How to Find the Right Talent Agent
If you've long-dreamed of entering the acting business, or you've been building up your portfolio for some time now, you should know that finding the ideal agent to represent your talent is no easy feat. Not only do you have to seek out opportunities that will get agents to notice you, but you'll also need to ensure that the agent you choose is reputable, experienced, and capable of expanding your career.
Typically, agents get dozens of enquiries from aspiring actors every day, and most of this correspondence comes from amateur actors without any proper credits, resume, training, or even the right headshot. If you want a chance of meeting and engaging a truly respectable talent agent, then you need to know not only how to get in touch with them, but how to represent yourself. Following, we'll cover some of the most important steps in seeking out the agent that's right for you.
Step 1: Understand What an Agent Actually Is
For those who are unsure, talent agents are professionals who help to find you performances, commercials, music videos, and photo-shoots that can fill out your resume and inject life into your acting career. Although they may not cost anything to hire upfront, agents typically make between 15-20% of whatever you earn through a gig. Your agent will negotiate the various work contracts that you come across, and help to secure auditions and opportunities intended to advance your career. However, this doesn't mean that all agents are the same.
In order to find the right agent, you need to target specific agents with experience in the areas you want to pursue. Learn about the other clients your potential agent may represent and which areas of the talent businesses they work best in — the more you understand about your agent, the more you will be able to select one that plays to your strengths.
Step 2: Do Your Research
Once you know exactly which kind of agent you're looking for, you'll come to realize that there are a lot of different agents out there, meaning that you need to narrow the selection down to those who will be a good fit for you. Look at the websites of the agents you're considering working with, and above all make sure that they're legitimate and certified.
If you know classmates, friends, or fellow performers that have used agents in the past, don't be afraid to ask them for their references and opinions on the professionals they've worked with. If they provide a good review, you can always ask them to pass your picture, reel, or resume along to their representatives on your behalf.
Step 3: Know How to Market Yourself
Once you've made a list of agents you might like to work with, you'll need to make sure that they're interested in working with you. This means investing in yourself, with professional headshots, video clips showing your talent, and an extensive resume.
Don't forget to make the most of social media to maximize your potential. Facebook and Twitter offer you an opportunity to engage with agents and companies that could accelerate your career in a variety of different ways. What's more, YouTube provides the perfect platform for you to showcase your talent to a wide audience, without having to spend a huge amount of money.
Step 4: Build Up Experience
Plenty of upcoming actors complain about the difficulties involved with getting an agent — but when you study what they've accomplished over the last few years, they haven't actually attended any events where an agent might attend, or done anything to pad their resume. You can't get an agent without putting in the hard-work, so find short films, plays, amateur music videos, and make your mark in the professional talent world wherever you can.
Considering the fact that we currently live in a time wherein a global audience exists at your fingertips, through the medium of online entertainment, you could even become your own producer, designing YouTube videos to maximize your exposure. Whatever you choose to do, make sure that you get your name out there as a reliable and talented worker.
Step 5: Don't Forget to Network
Finally, speak to as many performers as you can, and start building a network of musicians and actors that may be able to give you guidance in building your career. Not only will you be able to use these connections for tips on improving your craft, but they'll also provide a useful avenue through which to meet agents.
Make sure that you offer your own benefits to the performers that you meet, however - as they're more likely to stick their neck out for you if they feel you've done something for them. If you hear about open calls for actors, tell your performer friends rather than keeping the information to yourself.
Try, and Try Again
You may find that you need to approach a number of different agents before you find one that is perfect for your specific needs. However, remember that a performer's life is one that requires a thick skin, passion, and serious dedication. If your first agent encounter doesn't work out, keep searching until you find the one that does.