Artist friend wants to know how to find an agent
January 27, 2017 5:31 PM   Subscribe

I have a friend who is a laser show artist. He's won multiple international laser show awards, and he does really good work. He wants to take his art to the next level, start doing big projects and getting paid real money for his work. He'd like to find an agent. I joked with him and suggested he contact CAA, and that led him to ask me to ask the hive mind: What are strategies and tips he could use to find an agent for his art to help him forward his artistic career?
posted by hippybear to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would reverse engineer this -- pick an example sort of event he'd want to work, figure out who'd be in charge of booking someone like him for that event, and then figure out how they book people (probably by asking them). It's likely there are event agencies or whatever that specialize in this kind of thing.
posted by schadenfrau at 5:51 PM on January 27, 2017

Evil Twin represents a friend of mine who is an internationally known digital projection artist. It's at least a place to start :)
posted by ananci at 7:05 PM on January 27, 2017

Is his work more performance-based, like he provides laser shows for raves & bands, or more gallery/museum installation type work?
posted by soundguy99 at 4:41 AM on January 28, 2017

He sort of does both things. The awards he's won are for designing pieces to go with specific musical tracks, similar to what you might see at a planetarium laser show only much more detailed than the typical fare. He's also done some installations, like he did a large set of decorative laser boxes that were installed at a botanical garden for a few weeks.

I'm trying to avoid crossing any lines of promotion here. I'll see if he will let me post some links in my profile to his work so people here can see what he does.
posted by hippybear at 5:54 AM on January 28, 2017

Hmmm. Coupla things come to mind;

He should put together a portfolio and send it to "event production"/"event planner"/"stage lighting"/"concert production" companies in his area, and then follow up with phone calls. There are all sorts of events (dance parties, corporate parties, non-profit fundraisers) where a laser show could be a cool add-on, and it would be paid work.

If he can come up with like an hour long complete show including music, he should contact booking agents, who can get him gigs at . . . . well, I'm not quite sure where, but hopefully the booking agents will have some idea (colleges will pay for all sorts of entertainment for their students.) It might be worth it to contact booking agents even without a "show" - most bookers seem to prefer just having a complete act they can sell, but he might find a couple willing to work with him on developing an act.

I don't know much about getting installation work, but there are probably at least a few arts organizations in his area, either non-profit and/or government, and a variety of spaces (maybe corporate, maybe public) where a laser installation would be cool, and he should contact the arts orgs and whoever owns/manages the potential spaces.

I realize none of the above is much about getting an agent, and I suspect he wants an agent so he doesn't have to do the "sales" work himself, but it kind of sounds like he hasn't had many paid gigs yet, and I think if he hustles up more of those he'll look more attractive to a talent agency. Because then it will be more obvious to them that they can make money off a pretty niche creative endeavor.

Or he can just send a portfolio to various talent agencies, see if anyone bites.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:45 AM on January 28, 2017

Okay, I have links to the three big award winners by my friend in my MetaFilter profile now, for those who are interested in seeing those.
posted by hippybear at 7:06 AM on January 28, 2017

IMO as a creative professional in a field where artist representatives are common, my advice is that if your friend cannot get any paid gigs on his own, he is not ready for a rep. I say this because if he can't think of any way to market his own work (ie. describe it to other people as a way to solve their problems), or find a niche that people are willing to pay for on his own, I don't think a rep is going to be much help (or interested).

If he can't identify reps himself, this just speaks to the same problem as not being able to find any paying gigs. Unfortunately there is no magic bullet from 'I make cool stuff' to 'I get paid to make cool stuff' that does not involve learning at the very least some basics of hustling yourself. He has to learn how to describe and sell his skills/talents and show that he can actually deliver a job before anyone is going to take a chance on him.
posted by bradbane at 2:12 PM on January 28, 2017

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