Ask Me: Theater in LA or NYC? Do I need an agent first?

Hi my name is Meredith, I went to school in Los Angeles for a couple of years and hated living in L.A. And I didn’t get so much as an agent there.. I really want to do theater and have won awards and many lead roles in my home town of Reno… My question is, I am thinking of moving to NYC in October but I want an agent before I get there and I have sent about 50 resumes and headshots…. Do I need an agent in NYC or should I just try and get or on my own? I have heard mixed reviews should I keep trying and if so what are good agents to apply to in NY? And I haven’t been sending a demo reel to any of the agents is that really inportant?

Hey Meredith.

Even though theater is on the rise in LA New York is definitely still the place to do it in America. So I appreciate the draw.

In general, I am a big dissuader of waiting to do something until you have all the right components in place. That reeks of procrastination which is another way of sabotaging ourselves. If your impulse is to move to NY then I wouldn’t waste any time. You can figure out all the details once you get here. I wouldn’t say you need an agent to work in theater in NY (except for Major Broadway productions you can find auditions for many shows without an agent) but I would recommend continuing your search for one once you get here – and until you move. Why not? It can’t hurt. They are ultimately very helpful when it comes to booking the big, paying roles. You’ll do a lot of unpaid work in the meantime.

I’ve asked a few of my friends how they got their agents and I’ve heard the same thing from all of them – contacts! They asked someone they knew (who either had an agent or were connected to an agent) for a recommendation and that got them a meeting. Have a think and see if there is anyone you know who is anyway connected to an agent in NYC. You might be surprised. Especially after all that time in LA. Ask around and see what happens. At present I don’t really have any specific agency recommendations for you – I’m still trying to figure that one out for myself.

Once you are in New York and if you are a tenacious person and have initiative you will start finding work. You will sign up with all the relevant online casting services and if you have your Equity card you will go to any and all relevant AEA auditions and pretty soon you will be working with a whole new circle of actors – and you can start to ask them for contacts, etc. Also, once you are performing here you should invite agents and casting directors to come to your shows.

As far as a reel goes I don’t really know any theater casting directors that would need to see it. Reels are mainly for film/TV. So I don’t think it hurts in your case by not having one. Although, I’ve found my reel to be hugely helpful.

Thanks for asking your question!

Hope my answer was helpful.

About The NYC Actor

Angela Dee is a professional actress working in Film, Theatre, TV, Commercials and Voiceovers. She currently lives in New York.

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