Every sport, career, and relationship has a "sweet" spot -- and in this case, we're referring more to a time-frame than a physical place. So whether you are submitting your headshot to a casting director/producer or you are touching base with your agent, finding the sweet spot in your timing can make all the difference to how you are received. Here are just a few suggestions to bear in mind . . .
Snail mail or email. Monday has three days' worth of mail coming in. Don't time anything you send to arrive on Monday, the shortest attention day. Tuesday, Wednesday and/or Thursday are preferable. Friday is OK, but midweek is preferable.
Phone calls. There is no sweet spot for calling out of the blue. HOWEVER, you CAN create one! In your marketing outreach to an agent, for example, send them your headshot and include a brief cover note (not a letter). Politely say you'd like to call them soon to set up an appointment convenient for them to discuss working with their agency. Then time your envelope to be received midweek and call midday, midweek. CALL. Not the clichéd call everybody is prepared to deflect ("Hi, I'm seeking representation!" or "Is Doug there??"), but a smart call: You call and identify yourself by first name and last name and ask for the person to whom you sent your headshot. Amazingly, identifying yourself first will get you so much further into a company than trying to be anonymous or engage in a game of Who are You. A "gatekeeper" may ask you what this is about. Your reply: "He's expecting my call." After all, you did say in your cover letter you'd be calling, right? It's a little bit cheeky, but in this business . . . So in other words, you're not a stranger calling, placing a cold call. If the "gatekeeper" probes a little further and you're not yet put through, be polite and reiterate what you wrote in your cover note. A pleasant demeanor goes a long way. The whole procedure of getting the appointment is a lengthy but effective explanation. The point being made here is that with a little forethought and creativity, a sweet spot for calling can be created.
Dropping in to drop off headshots. Most "industry" professionals adamantly advise against this. Can anything be more annoying than somebody just showing up? And expecting a warm welcome? And an instant interview/audition? And expecting everybody to drop what they're doing? You obviously risk incurring the office's wrath expecting attention, to be seen, asking questions, wanting to use their bathroom, etc. Would you do that going to CBS or another major network? But, if you like to take risks and insist on walking through that door, take note. Some offices have an assistant or intern stationed near the front door to head off the unexpected visitor. Some offices do not have them. Walk in that door with a big smile, seamlessly drop off the headshot (without having to rummage through your actor's bag looking for it, asking for a stapler, scissors, etc.), inquire to whom you're giving it to and make a quick and graceful exit, wishing them a nice day. That way you will make minimal disruption to the office's activities and hopefully your brief appearance - measured in seconds -- will be on the positive side.
Mondays. Tread lightly. Everybody is coming back from the weekend. Just settling in. Mind still not in work mode (or exhausted from burning the midnight oil all weekend instead of resting). Fires are already starting; crises brewing. Unreasonable clients gearing up. Nobody wants to hear from a stranger wanting something under these circumstances.
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays are far better for plying your needs, and midday for anything is the wiser choice.
Fridays. The "industry"'s had it. Everybody wants to go home, start the weekend. A touch cranky, tired. Not a good time to poke a dragon unless it's regarding a booking. Interestingly enough, Friday afternoons are primetime for wannabe actors to harass the industry. That's when wannabes have some down time and think it's a good time to work on their "career." The level of emails jump, the number of phone calls increase. And walk-ins! It could not be worse timing! It's also an easy way to be forgotten. Even if you do get someone's attention, they are on their way out and aren't likely to pick the thought of you back up on Monday morning (see Monday above). Don't get caught up in the Friday afternoon detritus of the unknowing, who have not been clued in about "Sweet Spots."
Once you know the "Sweet Spots" of our industry and how to work them, you will be pleasantly amazed how productive your efforts can be. No brick walls! A door swinging open is so much nicer.