Gaining representation is not easy, even in the best of times. You might have been acting since a very young age, but without professional experience, you could still be quite green when it comes to the industry as a whole. Excelling at your craft and being knowledgeable about the industry are the first steps to finding work, but they don't guarantee a career. Many aspiring actors seek representation too soon, and if you're reading this, while you might not consider yourself inexperienced, should you apply to agents now, or, should you wait? Here's some advice that may help how to get an acting agent UK.
First, work on your talent. Attend classes, study your peers, and compare your performances. Learn!
Once you think you're ready, start auditioning. Be prepared to find your own auditions initially. Use websites such as Starnow, The Mandy Network, Backstage and The Casting Network. Don't be in too much of a rush to land a starring role, these things take time, building a career is a marathon, not a sprint. Go for anything and everything to start off with, auditioning is a skill in itself and requires practice. Even if you're not interested in the project, attend the audition anyway. You'll be nervous, and learning to harness those nervousness will pay off later when auditions become higher in quality.
Go to the theatre, study the actors in your favorite films and TV shows. Observe what these individuals do behind the scenes or on set that you might not be aware of. How do they prepare? What challenges do they face when performing?
Watch short films, attend short film festivals, and try to contact the directors of your favourite shorts. Ask them about their upcoming projects, tell them you're a fan, and attempt to secure an audition for their next short film. This approach benefits you in two ways:
If you land a role in a short film, it may be featured at a festival, and your performance or the film itself might receive an award nomination, or you may even win. (This would be an excellent time to reach out to agents).
Secondly, you can create a strong showreel by acting in short films and a strong showreel in this day and age is an absolute necessity. Once you have a decent reel, you can start sending it to agents and casting directors.
As you build your body of work and add credits to your resume, choose the right moment to approach agents. Strike when you have something to talk about! Many agents won't respond because they receive numerous applications per day, but some will. Research all agents and examine the work they secure for their actors via their websites ... educate yourself! Learn about the agents, who they are, where they work. Use Spotlight's directory (Contacts) to find a comprehensive list of all agents in the UK. Apply filters and focus on agents who are members of the Personal Managers Association (PMA). Being a part of the PMA doesn't guarantee quality but it is a good sign, and will cut the number of agents you need to learn about down to a manageable amount.
If you are just starting out and want a good place to learn and harness your talent, why not come and audition for our classes. We are a part of Middleweek Newton Talent Management, one of the UK's leading agents and offer industry-led screen acting classes. All classes are in the evening and work around education or your day job, come and join your peers and get involved.