Read these 11 Acting Talent Agencies Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Acting tips and hundreds of other topics.
When it comes to assessing agencies, it's wise to pay attention to your instincts. If you're unsure whether an agency is on the up-and-up, here is a general rule to follow: Agencies and management companies should never charge a fee to represent you. (That includes mailings!) Their job is to find you auditions and get paid in a percentage (generally 10%) from your earnings. Also beware of pressure to sign a contract right away. Don't be swayed by photos of celebrities on office walls; just because they are hanging there doesn't mean this agency represents them! Finally, search the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if the agency you are interested in signing with has any reports filed against it.
An effective acting agent should have a clear idea of what roles you are looking for. In order to develop this rapport, you need to help him/her get a better understanding of who you are. Ask the agent how s/he sees your career right now and where it could head, realistically. Find out what the agent expects you to do. S/he usually won't have a pat answer, but this will help to start a conversation that will allow you to figure out the boundaries of your relationship.
Unfortunately, there are many scams geared toward vulnerable beginning actors. In larger cities, you're more prone to find scam agencies or management companies that offer representation for a fee. Remember: You should never have to pay for representation. Ever. A good agent or manager earns his/her pay by finding you work and taking a percentage (usually 10%) of your earnings for that project. The only thing that you should be spending is your time on developing your craft. Any agent worth his/her salt will recognize that when s/he sees you.
Watch out for a potential agent or manager who demands that you go to a certain photographer to have headshots taken before s/he will represent you. Certainly it makes sense that an agent will have a suggestion or two of good photographers who have done well for their clients in the past. The giveaway is if your signing with that manager or agent hinges on whether or not you use his/her suggested photographer. Do not give into the pressure if you have another photographer in mind or even if you want to do some of your own research. Your agent shouldn't care as long as you look your best in your photos!
Honesty is an important part in building a relationship with your acting agent. It helps to foster a sense of mutual respect that will insure that your agent aggressively pursues your interests in the future. Be honest about the roles that you feel are the most interesting. Don't feel bad about turning down a role that doesn't suit you. But keep in mind that your agent is working for you. S/he wants what is best for you as well; that's why you decided to work together. Be patient. A good relationship with your agent is something that is earned over time.
Research what types of clients are being represented by the acting agencies you are looking at. Are the represented actors similar to you in type, goals, and ambitions? If so, then the agency might be a good fit for you. Make sure, however, that your agent is not representing too many actors who share your "type." Look at how much competition there is within the acting agency. An agency with a take no prisoners attitude may produce solid net results, but they may not represent you fairly.
You need to get a bead on an acting agent's connectivity. Any successful agent is well connected to the industry, and you, as a potential client, have a right to know with whom they work. Ask how many casting directors they know personally, and which ones they do the most work with. It doesn't hurt to ask if the acting agent is connected to any producers, directors, and writers. If your agent is very well connected, it's a good chance s/he will send you for auditions or interviews that will land you a job more readily.
When you look for potential acting agents, find out how many clients they represent. This will give you some idea of the size of their business. It will also give you an idea of how much work they will have to do while they are representing you (and their other clients). If an acting agency is handling many actors, then you may represent only a small part of their business. With large and reputable agencies, this is not necessarily a bad thing, as top names in the industry often have high status attached to them. Just make sure the agent who is representing you is not so booked s/he can't remember your name!
Always be kind and respectful to agents. The industry isn't that big, and agents are well connected. Leaving a bad impression with one acting agent can spoil your chances with others. If you impress one agent, she or he may recommend you to their colleagues. Remember that many acting agents were once actors like yourself. They are creative people, and they work in the same industry that you do. Also keep in mind that the more you respect them and work hard for them, the more they will work for you. Respecting yourself and your auditors reflects well on the agent; it will make him/her want to send you out for more auditions and interviews.
Rossreports.com is a great place to get starting looking for acting agencies. The website lists members of the industry by region, medium, and genre. You need a good idea of what your areas of interest are before you begin. Start with your region, and begin researching acting agencies that represent actors of your type. Make a list of possible candidates, and then get ready to do your research. Ask your contacts if anyone they know has worked with the agencies on your list. Nothing beats actually pounding the pavement and visiting each agency on your own.
Ask your potential acting agent how many clients they submit each day or week. This answer isn't always accurate, but you'll get an idea of how hard the acting agency is working for its clients. Before selecting an acting agency, inquire about how many clients receive callbacks and bookings. This, compared with the first statistic, lets you know how successful the agent's lobbying is. It also gives you a rough idea of the skills of their client base.