Ever wondered why actors have agents? Do you need one? Should you pay commission on work that you found for yourself? Can you be an actor without an agent? What do agents actually do!? We answer all these common questions in this article on what acting agents actually do.
Seek or find work opportunities for you
How many of the films, tv shows, plays, short films, and commercials that have been shot in your town in the last year did you audition for? An agent’s primary role is to seek and find auditions for their clients. Sometimes they will hear about a project or role that you are perfect for and submit you. Sometimes a producer or casting director will ask your agent for suggestions on a role they are trying to cast. If you’re super lucky, you will be offered a role without auditioning, in a project your agent or manager is producing.
Negotiate terms and conditions of an agreement for a performance
Ever signed a contract? This may come as a shock – they’re negotiable. An agent will negotiate the terms and conditions of a contract to get you more money, better transport, better accommodation etc. Some productions won’t be able to afford everything, but it’s always worth asking the question. A good night’s sleep can be the difference between winning an Oscar and pouring beers at PJ O’Briens.
Finalise arrangements relating to payments due to you
This is a big one for most actors – getting paid! Ever had to wait 3 months for a pay check because your agent didn’t want to “ruin their relationship with the producers”? LEAVE THEM. It’s an agent’s job to make sure you get paid on time! Trust me, you’re better off having an agent when it comes to chasing money. Unless you love getting awkward.
Negotiate arrangements relating to your attendance at a performance
Call times, transportation, rest time, lay days etc. Simple but important. (How awesome that someone sorts this out for you).
Administering the agreement between you and the producers
It’s the producer’s job to get the most out of their talent. It’s an agent’s job is to make sure the actor doesn’t get taken advantage of. It’s the actors job to act. Leave the awkward conversations about who, what, where, when, why and how to the agents and producers. Don’t sign things before showing them to your agent. And try and stay out of logistical conversations. That’s what you’re paying them for!
Making arrangements for publicity attendances and related publicity responsibilities
In the age of Instagram, Twitter, Facebook etc an actor’s value to a production is on display. The number of followers you have has dollar value to the production. Your attendance at an event also has a dollar value. Part of the reason anyone is cast in a role is their promotional value add. It’s your agent’s responsibility to help you live up to that expected value. Even if you’d rather be sailing.
Now head back to the start of this article and ask yourself those questions again. Trust yourself to answer them truthfully.
If you’d like to know how to take on the industry without an agent check out how be an actor without an agent.