Agents.....Do You Need Them?
YES, YES, and YES!
In order to be considered professional and legitimate it is imperative to have an agent. In fact, without an agent, you will probably only be considered for extra work.
Producers and casting people do not have time to know all the talent in the area so they rely on reputable talent agents to assist them in submitting the appropriate actors for a shoot.
In 1994, approximately 300 commercials were shot in the Bay Area comprising about 80% of all on-camera work in San Francisco. Without an agent, it would be difficult, if not impossible to know about or be considered to audition for such commercials.
What are agents?
Agents represent a variety of talent for work in commercials, print, film, fashion, voice-overs, and industrials. First of all, remember this is a business, not a hobby. Because agents are paid on a commission basis (20% of your gross for non-union and print work, 10% of your gross if you are union), they expect you to be professional and business-like. You hire the agent, not the other way around, so don't be intimidated by agents.
Good agents work hard for their talent by developing working relationships with producers, casting directors, creative and broadcast directors, so that their talent may be considered and cast for specific jobs.
Agents negotiate fees and contracts and sometimes assist their represented talent with choosing the correct headshots. Agents expect their talent to get good training but may not tell them with whom to study or take workshops. Talent must practice their craft and learn to market themselves and work as a team with their agent. Talent must get professional 8 1/2 x 11 black and white headshots for commercial/print work and color zeds for fashion/print.
Most agents require that a talent be exclusive to that agent which means that talent may have only one agent. The positive thing about having more than one agent is that you may be seen differently by the agents and thus submitted for more job opportunities. The negative is that both agents may submit you for the same casting, making it necessary for the casting director to choose between one agent or another which they do not like to do.
Agents are necessary and a vital, valid mainstay of our industry. Work with them, trust them, share ideas, but don't bug them. They have work to do getting us all acting jobs!
For more information, get Cynthia Brian's The Business of Show Business at the StarStyle Store.