Firstly if an agent signs a actor without an audition that’s a big red flag. If they ask you for money for classes then they are 99% likely to be substandard. Agents that need to give “classes” to pay the rent are not making money as an agent.
The exception is the agent or manager that comes from a background as a coach. such as Elain or Lori Lynn Lively. Elain is a manager of very successful actor due in large part to the wonderful coaching she provides.
If your agent sends you out on auditions where there are literally hundreds of actors this is a “cattle call”. Many times these auditions are even publicised in the newspaper.
The real agent, the big time “top gun”, will be sending you to auditions where you have a specific time to show up. You may read against thirty actors, but it will be organised. You will have a specific appointment time. You will be called in most cases close to your appointment time.
Ask to see the book of actors they represent. Look at the pictures. Do they look like working actors, professionals? Do you recognise any of them? You want the quality of talent on their roster to be at or above your quality.
Ask the agent how many actors they represent. When they tell you, check it out with the Screen Actors Guild. Legitimate agents have to keep SAG abreast of how many clients are on their roster. Be cautious of an agent with over 300 clients. Unless they have a huge staff, they will not be able to service you with the attention you deserve. You will have to work hard to stay above the radar amongst so many actors.
A legitimate agent NEVER charges a fee for representation.
A BIG NO NO
DON’T JUMP FROM AGENT TO AGENT.
If you’re not booking auditions, if the agent isn’t sending your head sheet out, find out why and fix the problem.
It may be that you need to bring yourself to the top of the pile by being more visible in a friendly way. Not bugging them, but as discussed, dropping off cookies. Taking them to dinner. Helping conduct traffic on open reading days. Making sure they always have plenty of your head sheets and resumes.
A good agent will help you build your resume. they will send you out for the low budget jobs their more successful clients won’t take. That is a boon for you. Get there, do the job. every credit on the resume is worth money to you!
The first 2 years are the hardest. You will go on audition after audition with no luck. This is because you are a Johnnie come lately. Persevere, keep the faith. All of a sudden all the casting agents in town will be familiar with your face. That magical first job will come down the pipes.
When you start to work and be more visible, other agents will line up like buzzards on the wire. If your agent is doing a good job, if you are getting nice roles and are very visible, then other agents will want you, want a free ride.
Don’t buy into it. Your agent is the one who did all the hard work getting you known. Respect that and stay loyal. If you jump from agent to agent, you will get a reputation for it, and no agent will work hard for your actor. They will figure you are likely to jump, why pound for your actor.
An agent will do their hardest work for the actor who they feel will be loyal and stay with them when it’s a downhill slide to the bookings rather than the uphill climb in the beginning.
IF YOU ARE KNOWN WELL ENOUGH TO ATTRACT OTHER AGENTS OR MANAGERS, THAT MEANS YOUR AGENT OR MANAGER IS DOING A GREAT JOB!
Remember, if agents or managers are telling you that your agent or manager is not doing a good job and you should hire them, a large percentage of the time it’s because your agent or manager IS doing a great job, and put you way up above the radar, otherwise, no one else would be interested in you.
Be also aware, if a manager solicits you when you already have representation, it’s AGAINST THE LAW.
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