Getting started in the entertainment or media industry isn’t always easy. Before we go on – if you’ve stumbled across this as an aspiring TV presenter or a sound engineer – you’re probably going to be slightly disappointed – this article is aimed at artists and performers in the acrobatic world…
If you’re involved in an acrobatic sport (and we really do include everything with an element of acrobatics here), we’ll assume you are of a good standard and for the sake of this article, do not need any advice regarding training, skills or assistance with improving your ability (wouldn’t that be nice!)
With more participation in acrobatic sports, especially those that are not governed and have a competition structure (such as parkour, freerunning and tricking), it has become harder for directors, producers, casting directors and even some agents to know who the best and most suitable people are, and that’s only if you’ve done everything right and ended up in front of their eyes in the first place – far too often the best aren’t found, and therefore aren’t used.
We should also say that we strongly believe those who get involved in an acrobatic sport solely to make a career from it almost always fail (we’re yet to discover one anyway). Do you think that the stunning performances seen in places such as Cirque du Soleil are made up of artists who started out with that as their goal? No, they loved what they did, more often than not they were introduced to it involuntarily by their parents and at the time of their training, their focus was solely on becoming better and winning competitions, not how they could create a career. Of course, as they develop and opportunities are revealed, goals and motivations change, but at least they have the support of a solid foundation.
Getting seen by the right people is the key, and that is definitely easier said than done! Although we regularly scout talent, even we can’t be everywhere all of the time and therefore if you have a talent and an ambition to enter the entertainment world you need to start looking around and get some materials ready.
What you need…
At the very least, a well written CV is a must, especially if you were a competitive sportsperson. Alongside all of the other regular advice that goes with CVs, the key thing is to detail competition and performance experience – don’t go crazy though, just put your very top achievements down – we’ve received CVs that are pages long, including county level competitions and club trophies – people only need some evidence of the level you achieved.
CVs can sometimes be enough to get an audition, especially if you’re going through a reputable agent who knows you as that alone can carry some weight. It is becoming less and less common though, as realistically and understandably, media such as photos and video is what you really need.
If you haven’t seen our tips and advice for creating a showreel, you really should check it out – it’s the most common thing that makes us and everyone else think ‘yes’, or ‘no’, and the biggest mistake people make.
Photos are also essential. A good CV with 4-5 photos can often be more than enough if you have competitive credentials in place. We won’t go in to detail here about what your photos should be, but as a golden rule, make sure they’re up to date, not 6 months ago when you were 10Kg lighter (or heavier), or before you got your hair cut – it really needs to represent you. Include head shots, some full body shots and some action ones if available. Also, don’t go sending huge files – some emails reject them.
You may be surprised to hear, especially if you’re familiar with what we do, that getting a website isn’t exactly top of our recommendations. It’s a fantastic tool and we set up the majority of our managed artists with one, but unless you have the budget to get one set up and designed for you, it can backfire.
Seeing a tacky, hard to read website results in people leaving it very quickly and that happens far too often. Bear in mind agents are often on the road. Can you really afford to spend the time, effort and money ensuring everything on your site looks great not only on a computer screen, but on mobile devices too?
If you can present a CV, photos and a video in a clear and simple way without doing it online, stick to that. If you’re a part time web developer or have the cash to get one, go for it, otherwise, don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world.
We don’t really need to say too much about social media, it’s quite obvious and is an incredibly powerful tool when used correctly. Just be careful those photos of you having a great night out don’t make their way around too much either!
Well, here we are, at the really critical point. We should emphasise that any materials you have prepared to a good standard, otherwise everything from here could be in vain.
The hardest part is getting your foot in the door, a door, any door. Don’t blanket email all of the time, we see blanket and generic emails every day. Get in touch directly and if you can send over a couple of things, your chance of someone actually looking at it goes up. Look around online at directories, speak to some agents, speak to friends or people you know who are already in the entertainment world.
If your materials are of a good standard and of course, you are too, getting that first foot through the door is the hardest bit (although don’t think it’s all plain sailing after that!).
What it really comes down to…
This last section really is at risk of making everything we’ve just written redundant, but it would be wrong of us not to write it. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again - content is king.
If you’re of an exceptional standard, a talented, hardworking individual who can take direction, gets on with people well, the chances are someone like us would have found you already (hopefully), and if we hadn’t, a short video from your mate’s camera phone will be enough for us to spot the talent and get in touch.
Of course, there are ways to improve your chances, increase your visibility and get yourself seen. That’s what this whole article is about, but at the end of the day, your ability, personality and potential is what counts and will be what means you make it.