Check the Size of Your Photos

If you are sending your photos by email, be sure they are not too large. 1MB per photo should be the maximum, 500 KB is better. If your photos are too large, they can take too long to download and your email could end up being deleted before your photos are reviewed.

Do not send your photos in a zip file and do not send a link to your personal website. No one wants a virus on their computer, so agents will probably not open the file or click the link. 

Address Each Agency Individually

Take the time to address each agency individually in your email or cover letter. For example, begin your letter or email with “Dear ABC Agency.”

Never send out a generic mass email with the email addresses of numerous agencies listed in the “CC” section of the email. No one likes to think they weren’t your first choice and that goes double for agents. It’s also very unprofessional. 

Pay Attention to Detail

Agents like smart actors so, be sure to check every detail such as grammar and spelling, using spell check. If you are mailing photos, how you address the envelope is also important. If you are handwriting the address on the envelope or handwriting your cover letter be sure it is neat and legible.  Do not put your photos in a binder, photo album, or folder. Do not use heart stickers, fancy colored paper, or cute messages on envelopes or inside your package.

Update Your Voicemail and Check Spam Folders

After you’ve taken the time to submit your acting information and you’ve paid attention to every detail, don’t mess it up by having an unprofessional voicemail message or by missing an email.

Your voicemail message should be short and to the point. Your message should state your name and that you will return the call as soon as possible. Speak slowly and enunciate your words when recording. Check your mailbox regularly to make sure it’s not full. Also, check your email spam and junk folders regularly for emails that may have collected there by mistake.

Be a Professional at Every Stage

Remember that acting agencies are looking for a complete package. It takes more than just good looks to be a successful actor. Actors need to be professional and business-like every step of the way. If an agency is trying to decide between you and another actor the more professional actor will always win out. 

Have You Heard of the Bechdel Test?

Have you heard of the Bechdel Test? It measures just how women-friendly mainstream films and fiction really are using a simple 3 question criteria.

Alison Bechdel is an American cartoonist whose graphic memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (this is an excellent memoir, by the way) was adapted as a musical and won a Tony Award for Best Musical in 2015. She is also a 2014 recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Award.

A smart and talented woman, for sure.

But some might argue that she is best known for the Bechdel Test (also called the Bechdel-Wallace test), an indicator of gender bias in film and fiction. This test asks whether a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. (Sometimes the requirement is added that the two women be named.)

Sounds simple, right?

Here’s the shocking part. According to the media industry press, in 2013 only 15% of the top 100 films released had a female protagonist. By June 2014, the numbers had only slightly improved. (For some equally shocking statistics on literary fiction, check out the VIDA Count.)

So what’s so hard about a film or other fiction passing these 3 simple criteria?

1: It must have at least two female characters (and both have names)

2: They must talk to each other. 

3: They must talk to each other about something other than a man.