Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Looking for an Agent? Do the Detective Work!

You got the call! An agent wants to meet with you! Your days of pounding the pavement all by yourself are over! Woo hoo!

Now who is this agent?

There is no Yelp! for talent agencies. It's up to you to do the research to figure out if an agent (or manager) is someone you want to work with.

Watch for the obvious red flags - sketchy contracts, claims of guaranteed work, or demands for money up front - and do your due diligence. Here's the basic detective work I suggest --
  • Find their physical address - I know casting submissions are all done online now, but if you're based in Los Angeles and the agency is based in Milwaukee, it's unlikely they have the contacts that can advance your career.

  • Google them - Search for the name of the agent contacting you and the agency itself. A bunch of agent directory lists will come up first - keep looking through the results and see what else comes up. Are they mentioned favorably in news articles? On message boards? Look for red flags among the results and take note of any clients that are represented by the agency.

  • Check their client list on IMDB Pro - If you don't have an IMDB Pro subscription, you can sign up for a two-week trial or ask a friend to borrow their password. Review the other clients at the agency and see if any trends emerge. Is it primarily an agency for kids? Hot blondes? Do they have 200 clients or 2,000? Look up each client and see if they're working.

  • Try to connect with clients - If you've done the previous two steps, you have the names of some of their clients. Check Facebook to see if you have mutual friends with them. Don't email blast - choose a few and send a short, polite message asking what they think of their representation - it could get you some valuable insight.

  • Take the meeting! - It never hurts to meet in person. Feeling the energy of the exchange and asking questions in person is the best way to determine if it's a good match. (If they don't want to meet in person, RED FLAG!)
Remember, an agent works for you. You'd be just as thorough if you were hiring an employee, right?

What do you do when researching an agent?


  1. I'd say that there is a sort of 'yelp' for agents and managers. My two resources are HHH (hollywood happy hour yahoo group run by Bonnie Gillespie) and the BEST resource for me has been The Actor's Network that has the "Squibb" book. This book is comprised of experiences (hard facts, not emotional) that actor's have had with teachers, directors, producers, managers, and agents, not to mention you can just look up which members are formerly and currently rep'd by that company and just call them up. HHH is free and The Actor's Network is a membership organization (you gotta pay for it)

    1. Oh wow, good to know those exist - thanks for sharing, Junko! :)