Seeking Representation in Chicago

Aug 2, 2010 by     No Comments    Posted under: Chicago, Representation, The business

Upon arriving in Chicago three years ago, I immediately hit the streets, the internet, and the phones looking for a day job. After a month of hard work and no results, a good friend suggested a simple course of action.

“Go check out the Italian restaurant on the corner of Belmont and Sheffield,” he said. “They have a ‘Help Wanted’ sign up.”

I toyed with the idea for a few days before finally going down there, but once I had my interview, they practically hired me on the spot!

Well, now I’ve been handed another piece of great advice, and I’m afraid I might be toying around too much again.

In preparation to mail my submission packet to a few agencies in Chicago, I asked a good friend (and incredibly talented actor) if he could take a look at my cover letter and give me a few tips. He gave some amazing pointers, and then suggested that I take a different approach to finding an agent: Ask to interview agents for and build a relationship with them “on the other side of the table, ” which could help lead to representation later on down the road.

In theory, I love the idea! What a great way to separate yourself from the herd, right? Plus, without many impressive credits on my resume, it would get me into the office and let my personality shine (Not to sound too over-confident, but I’m one of those people who, for whatever reason, was blessed with a magnetic, charming presence. Thanks, Mom & Dad!).

Still, I can’t help but feel like I should be submitting the traditional way (i.e. HS, resume, cover letter). That’s the way it’s been done, that’s the way it’s still done, and who am I to think I can go around changing the rules, right?

But then again, that brand of thinking was exactly what kept me from landing a day job three years ago. Is this fate trying to play yet another hand through a close friend? If I take this advice, will all my desires be fulfilled once again?

So here I sit, shirtless, wearing blue and orange zebra-striped pajamas, clinging to a life-giving mug of middle-of-the-road  coffee, and waffling between two very different courses of action.

What’s your experience, dear reader? How did you go about getting an agent? Or, if you are on the representation side of the business, do you have any wisdom to share on the matter?

I should really get dressed. I look like I belong in a Dr. Seuss Serengeti…


PS – At the suggestion of fellow blogger Ben Whitehair, I’ve recently picked up (err…downloaded) a copy of Self Management for Actors to read on my Kindle. The book, by casting director (and friend of the blog) Bonnie Gillespie, is downright amazing! I can’t recommend it enough!