What to Expect from Your Acting Agent: Roles and Responsibilities
So you’ve reached the point in your career where you’re ready to work with an acting agent and you’ve signed on the dotted line with one in particular.
Now what? How often will you hear from them? What exactly are their roles and responsibilities to you as their client?
Hopefully, your chosen agent has been upfront about most of these things and you have a pretty clear picture of what to expect. After all, ensuring you’re on the same page is the best way to enjoy and retain a good working relationship.
If they haven’t outlined these things, however, and you’re feeling a little left in the dark, we’ve prepared this guide to help you on your way.
What Do Acting Agents Do For Actors?
First up, let’s look at the types of things acting agents generally manage for their clients. Your agent may not do all of these or offer these services to you straight away upon signing.
It is helpful to understand from the start what they will and won’t do as this can go a long way towards avoiding conflict or disappointment in future.
Typically, acting agents:
Submit You For Auditions
Agents will pursue auditions on your behalf, making contact with casting directors and sending them your details.
This may include completing the required submission paperwork electronically or by post alongside the provision of your headshots and resume. Details of your IMDb page or website (if you have them) and any other relevant marketing material may also be put forward.
Pitch You To Industry Leaders
Using their industry connections, most agents spend a lot of time on the phone or emailing industry experts to put you forward for roles and raise your profile.
Through touting your talents and unique qualities to casting directors, directors and producers you are more likely to pick up roles. This can mean securing a role before it is ever advertised for an audition.
Follow-up Call Backs
Undertaking some of the admin, your agent will often follow up on auditions and callbacks for you.
They will note the time and place you need to attend for the callback and make sure you are informed of all these details. Be prepared to attend at short notice and give it your all, your agent will expect nothing less.
Negotiate Pay & Conditions
Perhaps one of the most appealing aspects of having an agent and a role they are best positioned for, is the negotiation of your pay and conditions on each job.
They can often secure a higher rate of pay than you would be able to negotiate by yourself otherwise. They also ensure you are properly catered to and cared for, for the duration of your contract.
Skilled and experienced, they go over every detail including salary, travel arrangements, billing and any special requests you may have.
Once you are an established talent, this could include details regarding your preferred hair and make-up artists, dietary requirements, wardrobe needs and more.
If you are fortunate to be offered a contract renewal for a role, whether this be for a television series, stage production or film, your agent can negotiate for a pay increase.
They also offer advice regarding whether it is a good career move for you and how this may impact the chance of more lucrative roles in future.
Your agent will guide you towards the best decision based on your current situation, but ultimately the final decision is yours to make and be responsible for.
Things Your Agent Is Not Responsible For
The key thing to remember is that your agent is not your life coach or mentor, nor are they responsible for your success. They are a valuable tool that can help advance your career, but the hard work is still yours to do.
Your acting agent’s roles and responsibilities do not include:
Ensuring You’re Presentable
While your agent may make suggestions, your image and how you market yourself is up to you.
If this is something you struggle with, your agent may refer you to a specialist in this area instead.
Telling You Which Media To Pursue
If your acting history is primarily in one field, such as stage, your agent may only put you forward for similar roles.
If you want to diversify, you need to push for this and demonstrate that you are capable of doing so. It is not up to your agent to broaden your career horizons in this way.
Preparing Your Marketing Material
Your headshots, social media, resume, IMBd profile, website or similar are yours to manage. If you are unable to do this or prefer not to, seek out a marketing manager.
Your agent needs these materials to promote you, but they’ll work with what you provide.
Handle Your Networking
Your agent will seek out opportunities for you, but you shouldn’t only rely on them to find you work. You need to be proactive and persistent in building your own industry connections.
Put yourself out there and make yourself known to casting directors, writers, directors and executives and should a role present itself, your agent can then step in as needed to negotiate.
Motivating Or Comforting You
Of course, your agent wants you to succeed, but it is not their job to keep you motivated or to console you if things don’t work out.
If you become unreliable, difficult or problematic to manage, your agent may seek to drop you and find a better prospect.
Remember, agents generally take a 10% cut of your earnings, so expect a level of work commensurate with that. The other 90% is on you!
Position Yourself For Success With The Actors Pulse
With your agent making up just part of a greater whole, it is vital to your success that you invest in your career through other avenues as well.
One of these is to continually learn and hone your craft through acting lessons.
At The Actors Pulse, we best position you to tackle new roles across all forms of media and make valued industry connections.
Additionally, as the leading school for the Meisner technique in the Southern Hemisphere, we are a preferred contact with several leading agencies.
Equip yourself with the best foundation to impress your agent and build your career, contact the Actors Pulse today at 0414 475 515.
Billy Milionis is one of the few Australians to have ever studied under the legendary master teacher, the late Sanford Meisner. Billy has also studied story structure and scene analysis techniques with John Truby and later at UCLA. He has also spent several years doing improvisation in Hollywood with the L.A. Connection. In addition, he trained in the technique of Stella Adler, Practical Aesthetics and Lee Strasberg’s method.