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How can I get a Talent Agent?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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One essential for most actors is getting a good talent agent. This can be hard work, because most reputable agents are beset with far too many people wanting them to act as their representatives. Some steps can make getting an agent more likely, which is important because the likelihood of you being discovered while working at a local coffeehouse is pretty slim.

Even if you’re not currently working as an actor, you need to be around people who are. This means continuing your education by taking acting classes or employing an acting coach. Unless you’re lucky enough to be born into an acting family, your best chance of getting an agent is through referral by fellow actors or acting teachers. By networking and constantly improving your skills, you'll keep yourself ready for a referral.

You also need one or two excellent headshots. First, you should decide where you want to work, since styles in these photographs vary. If you plan to work out of Los Angeles, you want an L.A. photographer to do your headshot, while if you’re a devoted New Yorker, have the photos done there. Getting a photographer is a lot easier than getting an agent. Look through books or magazines to see the photographer’s best work, and get referrals from fellow actors. Plan to spend anywhere from $300 to $1,000 US Dollars (USD) on two 8 X 10 inch (20.32 x 25.4 cm) photos.

You will probably need to have two headshots done: a commercial one, which generally is more “smiley,” and one more geared toward the type of work you’d like to do outside of commercials. Headshots should represent the type of characters you’d like to play. A good way of determining how the second photo should be constructed is to ask your friends, peers, and acting coach what kind of roles they see you in. Take your own feelings about acting into account as well before scouting for a talent agent.

When applying to work with an agent, you'll also need to compose a resume to attach to your headshot. Even if you haven’t had a great deal of experience, you can impress an agent with a good cover letter. Look for examples of actors' resumes online to research how to write an effective one.

Referrals to a talent agent get you in the door, but you should also research the background of any agent you see. A reputable one should be approved by the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) — this information can be found on their website. If the agent fails to do the job competently, you can report complaints to SAG.

If you get an interview, prepare two monologues: one comic and one tragic. You will probably only deliver one, and it should be short but effective. Also prepare a list of questions for the talent agent. If the agent will represent you, he or she will probably offer you representation immediately following an interview. Before you sign on the dotted line, however make certain of a few things:

  1. Thank the agent for the offer and explain you have a few more appointments, whether or not this is true.
  2. Let the person know you that will get back to him or her by a certain time.
  3. Take any contract home and read it thoroughly.
  4. Do not sign a contract that gives an agent more than 10% of your income from acting jobs.

If you do plan to submit a resume without references to a talent agent, choose your time carefully. The best time to canvass for an agent is in early summer. The absolute worst time is in January to February, since casting for all new television shows begins then and most agents are not interested in recruiting new actors during this time.

Don’t just think about an agent; think about acting opportunities as well. Every day in most major cities, casting calls go up for different shows. You can get a job without an agent, though this is often more difficult. Getting a job can also make getting an agent easier, since you have proven yourself marketable. Choose any opportunity to work, even in a small venue — it’s not impossible to be discovered at a local theater. Each time you work, you increase your visibility and make more contacts, which can only benefit you.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGEEK contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By anon321517 — On Feb 22, 2013

I'm a 15 year old girl from Alberta (Canada) trying to get into the industry. I've been singing as long as I can remember (I sing jazz and I am a female tenor) and I also write songs. I also act. I've only been acting for about four years but I've already been in eight plays, and I've gotten fairly central roles in the last few.

People who know me have said that I could easily get a scholarship into any arts college in the drama department with only my facial expressions and ability to put on accents (My best would be my British, Irish, Texan, and Jersey). I am fairly good with emotional characters, dramatic characters, and also stereotypical television commercial characters. Any advice on getting an agent?

By anon289057 — On Sep 02, 2012

My name is Melissa. I am 13 and I love acting and one day I want to be an actress/model, but I need an agent. I did have one but they dumped me for retirement so I need help. I have been an extra in plays, advertisements and TV shows and films.

If any agent has a kind heart, they can get my email off casting now and help me please, please. Or you can get it from Gavin Barker associates. They have my email also.

By anon285301 — On Aug 15, 2012

I am 15 year old girl. I have always had a great passion for acting. I live in Tanzania. I really need an agent. Help me, please?

By anon279552 — On Jul 13, 2012

I am 13 years old, and I come from Scotland. I love to sing, and people tell me all the time that I'm great and they always tell me to do something with my voice, but I don't know what to do. I have entered "Britain's Got Talent," but I have had no word back. I have been on the computer for the last three days looking for a talent scout or agent. No luck so far, any advice?

By anon276519 — On Jun 24, 2012

I'm 16 and I've been wanting to be a singer my whole life but I haven't done anything. I've been writing some songs lately, but I want to become a singer now. What should I do?

By anon269800 — On May 19, 2012

I am also interested in acting as a career and have learned a lot about it! My advice would be to do as much research as you possibly can about the industry. get some acting lessons, look for acting auditions in your area. Build an impressive resume and get nice headshots. Then look at different agencies in your area and apply to one or two of them. If they like your looks and experience, they'll call you in for an interview! Good luck to all of us! --Emily

By anon258288 — On Mar 31, 2012

My name is Victor. I am 17 years old and am extremely interested in becoming famous. I act, sing, play the violin, design clothes and I'm a great public speaker. All I need is a shot, so I'm hoping for an agent who can take me far. Life's what you make it, so I want to make it count.

By anon254571 — On Mar 13, 2012

Interface is a scam. Ask your parents to help you find the right agency and to help you know which agencies are out for your money and which agency is really out for your best interests.

By anon249692 — On Feb 21, 2012

I am 27 years old but honestly, everyone thinks I am 18-21 because of my looks. I've been singing since the age of four, but I have sung in front of huge crowds and school plays since I was seven years old.

My family can't afford to fly around or pay for an agent since I am the oldest of seven children (plus still live with them since now they are disabled so I help around home), I have also done acting since the age of 10, not professionally but I was told I was really good and even wrote my first play. Any way someone could help me?

By anon246778 — On Feb 10, 2012

I'm 40 years old. I'm hard of hearing and I want to be an actor. I can do anything, like family tv shows or movies -- anything. I can't stop thinking. I want to be an actor. Can anyone give me advice?

By anon242125 — On Jan 21, 2012

I'm almost 14 and I want to be a voice artist. I can sing, I can write music, I can play some guitar, I can copy lines off of movies, tv, and audio books. I would really like to be in a radio drama to surprise some of my friends.

But I am the oldest of five kids and I don't know how to get an agent or start on my own. Can you help?

By anon227693 — On Nov 05, 2011

I'm 11 years old. I've been told I have a great voice, good acting skills and I speak three languages. I speak fluent french and fluent english and I somewhat speak a little german.

I used to play violin but I don't anymore. I'd love to play the mandolin (taken one lesson). I love to sing and even in class I'll hum softly in my head.

I'm looking for an agent who could make my dreams come true.

By anon215270 — On Sep 17, 2011

All you teens should wait until you're eighteen to get into the entertainment industry. But start doing research and getting some experience now.

By anon185855 — On Jun 13, 2011

My friend got her agent online and she recently booked a popcorn commercial. She was telling me the site lists agents in your area as well as information about the agent, like the union they belong to and other info. She said you can even send submissions to the agents from the site so you don't have to prepare mailings and pay for postage.

By sherrina123 — On May 22, 2011

My name is Sherrina. I am 10 years old. I live in New York. I am in sixth grade. I write and sing a lot of songs. I have always enjoyed singing and my friends have helped me to perfect my singing skills. I would like to get a head start on my career, and I need an agent. Can you give me some advice?

By anon154372 — On Feb 20, 2011

I am a 14 year old girl, I live in Australia and looking for a talent agent in acting. I have wanted to be an actor since I could remember and joined a Performing Arts school when I was 5. Advice please?

By anon139512 — On Jan 04, 2011

i am 11 and i love to sing. it is just hard for me to stand up and sing i write songs all the time. i just need someone to help get started.

By anon139332 — On Jan 04, 2011

My name is Michelle, and I'm 16 years old. I have written a lot of songs. And I sing too. I love it and it's my dream to be a singer-songwriter and I would love a talent agent. I would love to be exposed to the music industry. I'm haven't sung that much live, only karaoke at a birthday party.

By anon138785 — On Jan 02, 2011

I'm 12, and would like a career in acting. I have only just started looking for auditions? i haven't got an agent but would like to know if it is possible to take my interest any further without a agent? any advice? thank you.

By anon133225 — On Dec 09, 2010

My name is Nicole. I'm 13 and i want to be an actress. I'm wondering if i should get an agent or just try for it on my own. opinions are welcome.

By anon125914 — On Nov 10, 2010

i am 16 and i love to sing and i am good at it. i want to get noticed and have a singing career. i want some opportunities. i don't know how to get an agent though.

By anon103388 — On Aug 12, 2010

i am 15 and live in Australia. i am a great writer and i have a awesome movie script and i just want to have a movie with my name in it. it would be so cool. i don't give a crap about cash. my parents are loaded. anyway, can someone help me get my script noticed? my name is matthew.

By anon102783 — On Aug 09, 2010

i am 14, i live in maplewood, minnesota and i want to be a singer. I wrote a song called "reflection of truth" and i have been singing since i could remember and have been dreaming of singing since the age of four. I do take singing seriously. mostly because it comes from the heart.

I have been in choirs, done solos in talent shows and sung at birthday parties, but i would like to take my dream to the next level. -kierra H.

By chlo2814 — On Jul 25, 2010

I am 13 years old and i am a solo street/hip hop dancer. i have had experience from competitions where i have come in second place and i would like to have a talent agent because i think I'm good enough and would like to go further and get gigs and get paid for what i do well. Thank you!

By anon97165 — On Jul 18, 2010

I am Alice. I'm 11 years old. I am a singer and a songwriter I am looking into playing guitar and I'm a solo singer! I would like a talent agent based in Manchester, England. Are there any websites or contacts?

By anon88855 — On Jun 07, 2010

I am Desirae. I am 10 years old now. I am in a two-person band. We are called Boy Talk. We wrote a song called HeartBreaker. It's really awesome but we need a talent agent.

By anon80768 — On Apr 28, 2010

my name is johanna and I'm a cute 14 year old girl who has been dreaming to be an actress ever since i started in a drama group when i was about 7 years old.

I've been told that I'm really good so I'm looking for a good talent agent to start my career as fast as possible. thank you!

By anon79920 — On Apr 25, 2010

My name is Michaela. I am 12 years old and i have been acting and singing since i could talk and walk. I've been writing songs since fifth grade. I really need an agent to start my career like right now. Any advice?

By anon73543 — On Mar 28, 2010

My name is Tierra and I am 12 years old. I have been dancing and singing and acting ever since I could talk I have been modeling ever since I could walk. I need someone to help with all this talent.

By anon68006 — On Feb 28, 2010

I'm a 15 year old boy, and I'm a actor. I've been working with a woman called nell. she is the only woman ever to write a play for the globe theatre

we have been working on a play.

By anon67766 — On Feb 26, 2010

we are 11 years old and we are a group of three! we really want an agent how can we get one? we are very into music and singing. we write songs all the time. please help.

By anon62014 — On Jan 24, 2010

My name is kayla and i am 13 years old. I have been writing songs since the fifth grade. I take cheerleading, dance and gymnastic class. And i really need an agent to start off my career right. Could you please give me advice?

By anon59083 — On Jan 06, 2010

I am 14 years old. I have been writing songs since the sixth grade. I really need an agent. Any advice?

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGEEK contributor, Tricia...
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