Do You Need An Agent?

By Darryl Green

  • Find more info on this author at YouMustAct.com

    (Originally published on the web as, “Agents? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Agents!)

    First, an apology to all the agents who might read this.

    The original headline was one I just couldn’t resist. To you actors, I assure you that you will rarely meet an agent who smells anything less than pleasant. They all use perfume, cologne, breath mints, etc. – so you will not actually (or very rarely) meet any stinkin’ agents.

    However … the original headline is true.
    I am asked almost daily about the “getting” of an agent. Or as some like to say, “obtaining representation.” actors ask, writers ask, my dentist asks, my Aunt Imelda is curious.
    So, in order to move on, let’s get this agent business cleared up: Here are the facts:

    1. Agents are salespeople – who work for an employment agency.

    That’s what they do. They call people who have jobs to fill and they try to “sell” the personnel they represent – actors. They are like salespeople at a ‘temp’ agency. Just because they sell actors doesn’t change the basic job.

    2. – And most important to understand – Agents do it for money.

    Like many working people in many professions – no, like all working people in all professions – agents like to make money for their efforts. Unlike lawyers, agents rarely do pro-bono work.

    I’ve only had two agents of my own during the 30 years I needed an agent in my career, but I know a lot of agents – including some of the biggest agents in the business. I’ve gone to parties with them, played poker with them, softball, chili-cook offs, awards ceremonies, charity functions, you name it.

    I know these folks.

    Please read the following very carefully.

    I’ve never heard an agent say, “Yeah, I just took on a client who’s thinking about being an actor. She hasn’t done much on her own, but I think I can teach her to work. I’ve got plenty of time to show her how to be a professional. And even though she’s got the wrong attitude, it probably won’t take too long to explain why her attitude is problematic. I know she hasn’t managed to get going on her own but I’ll just send her out for every part in her age range until she gets work. I know it’s risky, but she’s got a feeling she’s going to be a star, so I’m going to give it a shot.”

    I’ve never heard anything like that.

    This is what I hear agents say, “Yeah, I just took on a real comer. This guy can do it all. He’s a good actor – wait’ll you see this little student film he did. He’s smart. He’s been making pretty good money … all non-union, but he’s ready. Hustle? The guy’s been in like a hundred plays, he teaches a class to kids, runs a little theatre over in Burbank … go go go. I’m going to make a fortune off this kid.”

    Do you see the difference? Of course you do.

    In your heart of hearts, you know that this has always been the reality. You know it.

    So, how does this help you to get an agent?

    In this crucial way;

    3. Now you know what agents are looking for.

    • actors who are acting for money. (Because 10% of that amount is what the agent lives on. It is his income. There is no income if the actor cannot book work.)
    • actors who are getting cast. They’ve been in plays, student films, non-union work, it really doesn’t matter what level of work as long as the actor has a history of getting cast. That is a good indication for most agents.
    • actors who work hard at getting good enough to compete for jobs. actors with the right attitude. (They know they have to commit and work hard.)
    • actors who hustle.

    4. You also know what they are not looking for.

    • actors who haven’t made the commitment to act for a living.
    • actors who haven’t bothered to do much without anyone else’s help.
    • actors who believe that an agent can “make it happen.”
    • actors who take an attitude because of that belief.
    • actors who think agents don’t know what they are doing.

    Now, these real facts can lead us to only one conclusion with regards to your “getting an agent” problem:

    5. You can hire a salesperson, easily … IF you are the type of actor they believe will make money.

    How you accomplish that seems self evident.

    Work.
    Work for money.
    Work at it.
    Work to your strengths.
    Hustle.

    In other words; work work work work hustle.
    This is the first step.
    As with most first steps, it’s important to do this step… (“…anyone? Anyone? Bueller?) … FIRST.
    Believe me, for this part of the process – “you don’t need no stinking agent.”

    Recommended Posts

  • Ad

  • How Can I Become an Actor with No experience

    How Can I Become an Actor with No experience Here are some steps you can take to kickstart your acting journey (By Ray Reese) (Photo: Le Minh | Pexels) Starting out as an…

    Why is it so hard to get an acting agent?

    Why Is It So Hard to Get an Acting Agent? Here are some of the reasons why getting an acting agent is so challenging (By Javier Guerra) (Photo: Yan Krukau | Pexels) Actors…

    Do you pay for auditions?

    Question: Do you pay for auditions? (By Camichael Phillips) (Photo: Lukas | Pexels) Question: Do actors pay for auditions? Answer: Unfortunately, there are individuals or organizations that exploit aspiring actors by hosting fake…

    How Do New Actors Get Agents

    How Do New Actors Get Agents Here’s a guide to the process (By Jim Webb) For aspiring actors, securing representation from a talent agent is often a crucial step towards launching a successful…

    Do Beginning Actors Need Agents to Find Work?

    Question: Do Beginning Actors Need Agents to Find Work? (By Carmichael Phillips) (Photo: Ron Lach | Pexels) Beginning actors don’t necessarily need agents to find work, but having representation can certainly make the…

  • Ad

  • Can an Actor Fire Their Agent?

    Can an Actor Fire Their Agent? Breaking up with your agent (By Javier Guerra) (Photo: Andrea Piacquadio | Pexels) For every actor, the day inevitably comes when they ask themselves, “Why am I…

    Can Your Talent Agent Drop You?

    Question: Can Your Talent Agent Drop You? (By Jim Webb) (Liza Summer | Pexels) Question: Can Your Talent Agent Drop You? Answer: Yes, talent agents have the authority to drop clients under certain…

    Earning a Living as an Extra

    Earning a Living as an Extra Here’s everything you need to know about getting paid (By Javier Guerra) (Cottonbro Studio | Pexels) Background acting, also known as being an extra or supporting artist,…

  • Ad

  • What is Sense Memory?

    What is Sense Memory? An actor’s guide to sense memory (By Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Karolina Grabowska | Pexels) Sense memory, also known as sensory memory or sensorial memory, refers to the ability to…

    What is a Self-Tape Audition?

    What is a Self-Tape Audition? Everything you need to know (By Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Mart Production | Pexels) A self-tape audition is a way for actors to audition for roles without being physically…

    What is a Virtual Audition?

    What is a Virtual Audition? Everything you ever want to know about Zoom and virtual auditions (By Jim Webb) (Photo: Visuals/Unsplash) At its core, a virtual audition is a casting process conducted remotely…

    How to Get an Acting Agent?

    How to Get an Acting Agent? A step-by-step guide (By Carmichael Phillips) (Photo: Rodnae Productions | Pexels) Having an acting agent can provide numerous benefits to actors, helping them navigate the complexities of…

    What is the Meisner Technique?

    What is the Meisner Technique? The ultimate guide to Meisner (By Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Cottonbro | Pexels) Sanford Meisner (1905–1997) was an influential American actor and acting teacher, best known for developing the…

  • Ad

  • What is a Fi-Core Actor?

    What is a Fi-Core Actor? Everything you need to know about Financial Core (By Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Ron Lach | Pexels) A Fi-Core Actor, also known as a “financial core actor,” refers to…

    What is a Non-Union Actor?

    What is a Non-Union Actor? Everything you need to know (By Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Hannah Nelson | Pexels) A non-union actor is an actor who is not a member of a labor union…

    What is Stage Kissing?

    What is Stage Kissing? Everything you ever wanted to know about kissing for the camera (By Javier Guerra) (Photo: Vera Arsic | Pexels) Stage kissing, also known as fake kissing or simulated intimacy,…

  • Ad

  • How to Prepare for Your First Audition?

    How to Prepare for Your First Audition? A step-by-step guide (By Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Moose Photos | Pexels) Embarking on your first audition can be both exhilarating and nerve-wracking. Whether you’re trying out…

    What Should You Do At an Audition?

    What Should You Do At an Audition? A step-by-step guide (By Jim Webb) (Photo: Cottonbro | Pexels) In a typical audition, several key activities take place: Check-In: Upon arrival, you’ll check in with…

    What is a Callback Audition?

    What is a Callback Audition? A step-by-step guide to callbacks (By Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Cottonbro Studio | Pexels) A callback audition, also known as a recall audition, is a follow-up audition that occurs…

    How to Become an Actor

    How to Become an Actor A Step-by-Step Guide (By Jim Webb) Becoming an actor is a dream pursued by many, but breaking into the industry can be daunting without guidance. While there’s no…

    How Do You Get an Audition?

    How Do You Get an Audition? A step-by-step guide (By Javier Guerra) (Photo: Ron Lach | Pexels) What is an audition? An audition is a process in which performers, such as actors, singers,…

  • Ad