How Involved Should Your Agent Be In Your Career?

How much influence should your talent agent have in your life? For those of you starting out in the acting field, there are certain things that you'll find very helpful to know. The very first thing that you need to understand is that you do need a talent agent. Without one, you will fail to know when and where the best auditions are. An agent has contacts that you probably just don't have. Your agent is your golden key. He or she will unlock doors that you'll know nothing about. One of the biggest things that you should know is that you never pay a talent agent up front. Normally, you should only be paying your talent agent about 10 to 15% commission, but only from the work that they find you. You should never pay more than 15% commission to your agent. Commercial work can be different and can sometimes be 20%. 

If you're an actor, unless you know people, you're going to need a talent agent or you're probably not going to make it to a vast majority of the auditions that will lead to your discovery. When you start looking for an agent, you should look for agencies franchised with the Screen Actors Guild. These agencies are agencies that have signed a contract with SAG and have agreed to certain rules that are overseen by the actors union. You do not have to pay fees to producers or to casting agencies. Remember... Real agencies and their agents have rules of conduct that they must follow. 

Ideally, you dont actually see your agent unless you're heading to an audition or a promotional screening. Your agent usually spends a majority of their time promoting you and getting you auditions. This means that they're on the phone or at a desk a majority of the time. You're not the only actor that they're representing. This is your life and these agents are supposed to be out to get you a great role or otherwise, they really don't get paid. So it's in their best interest and yours if you both do well. If you're an actor starting out, don't expect an A listed agent to pick you up. Most of the time your best bet is to stick with those B and C agents that will start you up. You also don't seek A list agents out. They will find you. An actor and an agent are a team and one that you should never do without.