Every actor knows that agent representation is crucial in establishing a professional presence in the city. Representation is the key to commercial, film, and television work around town, and I’ve already had some wonderful opportunities through my agent at Lily’s Talent. Below are some tips on submitting as well as contact information for all of the prominent agencies in Chicago.
First, the tips:
1. Unless an agency requests emails, always provide a hard copy submission.
2. Include a cover letter, professional headshot/resume, and SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope).
3. If available, provide an acting reel on DVD; the agent is able to pop that disk into their laptop, which is an automatic audition upon receipt.
4. Keep every submission neat, concise, and professional.
5. After submitting, remain relaxed and optimistic.
Next, the agencies:
actors talent group inc.
Fine Arts Building
410 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 733
Chicago, IL 60605
Ambassador Talent Agents, Inc.
333 N. Michigan Ave. Suite 910
Chicago, IL 60601
Attn: New Talent
Big Mouth Talent, Inc.
900 N. Franklin Street
Chicago, IL 60610
456 North May Street
Chicago, IL 60642
Gill Hayes Talent Agency
2558 W 16th Street, 2nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60608
Gray Talent Group, Inc.
727 S. Dearborn St., Suite 312
Chicago, IL. 60605
Grossman & Jack Talent
33 W Grand Avenue
Chicago, IL 60654
Lily’s Talent Agency
1017 W. Washington Blvd., Ste. 4F
Chicago, IL 60607
Paonessa Talent Agency, LLC
3354 N. Paulina Suite 202
Chicago, IL 60657
Shirley Hamilton Talent
333 East Ontario Street Suite 302
Chicago, IL 60611
58 W Huron Street
Chicago, IL 60654
Agencies receive stacks of submissions every week, so it may take some time to hear a response. And success might not arrive upon the first round of submissions, so stay enthusiastic and resubmit every year until an agency is interested. Continue building the acting resume and gain as many connections as possible. Opportunities will arise with persistence and positivity.
Auditions don’t have to be stressful. When you really think about it, casting directors WANT you to succeed; it makes their job easier! Directors and actors are on the same team, so there’s absolutely no need to feel intimidated. On the contrary, the best piece of advice I’ve ever received on auditioning is the following: enter the room as if you are presenting a gift.
Upon walking into your audition, give directors the gift that they are looking for: yourself. When you possess that secret – that gift – you will enter the room with confidence and ease, knowing that you are satisfying their every need. This graceful presence will calm the room, creating a comfortable atmosphere in which everyone feels safe.
If you’re acting professionally, you already know that you’ve got talent, so remain honest and relaxed. Your gift to the room is yourself. Enjoy giving it.
Early in my theatrical career, I often relied upon exaggeration to tell a story. This overcompensation certainly stemmed from my improvisational and children’s theatre background, and it was over the top and exhausting. I quickly learned that an actor simply doesn’t need to overwork during a performance. Instead, one should utilize two words to shape and define their technique: economy and ease.
By employing economy, actor can focus on succinct, specific choices to define their character. The goal is simplicity. One need not be boisterous in order to sell a performance. Working from the core, an actor can truthfully play their character’s objective, wearing the character as a thin veil. The actor should make specific choices and maintain a razor-sharp focus on them.
In working with ease, the goal is to achieve an essence of grace. An effective, constructive kinesthetic awareness grants a relaxed and graceful state of being. Thus, the actor is free to create a truthful character and honestly react to their acting partner in moment-to-moment responses.
Economy and ease will free the actor, granting them the ability to effectively communicate a play’s message without getting in the way of it. An actor will simply declare their objective within a scene and speak their lines with pure intention, relaxing and allowing the play do all of the work.
Remember, keep it simple and easy.
Some thoughts on art, life, and theatre. Stay positive.