A talent agent is a person who helps actors, models, musicians and other artists and talent find jobs in their profession. An agent works on behalf of the artist or talent to negotiate contracts and other business dealings.
Actors don’t always need a talent agent in order to work as an actor, especially actors who live in smaller markets outside of Hollywood or New York. But even in larger markets, actors can still find work on their own without, especially in independent film and working as a movie extra.
But having an agent, while not always necessary, can still be helpful and, in some cases, essential. That’s because casting directors often turn to talent agents to find actors to film roles in film and television projects. Having an agent gives the actor the ability to be considered for opportunities that may not be made known to the public.
There are a number of different ways to find an agent. Actors should look in industry guides, or even the phone book, to find talent agencies in their area. Once you have found a reputable talent agency in your area, you should contact them by sending a headshot or photo of yourself, a résumé of all your prior acting work, and a cover letter introducing yourself.
There are many scam artists posing as talent agencies. They lure actors in with the promise of acting work, but their real goal is to sell the actor photographs or acting classes. Despite spending large sums of money on classes or photos, actors rarely see any meaningful representation or acting opportunities.
A franchised agent is an agent that is affiliated with one of the various actor unions. For this reason, franchised agents are considered the most reputable. Actors can find franchised agents by requesting a listing of agents from the various actor unions or going to the union’s website.
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