What To Look For In An Acting Agent – A Comprehensive Guide
Have you decided you’re ready to take your career to the next level by engaging an acting agent? If so, it is important to take time to find the right one.
There are so many agencies to choose from. Simply picking the most well-known one is not necessarily conducive to a good working relationship or the achievement of your goals.
There are several things you should consider before deciding to ensure it is the right fit for you. To help you on your way, here are our insights as industry experts.
Choosing An Acting Agent In 7 Easy Steps
First things first, yes, you can pursue a career as an actor without having an agent. There are no rules stating you must have an agent to secure roles.
Having said that, the speed at which your career progresses can be largely influenced by whether or not you have one. So what does an agent do and how does this support your career growth and goals?
Let’s take a look.
1. What Is Their Speciality?
Most acting agencies will specialise in a certain field. Some will be more well-known for commercials and television whereas others may focus on film or stage.
Be sure to check that their specialty aligns with your preferences or you may struggle to secure work. Additionally, signing on with an agent that has limited experience in your niche could see your career stall, rather than advance.
2. Look For Diversity
Bias regarding age, gender, race and sexual orientation among other things can all be present in an acting agency. A great agency is committed to representing a diverse client base and that will not pigeonhole you or pass judgement based on these things.
Where possible, look at who an agency represents and seek confirmation that they are actively inclusive. The last thing you want is to choose your ideal agency only to discover you don’t fit their preferred profile.
3. Review Their History
How long has the agency been around? Do they have a proven track record of client success? These are important questions.
Successful agencies will gladly boast about their longevity, famous clients, recent bookings and any valuable network connections they have. Transparency in these things not only makes them look great but draws more success to them.
If their website is lacking in details about these things or they avoid giving you this information when asked, proceed with caution. This is most definitely a red flag.
4. Check Their Union And Organisation Affiliations
Legitimate agencies that are committed to the fair and safe treatment of their clients will usually be aligned with relevant unions or organisations.
These include but are not limited to:
- The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) in Australia works to protect and advocate for creative professionals. This union provides ethical guidelines and advocates for the rights of actors and other industry professionals.
- The Australian Entertainment Industry Association (AEIA) governs how entertainment industry professionals and their employees operate.
5. Seek Insider Information
No matter how great an agency looks on the surface, first-hand experience and advice are always more reliable.
If you have friends in the industry who are currently represented, ask them about their agency experiences. Even if they do not have experience with an agent you are interested in, chances are someone in their network does, so it pays to ask around.
6. Read The Fine Print
Most agencies will have a submission and representation policy that guides how they will interact with you once you sign up. Look closely at all the terms and conditions including how they intend to get paid and at what percentage.
Be sure to note whether you are free to apply for auditions directly once under their agency and if there are any rules regarding changing your appearance. Most contracts will be for a period of 12 months and should outline clearly what the termination conditions are.
If anything seems out of place, such as a high commission percentage of over 20%, restrictive multi-year contracts, high upfront fees or mandatory headshots at your expense – think twice.
These are all considered to be poor business practices and no well-respected agency operates this way.
7. Trust Your Gut
Intuition is a marvellous thing and it can be very helpful when choosing an acting agent. Your agent could be ticking all the right boxes on paper, but what if you do not feel they genuinely care about you and your career goals?
The best agent for you is one you feel you can trust. You are placing your career in their hands and you need to be comfortable with the direction they will take.
Finding an agent that is excited to represent you and takes you seriously is just as important as all the other steps. No matter how highly recommended an agency may be, if at any time you feel pressured, uncomfortable or disrespected, they are not for you.
Preparing Yourself To Sign With An Agent
Part of securing a good agent is making sure you are an appealing prospect. Remember, your agency’s success relies on its ability to sell you to casting directors.
An agency does not have to sign you and they frequently reject applications from actors they feel are not suited to them.
This is most often due to an actor not having the appropriate level of experience or skill that an agent is looking for. To ensure you are the type of actor an agency wants on their books you should:
Whether it’s doing commercials, working as an extra, in community theatre or roles on stage or film, the more experience you have on your resume, the better. Agents prefer to represent clients with experience as it gives them more to work with and shows commitment.
Continue To Learn
Investing in ongoing acting classes is something that agents and casting directors alike appreciate.
Continued study means new skills are being learned and techniques are perfected, making you more likely to secure roles as well as being a better candidate for agents.
How The Actors Pulse Can Help
At The Actors Pulse, we offer unmatched expertise and training in the Meisner Technique. With an American-Style approach to acting, our classes prepare you for roles in film, television and on stage both here and overseas.
Learn how to tap into your instincts for truly authentic performances that will see you succeed in auditions and make you a sought-after talent by agencies. Call 0414 475 515 today to learn more.
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.