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Who Are These Agents, Anyway?

One of the most frequently asked questions in my studio, surprisingly, isn’t photography related. It isn’t headshot related, and it isn’t related to looking good on camera.

It’s “How do I get an agent?”

I hear this question from young actors, older actors new to the business, and from parents who have a child just getting started.

The short answer? Hard work and patience… like everything else in an actor’s life.

The long answer is a little more complicated, and involves asking yourself a lot of questions. Questions like “Why do I want an agent? Why would an agent want me? What do I think an agent will do for me? Am I ready for an agent at all?”

The reality is that most actors are not ready to be represented by an agent… and until you are, it’s a waste of time to pursue one. It’s hard to explain how to know when you’re ready, but a big part of it is: are you already booking a lot of things on your own? If the answer is no, then honestly, you should worry more about getting into open call auditions, and getting cast instead of worrying about an agent.

If the answer is yes I’m getting cast all the time, then maybe you should start looking!

But how do you find an agent, and which agencies should you pursue?

LA Casting Director Mark Sikes has two recent posts up on his blog that I really like, addressing this topic. The first post, Kiss a Lot of Frogs, reminds actors that landing a good agent is a process… and it can take time, work, and patience. The second post, Agencies A-Z, outlines the tiers of agencies out there in the Entertainment World (yes, some agents are better than others).

Both posts are worth reading, and give a little more insight into the murky world of finding an agent.

Another good place to start is at your bookstore. K. Callan has a series of books that give valuable insight into specific agent offices–and while they aren’t a definitive guide, they do allow a savvy actor to have a jumping-off point for searching out a good agent.

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