Acting Magazine Articles



An Agent Speaks:

Using Referrals to Get An Agent

(By Tony Martinez, A Los Angeles Talent Agent,
Author of An Agent Tells All)


I never, ever ignore referrals. If someone in the business asks me to meet an actor, Iíll do it. Itís a matter of respect. And now that Iíve done that person a favor, I can ask them to do something for me. Thatís what keeps the wheels spinning here in Hollywood.

Rule #1

            Now, the first rule about referrals is that they have to be real. You canít just make them up. If you say that a casting director suggested you contact me, I will give that person a call to confirm your statement. And he damn better know you. If he doesnít, you have now pissed off an agent AND a casting director. Not a good idea.

Rule #2

             The second rule is that the person has to actually pick up the phone and call me. If an acting teacher tells you itís ok to use her name in your cover letter, thatís not good enough. Sorry. Itís too easy.

            The teacher is probably just being nice to you. She has to go the extra mile and contact me directly. She really needs to put herself and her reputation on the line.Why? Agents are judged by whom they represent? Referrals work the same way. Everyone in show business is judged by whom they endorse. If someone refers an idiot to me, then that person becomes an idiot too.

             Did you ever see the movie ďDonnie BrascoĒ? Thereís a scene where Pacino introduces Johnny Depp to his mob friends. He makes a point of saying ďthis is a friend of mineĒ. In other words, he is saying that this guy can be trusted because heís endorsing him.

            The entertainment industry is the same way. So if someone is serious about helping you out with a referral, they have to contact me directly. Thereís no other way.

            Keep in mind that a referral doesnít always have to be from someone in the industry. I get calls from friends all the time. The conversation usually starts with, ďyou probably hate when people do this but I know an actor whoís looking for an agent and I was thinkingÖĒ

            Sure, Iíll meet the actor. Why not? Thatís what friends are for. Iíve taken meetings based on referrals from friends, lovers, doctors, and even my mom. Theyíre not as valuable as a professional referral but once youíre in the door, you never know what might happen.

             Besides, I ainít saying no to my mom!



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