So, you’ve decided it’s time to hire a talent agent. Congratulations! Now the hard work begins. You’re about to embark on an amazing ride that could lead you to stardom and riches beyond your wildest dreams, but it is up to you to find the right agent for you.
Believe it or not, some “talent agents” out there aren’t licensed to represent anyone. So, how do you weed out the scammers from the legit agents? Here are six questions to ask before signing on the dotted line:
1. What is their experience in my industry or with my company size?
An agent who has a lot of experience working in your specific industry or with companies of your size will be able to more fully understand your needs, making them more effective at representing you.
This is not to say that a newer talent agent won’t be able to provide you with the same level of representation – they just might not have as much insight into your specific needs or what it takes to be a success in your industry.
You will want to base your decision on other factors, including how well your personalities mesh and your compatibility with their philosophy on career management.
2. How much of a commission will I be charged?
This is where doing some research first comes in handy. Find out what’s normal for the agent’s industry and charging way below or above the standard percentage. They likely have their reasons.
Some agents work strictly on commission, but the downside to this is if they don’t get you any work, you could be out all of your upfront fees.
3. Is there an upfront fee that I can pay to have the agent represent me?
Some agencies charge or refund a portion of their commission based on how successful they are in getting you work. It’s important to ask about this upfront so there are no surprises later on.
By paying an upfront fee, you could be getting your money’s worth. However, working on a commission-only basis could be more lucrative for the agent, allowing them to save your upfront fee until you book work.
Deciding whether an upfront fee or commission-based pay structure is right for you depends on the type of work you book, and what your agent can do for you.
4. Can the agent provide references from clients who are similar to me?
Any reputable agent, such as Nancy Etz, will be more than happy to give you a list of references from satisfied clients. If they can’t or won’t, you’re better off finding another agent.
5. How accessible are they when I need to reach them?
If the agent is too busy or only available during certain hours, it might signify that they can’t fully devote themselves to representing you. On the other hand, if the agent responds immediately and regularly makes time for you, that’s a good sign.
Ideally, you’ll want to be able to reach your talent agent at any time of the day. Bad publicity can happen at any time of day and it’s important that your agent is available to help you out almost immediately following the incident.
6. What other services does this agency offer aside from representation?
An agent can be a full-service companion for you as an actor if they also do things like negotiate contracts and pay for headshots and resumes. If the agent can’t or won’t provide these additional services, make sure you have someone who can.
Additional services that you should expect from your talent agency include:
- Ongoing career guidance
- Access to top casting directors, producers, and other industry professionals
- Assistance in preparing for auditions and castings
- Management of your social media presence
- Representation at trade shows, award ceremonies, and other events related to your industry.
An agent is an invaluable asset to advancing your career in the entertainment industry. But, only you can decide if the agent is right for you. Ask the tough questions upfront so you can be sure you’re making the best decision for your future.
Hiring a talent agent can help you gain steady work and better opportunities in your career. Make sure you do your research to find the right agent who will be a good fit for you and your needs.