What are the Pros and Cons of Having a Talent Agent?

Discover Casting Calls
Find Your Next Audition, Make Your Perfect Role a Reality!
Find Auditions

There is one thing actors obsess over — and it is getting an agent. They don’t know why they need one or how to get one, but everyone is pretty sure they're acting career is going to skyrocket once that box is filled in. Of course, an agent can come in pretty handy. They can undoubtedly eliminate a whole lot of paperwork and even open a few doors. Agents aren’t for everyone, however. The vast majority of newer actors and also some more experienced ones don’t need to be in the market for an agent.
Here is a list of pros & cons of having one:

The Advantages of Having an Acting Agent

  • There's someone who can negotiate on your behalf from a position of higher power and respect;
  • You will have someone on your team who can support you emotionally when you have to handle rejections;
  • You will have someone on your side who can help you get auditions for legitimate productions;
  • You will have someone on your team who can boost your reputation and credibility — the more successful actors are the ones with agents;
  • You will have a business mentor of sorts who can help you understand to a greater extent the various entertainment contracts you may be presented with.

Useful Links: Become Plus-Size Model

Disadvantages of Talent Management

  • You have to give them 10% of your earnings, and sometimes for years after the particular booking;
  • You often have to sign an exclusive contract with them which would prohibit your working freelance with other agents;
  • Your agent may not get you any auditions at all (in most cases, there's a better chance of finding an audition yourself, especially when you use our casting call search which filters out the most suitable casting calls for you);
  • In rare instances, your agent may sign you and deliberately then not get you any auditions for the simple fact that you are one of this agent's other client's competition, so by signing you, they effectively take you off the market;
  • Your agent may interfere with you taking other jobs;
  • Your agent, while on your side, is not an attorney, and you need always to be aware of this fact.
Lights, Camera, Audition!
Find Your Next Audition, Make Your Perfect Role a Reality!
Find Auditions

Before you drop your headshots into the mailbox, do you ever wonder why exactly an agent would be interested in you? How can you possibly sell yourself when you don't know what you have to offer? You think you're a great actor, but you have zero credits, and that's a huge red flag. The main criterion for any job is the experience. If you have not done any professional work, you are not a professional actor, so why would you be trying to get represented by a professional agent? Get a couple of credits, and agents will be far more receptive to you. Way more.

Useful Links: List of Special Skills for Actors.

To sum it all up, having an agent just for the sake of having one is a foolish thing to do that is mostly ego-driven. You do not want and need an agent unless you know for a fact that this agent genuinely likes you, supports you, and is going to make sincere efforts to send you out on auditions. If they cannot promise you those things, WALK. To help you along these lines, here are a couple of things to consider when negotiating a contract.

  • Try to keep the term for one year or less;
  • If the duration is longer than one year, insist on escape clauses that allow you to break the contract with, for example, thirty days' notice in writing, for no reason whatsoever;
  • Make sure it's clear who gets paid first when the money arrives, what expenses are taken out, as well as when and why this happens, and how the pay is distributed to all parties;
  • Make sure the percentage commission is only 10%; if it's more, you must find out why;
  • Make sure the agent's license number is part of the contract, or at the very least, that you have a copy of it. All agents must be licensed, and it's best to be certain
  • Make sure any contracts for jobs presented to you by your agent are reviewable by your independent attorney, and this should be part of the agreement too. While an agent is supposedly looking out for your best interests, ultimately, they only get paid if you get paid, so while you think they're looking out for you, honestly, they are in many cases only looking out for their 10%, which is completely normal.

If an agent refuses to negotiate with you on any of the points mentioned above, question their motives & intentions. One must remember that the agent is ultimately your 'employee.' Sure, they are acting as independent contractors, but in the end, YOU are the CEO earning 90% of the earnings, and they are merely the agent making 10%. Also - never let an agent push you around.

Discover Casting Calls
Ready for Your Big Break? Find the Latest Casting Calls and Shine on Stage!
Find Auditions

Latest News