Step 1: Finding Talent Agencies
Besides the Big Five, there are a lot…a LOT of other talent agencies in LA. Like everyone I had heard the stories about agencies being scams, so to prevent myself from spending energy on those I started Googling which agencies represented some of the actors I liked that weren’t A-list yet. I stumbled upon a fanmail website (fanmail.biz) and found some other big, but more approachable ones. Innovative Artists, 360 Management and 1Management came up repeatedly. Now, make no mistake, these are no sweet little agencies that you can just walk into. They are big and represent starts like Amanda Seyfried (who wasn’t A-list at the time). But unknowing and optimistic as I was, I thought: I’m only here for five weeks and need to keep it moving so let’s give it a try!
Step 2: Getting Contact Info
I couldn’t find e-mail any addresses so I decided the only way to get in touch with the agencies was to give the them a call. Walking in is apparently a no-go. A recently met Aussie friend of mine (let’s call her Dove Beauty because she did a commercial for them) had done so at a well-known agency and did not a get a nice reception. Luckily my vampire landlord Gary gave me permission to use the guesthouse phone. So I sneaked into the backyard as soon as no one was around and with sweaty hands dialed the holy numbers. I was so nervous, my heart was beating like crazy… and this was just a phone call. When I finally got connected for most agencies I got a receptionist or assistant on the line whowas willing to give me an e-mail address. One receptionist was exceptionally bitchy though and hung up on me without even letting me finish my sentence. But I was prepared for that and on the bright side: I actually got some e-mail addresses!
Step 3: Getting in Touch
At the time I had a management in Holland and I figured it would look better if they sent the e-mail. So I wrote a couple of nice e-mail drafts requesting a meeting, added my headshots and asked my management to send them. They turned my e-mail into a super professional one and sent them out to the world…Or so I thought. Unfortunately I have the ears of an average 80 year old that went to too much rock concerts, one e-mail came back: The e-mail address you entered does not exist. Boo! That meant I had to call again and would probably have to ask the person on the other end to spell the e-mail address twice to get it right. But in the end I got it. And then it was waiting time…
Luckily LA has many distractions to offer. I explored the beaches with the Aussie friends Mr. Blue Sky Days and Dove Beauty and got my astronomy fix with Mr. Coffee Bean, watching a meteor shower from the hills and visiting the LA Observatory.
Step 4: The Meeting!
One day I opened my e-mail and there it was: a reply! About eight typed words had me jumping up in down in joy. The vice president of one of the bigger agencies had replied, and was asking for my showreel! And although it’s wasn’t any confirmation or meeting yet, the thought that they were interested after seeing my photos was awesome. Okay, so I had no show reel at the time and it was already the last week of my stay, but still it gave me hope for the future. And whilst I couldn’t arrange a meeting with Big Agency within the time I was there I did get a meeting with another agency: The one I had met the year before. The Hollywood agent of none other than Alexis Bledel was willing to meet with me another time. We discussed visa issues, my awful yellow hair (I had dyed it myself, never buy discounted hairdye!) and possible future representation.
And that was as far as I got with talent agencies in five weeks. What did I learn? It takes time. Of course the time difference between my management and me didn’t speed things up with communicating to agencies, but regardless of that you have to be patient. So when I relocate to Los Angeles later this year I will try to do as much as I can beforehand, so I can get in the ring right away. I’ll make sure to have my showreel ready, to have opened contact with agencies and will get on it as soon as I get off the plane! There’s this quote that I like: “Luck is when opportunity meets preparation.” And in Hollywood, it’s all about luck…
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