What’s the best method for displaying your talent to a talent agent: Is it a monologue? Is it a prepared scene? Is it a cold reading scene? Is it a demo reel?
The answer depends on the actor. It’s a case-by-case answer because each actor has a unique background. For instance, if you are a veteran actor with great credits and demo footage then of course, let your demo reel speak for you. If you are a child actor or young adult actor then you may not have any credits or demo footage because you’re just starting your career. Maybe you have great stage presence and charisma that fills a room. Then you may want to get in front of talent agents so they can experience your charisma.
If you are basically a newbie or have limited credits, the agent is mostly going to go by your look, your training, and whether you have any on-the-set experience.
In recent past history, only about one out of three Talent Agents asked you to either bring in a scene or a monologue – and today, it’s even less – so they probably won’t have you do that. But they may have you read some “copy” for a commercial or possibly give you a scene to cold read with them. They hardly ask for prepared scenes in their offices anymore.
Good, bad or indifferent, they mostly go by your interview, look now and whether other things on your resume convince them you probably know what you’re doing.
Understand that your interview is extremely important.
Any talent agent worth her salt puts a lot on emphasis on the way you interview. I’m a believer in the adage, “the way you do anything is the way you do everything.” If you lack “personality,” a sense of yourself, “star quality” and charisma in your interview, why would a talent agent assume that you would bring these qualities to an audition setting with a casting director?
This is just the fact of the matter for actors who are working their way up the “Hollywood Food Chain.” This does not mean that you shouldn’t be working on your craft. In fact, your craft needs to be so killer that you can shine and stand out in a mere two lines!
A final tip:
If you are willing to take a risk and you have a lot of confidence, then offer to do a monologue for the agent, they may let you. Then blow them away! Knock their socks off!
If you want to do that, choose a light-hearted, entertaining monologue that shows off your talent and is a character that you could be cast in on TV. Make sure the monologue’s light fare – DO NOT do Shakespeare and DO NOT do a super dramatic breakdown scene – wrong time and place.
Make it about 2 to 3 minutes long. Be super-well prepared. Make sure it is super great and blow them away. You only get one chance to make a first impression. It starts with great headshots, then you top it off with a great acting monologue.
The truth is that agents and casting directors both are always hoping that the next actor they meet is the one they’ve been waiting for! If you don’t have the tape to show them you’re The One, then show it to them live and in person, right in front of their very eyes.
And that is the truth about that!