Catrine breaks down the best way to find a legitimate and credible agency and what to look for!
Where can I find a credible agency? Angie W., Monmouth, IL
One of the most frustrating and difficult elements of success in a larger market like LA or NY is securing a solid agency with one or more agents who believe in you. The top agencies usually only accept actors of note who are already making a living. The mid-sized agencies, often called “boutique” agencies, tend to keep their membership numbers small and thus rarely accept new talent. The smaller agencies are quite numerous but as laden with bad agents as LA is with bad actors. It is nearly impossible to tell if the one interested in you can actually get you in any doors. The hope is that you will eventually find that capable agency, get opportunities, take advantage of those opportunities, book parts, get re-hired often by those you do work with, and gain a solid reputation in the industry. If you and several other actors at the agency are constantly doing this, the agency itself will grow into a boutique-size group garnering a healthy reputation and thus opening doors to greater and greater opportunities. It is a long process but mandatory for the actor wishing to sustain a long and lucrative career. It can be done but requires exceptional diligence.
Thankfully, it is a lot less difficult to assess, choose, and be accepted by an agency in a regional market. Utilizing a regional agency before taking the leap to a larger market is also a great way to begin accumulating credits, experience, SAG eligibility, etc., which are very helpful tools in securing an agency in a larger market. Usually there are only a handful of agencies available and it is a simple matter of meeting with each one to determine if the relationship is a good fit. They will want to determine your level of experience, training, and professionalism and will usually want to see a demo reel, monologue, or cold read. You in turn will want to determine if they believe you can be successful and are willing to push you in the market place. You will also want to ascertain their validity by researching them online, with the BBB, asking other actors, etc. An agency that does not offer classes is often a good sign as they are more likely to meet their overhead with actors who book work.
If an agency does offer classes, I always say you should ask to audit a class to see what is being taught. An agency with a mediocre to poor acting program is usually a sign of either weakness or worse: a group who could care less about their actors booking work. Once you and the agency have agreed to pursue the relationship, you will want to contact them once a week to keep your name on their minds. If you are auditioning often and booking many jobs, this will be a long-standing relationship benefiting both you and the agency.
If a considerable amount of time has gone by and you have not had opportunities to audition, it is usually because of one of these three reasons: One is they are simply not considering you and thus not submitting you for auditions. You need to figure out why and fix it or end the relationship and find representation elsewhere. Two is the agency is not getting consideration from the casting directors. If they are not even invited to submit their actors for available roles you are doomed if you stay with them. The other possibility is that the opportunities are not presenting themselves because films or television shows are not being produced in that region at that time. You will need to be patient in this case and not destroy a good relationship over a situation that is simply out of the agency’s hands.
There are always student films, non-pay independent films, and the like for you to seek out in the mean time to continue to develop. Often an agency will not concern themselves with these projects because of the bottom line and it is generally up to the actor to seek out these opportunities on their own. Trust me, if you spend enough time around actors you will be educated quite sufficiently as to how and where to accomplish this goal.
– Catrine McGregor
Catrine has cast well over 400 projects, including films, TV, IMAX, commercials, webseries and video games. She is a member of the prestigious CSA (Casting Society of America). During her forty year career in the film industry, Catrine has worked extensively all over the US as well as Europe and Africa. She prides herself in discovering and developing new talent, and has done so with many people that you see every day in films and on TV.
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Last modified: August 19, 2017