Articles for music students for advice and inspiration.
E-mailing opera agents: 5 tips
As you can imagine, we receive a fair few emails from singers looking for representation, even though The Opera Stage isn’t an agency. Having previously been the co-founder of a very successful agency though, I’d like to give a few pointers to what (in my opinion) will get you noticed, and ensure that your email won’t head straight into the dustbin.
First though, make sure you are ready to send your materials to agents. Is your technique sorted? Are you getting interest/roles with professional companies? Do you have some good roles under your belt? Are you prepared to travel a lot for work? If the answer is yes, then it might be time to find an agent to help move your career forward into bigger companies and venues.
Here are my 5 tips for sending emails to agencies:
1. Personalize the email. This is so important. Who are you writing to? Not just which agency, but which person at the agency? Just writing “Dear Sir/Madam” or “Dear Agents”, or even just “Hello” doesn’t really hit the spot. You want to make the agent feel like you are addressing them, so that they feel valued, and you want it to look like you are not just doing a round-robin, but have taken the time to look at the agencies website and done your research. If it is a very small agency, with a couple of people working there you could put both their names. If it’s a large agency with a whole army of employees have a look at who is managing which artists and write to the one that would appear to be dealing with artists in a similar demographic to you.
2. Mention a few things you have coming up, and have done recently. This is useful and acts as a nice bait to get the agent to actually open your CV. You want this to be just a few sentences really, but enough to give an idea. Again, this isn’t a full biog, just a taster.
3. Get the attachments right. Attach a photo and a CV or biog.
With the portrait photo, do make sure it has been reduced in size so it isn’t a giant file direct from the camera. The pic shouldn’t be bigger than 400×600, and no heavier than about 100KB. JPEG format. One or two production photos can be nice too, if they are small. No more than 50KB each though, if you add them.
Send the (nicely designed) CV or biog in PDF format. This is a ‘safe’ format, ensuring it is virus-free, whereas a lot of people are still worried about Word DOC files as they can contain all sorts of baddies. You can save as PDF in Word.
4. Links to audio/video. Personally I prefer artists NOT to include mp3’s as attachments as they tend to be large files, taking a longer time to download as mail and also clogging up inbox memory. For audio it’s far better to provide a few links to online audio. Either on your artist website, or on Soundcloud or something similar. Make sure the audio is recent, well-recorded, and preferably with a recording date stated. Video is even better! And give the link to your absolute best recorded performance first.
5. Invite them to a show. Everyone loves a free ticket, so if you have something coming up in the same city as the agency invite them along. It’s hardly worth it if you are singing chorus or two lines, but if it’s a substantial role and you have already piqued our interest, then we would certainly try to come along to see it, diary allowing.
So, that’s it. Feature in these points and you will be putting yourself forward in a good light. Some agencies hold regular auditions, and you may get invited along to one, or even a private hearing. You will inevitably have to develop a thick skin as you will encounter a lot of rejections along the way, but if you feel you are ready, and have your materials well prepared, get mailing.