Finding the right agent and avoiding acting agent scams

by Dez
(Pennsylvania)

QUESTION:

How do I find an agent that is right for me? I looked for so many in the area and they all seem good. How do I know if I'm being scamed? Do I have to pay agents straight up or before I audition? I would really love it if you could answer these questions for me. Thanks, and love your website!

ANSWER:

Hi Dez,

You should never have to pay an agent any money until they get you work. When an agent gets you work, they usually receive their commission directly from your employer, so most of the time you will never have to give an agent any money, except when you get an acting job and get paid the full amount without your agent receiving a commission, in which case you would give your agent a 10% commission.

Another good way to know if you are facing a scam is when an acting agent asks you to work with a specific photographer or acting coach in order to represent you. Some scam artists even ask actors to take their pictures in exchange for a fee (no legit agent is also a photographer!) It's ok for an agent to ask you to get new headshots or take classes and recommend a list of professionals, but you should be free to pick the headshot photographer and acting class you want. If in doubt, find out if the agent was SAG-franchised or a member of ATA.

How do you pick the right agent among reputable acting agencies? If you have a choice, read the tips on our acting agents page. A lot of the time, beginning actors don't have a lot of agents who want to represent them though. I feel it's always better to have an agent than not, even if they're not the "perfect match", as long as they are reputable of course. There should be a clause in your contract saying you have the right to leave your agent if they don't get you an audition within a set amount of time, so you're not stuck with your choice forever if it turns out to be a bad one. Either way, you should continue to look for acting jobs on your own.

Good luck and thank you for the positive feedback about the website!

Alex

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