Whether you want to be in commercials, on TV, or in the movies, a talent agent can help you find work. Talent agents represent actors to help them land roles. They typically have an extensive network of contacts within the industry to help them find roles for actors they represent. Talent agents also can help negotiate your contract. While you can find work without an agent, having the right talent agent will gain you access to opportunities you otherwise couldn’t find. Additionally, by having an agent, casting directors and studios will know you are a professional. So how do you find a talent agent that’s right for you?
Research Potential Agents
Start by contacting performance unions such as SAG-AFTRA. Request a list of licensed talent agents. Licensed agents, also called franchised agents, are approved by unions and therefore more likely to be reputable. If you are a union actor, you may be required to use a franchised talent agent. Just because an agent isn’t licensed doesn’t mean they aren’t reputable. However, be sure to research their work history thoroughly to avoid being scammed. When researching, find out more details about the agency or a specific agent. It’s important to know their location, how long they’ve been in business, and who else they represent.
You want to find a reputable agent to have the best chance of gaining access to quality job opportunities. Don’t forget to talk to industry people you know when you are looking for an agent. Ask fellow actors or teachers if they know the agent. Find out if they would recommend that talent agent.
You may also discover someone you know has a personal connection with an agent. If so, ask if they would recommend you to the agent or if you can mention that you know them when contacting the agent. Connections matter!
Start Contacting Talent Agents
Once you have a list of people, it’s time to start contacting them. Your goal is to obtain an in-person interview, so you both can determine if this will be a good fit. You’ll need to submit a headshot, acting resume, and a cover letter. If you have an acting portfolio, you likely already have all the materials you need. This will be your first impression. Be sure your portfolio is professional. Ensure your printed materials are free of spelling or grammar mistakes.
Check the agent’s or agency’s website to ensure you have all the information they require and follow their submission directions exactly.
Preparing for Interviews
As you wait to hear back, go ahead and prepare for potential interviews. Make sure you have a copy of your portfolio ready to bring with you. You’ll need to perform for the agent when interviewing so have a monologue prepared to recite and practice cold reading from scripts. Remember, you want to find the best agent for you.
Not all agents are a good fit for all actors. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you’re interviewing with an agency, you’ll want to know who will be representing you. You’ll also want to know:
Sometimes finding the right talent agent can take time. It’s hard to wait, but remember you ultimately want to work with someone who is right for you. If you get rejected, learn from the experience. It’s not personal. Sometimes agents realize they represent too many people who are looking for similar roles. Other times an agent may not have enough connections for the type of work you want.
The most important part is to keep learning, trying, and pursuing your dreams. With patience, you will find the talent agent that is best for you.