Dear West End Producer: ‘What is the best way to get creative agents in to see original work?’
— Anthony Orme (@Anthony_Orme) May 31, 2016
Bribery. I recommend cash, wine or tickets for a show of their choosing (it will always be the most expensive one). Agents can be tricky beasts – not only do they spend most of their time being pestered for representation, they also go out at least three nights a week to the theatre (or if they are literary agents they read at least one book a year). It is a very trying and taxing job, so anything that makes them feel special goes down very well.
However, after getting a gift for an agent, it may be hard to get it to them. Many agents have security guards following them wherever they go – just in case a desperate actor tries to grab them and hand over their CV. I have seen numerous actors being stunned with a taser when trying to speak to an unsuspecting Curtis and his Brown. Also, getting a gift past a grumpy receptionist can be impossible – mainly because they will steal the gift for themselves.
So what I suggest is this: stalk them. I know it sounds ridiculous, but good agents are such a scarce breed that even the BBC is doing a David Attenborough special on them called Rare Animals of the World – The Agent.
You should stand outside agents’ offices and discreetly follow them on their journey from work. See which bars they frequent, which plays they watch, and which massage parlours they visit on a Tuesday. Then, when you have tracked their every move, it is time to cleverly use some Derren Brown-style tricks of suggestion. Leave a trail of your headshots on their journey home, have some of your friends loudly discuss how good you are, have your name written on urinal walls and have several large posters of your show put on the side of local buses. The agent will soon want to come and see your work.
When the agent finally comes to your show (or reads your work), you can then use some different special methods to seduce them. Stare into their eyes and count down from 10, then say things like “as my agent”, “when you represent me” and “I will be on your client list” – followed by a loud clap and slap of their face. This will make your words absorb into their brain, and they will have no recollection of you putting them into a trance-like state (you can also have some fun and make them pretend to be Elaine Paige, or request they sing Starlight Express in the style of Les Mis, dear).
The following morning, I guarantee you will have a call from the agent in question, wanting to see more of your work and offering you representation.
Obviously, this technique takes time and commitment, so you may want an easier option. For this, all you have to do is get in a show and email them an invite, telling them a bit about yourself and why you want them to see your work. But only do this as a last resort – it doesn’t really make you memorable. You need to stand out! So bribe them, seduce them, stalk them, and hypnotise them. Works every time, dear.
Send questions to your dear agony aunt via Twitter @westendproducer
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