This is what a top-level Talent Agent had to say about this question:
“The process is simple. First, I always meet one on one with potential clients. This gives me a chance to really get to know the person. If that goes well, I ask the actor to come back and meet the other agents. It’s essential that everyone be in agreement. One agent should never try to convince the others to sign someone.
And that’s basically it. The only problem is actors tend to be their own worst enemy. Believe it or not, actors seeking representation are always convincing me NOT to sign them. Pretty depressing, right?
I’m always amazed by how much effort actors put into getting a meeting with me but none of you ever know how to behave once you’re actually in my office.
Before we tackle this subject, let’s make something clear. I want to like you. It’s my job to sign actors and if you’re sitting in my office, that means you did something right. Maybe I noticed your submission. Maybe someone referred you. Or maybe I saw your work in a showcase. Whatever it was, something positive happened to get your butt into that chair. So don’t turn a positive into a negative. You’ve got 15 minutes to make an impression. That’s 900 seconds. You have to use that time wisely.
So how should you behave in my office? Well, think of it this way. Meeting with an agent is like a first date. You’ve got two people in a room. They’re sizing each other up. And they’re both wondering if it’s going to go any further.
Now ask yourself this: what’s the worst thing you can do on a first date?
Answer: Talk about yourself.
There’s nothing worse than being stuck on a date with someone who spends the whole night going on and on about themselves. It’s the same thing in a meeting. I tend to tune out actors who waste their time by doing a non-stop monologue about who they are and what they want.
So don’t play into the stereotype of the narcissistic, self-involved actor. It’s dull. It’s boring. And worst of all, it doesn’t give me a chance to really get to know you.
Instead, walk into that office and create an atmosphere where you can both get to know each other as people. I have to forget that you’re an actor seeking representation. That’s boring. Instead, I need to see you as an individual. I have to get a sense of who you really are outside the world of show business.
How do you do this? Easy. Try to have a normal conversation. Maybe there’s something in my office that catches your eye. Or maybe you just saw a great movie. Whatever. The idea is to get into a give and take situation where you’re talking about anything but acting. This will give me a chance to get to know the real you.
I once met with a young lady who had “tarot card reader” listed on her resume under Special Skills. It just so happens that I love anything having to do with the occult. So we started talking about it and the next thing you know, we’re both sitting on the floor and she’s giving me a reading. As a result, we really got to know each other and I ended up representing her for many years.
Now that’s what I call a good meeting.
Remember – it’s easy for an agent to pass on an actor seeking representation. We do it every day. But saying no becomes just a little bit harder when we’ve spent 15 minutes getting to know you as a human being. And that might just be enough to get you signed as a client.”