5 Things to Remember When Choosing an Agent

shutterstock_1247807110Whether you’re agent-shopping for the first time or looking to transition somewhere new, finding the right representation can feel like playing pin the tail on the donkey. On rollerskates. And it’s a live donkey.

 

But finding proper representation is a crucial step to setting your acting career up for success. So here are some things to consider while you’re submitting that can help you stay focused on what matters.

 

  1. Define Your Goals. Knowing what you really want is critical. Remember that not everyone’s career looks the same. Are you looking to get into TV and film, or commercial work? While many actors are represented for both, it’s not for everyone. Do you do voice over work? Do you want to work in multiple cities, or stay in-state? Knowing what you want your career to look like can help you narrow down talent agencies that are tailored to your needs. 
  2. Size Matters. When looking for agents, it’s easy to get swept up in the allure of a big name. But if you’re new to the field, or if you’re feeling lost in the shuffle, a boutique agency might be a better fit. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Agents with huge rosters might have name recognition and a broader range of connections to help get you in the door. But with smaller rosters comes a more personalized touch. Figure out which one suits you according to where you are in your career. 
  3. Research. Don’t go in blind. Before submitting, look at a potential agent’s history. Who do they have on their current roster? Could you fill a niche type they lack? What kind of actors currently represented are booking, and with whom? If you know any actors represented, reach out and ask how their experience has been. Forewarned is forearmed. 
  4. Is it a Good Fit? Beyond the cold hard facts of the situation, personality does matter. If you can’t communicate with your agent, a working partnership will always be strained. It’s important to find someone you’re comfortable with.
  5. Nothing is Forever. While signing with an agent might feel like a life-changing decision, remember they are working for you. You are not bound by a blood oath. If it’s not working out, you can always renegotiate, or end your contract and go elsewhere. Don’t let yourself get complacent. Your partnership with your agent should be an open dialogue under regular review.

 

Once you know what you want, and what each potential agent is bringing to the table, finding the right representation doesn’t have to be overwhelming or stressful. It is one more part of your lifelong career, and like everything else, you will learn and refine as you go.

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Rachel Rachel Frawley is an actor living in Atlanta. She holds a B.F.A. in Theatre from Michigan State University (with cognates in Music and Professional Writing) and is an Apprentice Company graduate from the Atlanta Shakespeare Co. She also works as an education artist for local theatres, which have included the Shakespeare Tavern and Aurora Theatre. For more information, visit her website at www.rachelfrawley.com

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