How to Become a Talent Agent
Talent Agent Jobs – Talent Agent Salary
If you think being a talent agent is like being a character on Entourage – all glamour and living the high life — you’re sorely mistaken. Being a talent agent is a demanding occupation, requiring knowledge and experience in a variety of fields. A good talent agent is an expert in marketing, knows how to promote just about anything, and (by the way) probably has a fancy degree in a public relations field. If you’re thinking of pursuing a career as a talent agent to get out of getting a college education, you’re wrong. These days, a college degree is like a high school diploma.
What Does a Talent Agent Do?
The main thing a talent agent is good at is simply recognizing talent and figuring out how to promote it. A talent agent is a marketing wiz, yes, but they are also up to date on current events and know the business side of Hollywood better than 99% of the general public.
Talent agents “work” for people with many different talents. The most common occupation that a talent agent works with is acting — but pretty much anyone who could be labelled “talent” falls under that umbrella. Models, writers, even artists need talent agents to get their work “out there” and to keep them competitive in the workplace.
Talent agents tend to be specialists, working with a specific field of talent. Some talent agents will work only with child actors — a large population in any of the big media and film markets like New York or Los Angeles. Other talent agent specializations include television actors, commercial talent, or exclusively high profile celebrities.
The work of a talent agent would be impossible to pin down. Large talent agencies often employ multiple talent agents to work with their pool of clients. Many talent agents also offer “training programs” or “acting schools” for people who say they’re interested in a career as an actor or other creative type. This way, talent agents get exposed to all sorts of new talent that they otherwise may miss out on. This means a good talent agent also knows how to educate a person in a given field, or at least knows plenty of people who can do that training for them.
What Is the Best Way to Break into a Talent Agent Career?
The best wayto break into a talent agent career can be summed up in one word: internships. Just as large talent agencies offer training in acting and other creative fields, they offer courses in being a talent agent that take the form of office based internships. Mostly, wannabe talent agents do grunt work for already established talent agents, such as running errands, fetching food for clients and bosses, and filling out tons of paper work. You won’t get much (or any) face time with actual talent, but your willingness to work an internship with a talent agency will go far when it comes time to open your own talent agency services.
What Does a Day in the Life of a Talent Agent Look Like?
Talent agents perform any number of duties. Some of the more important daily tasks of a talent agent are like the following.
Arranging for classes or other workshops to allow already signed talent to hone their skills and crafts. Talent agents often hook their talent up with voice lessons, acting classes, or any other specialized training that talent may need to increase their popularity or appeal. Talent agents may also run these courses for wannabe actors and artists, to build up “new blood” for future talent work.
Meeting with future and current clients to find out what different types of talent they may need for upcoming projects. The talent agent’s job here is to connect their own talent roster with their clients’ future needs, and deciding if they need to seek out new talent to round out the agency.
Scheduling or booking auditions and other work appointments for their talent base. This is where the work of a talent agent gets difficult — you need to know your talent’s available working hours, be able to motivate them to take part in any new work you get them, and making sure your talent doesn’t have any special requirements for working hours, such as the limits placed on work performed by child talent.
Marketing your own talent agency. This means promoting your services, or the services of your talent agency, to clients or hopeful clients in order to get more work for your current clients or grow your client base. Talent agencies are as competitive as the clients they service, so Hollywood talent agencies have a lot of competition in this area.
Acting as a businessman, and collecting fess that are due when auditions are booked or your clients get a job. You’ll need to have business experience and know how to bill your talent and your clients on a 30 day billing cycle.
Networking with talent and clients as well as other talent agencies to promote your services and your own talent pool. This helps you land auditions and jobs for your clients, which is how you earn money.
Talent Agency Salaries – How Much Money Does a Talent Agent Make?
It is easy to come up with average starting salaries for talent agents — the details on payment and fees is not exactly hidden. Talent agents with a small client base or few actors at their agency will naturally earn less than larger agencies with lots of talent at their disposal. Beginning salaries for talent agents at larger agencies start at about $30,000 and go up as high as $80,000 for the largest talent agencies in the world. That starting salary tends to come with full benefits and a profit sharing program based on how much work you get for your clients and talent pool.
To start as a talent agent in a non-union or non-industry town, it is important to locate the agencies in that town or one that is not too far from your town. Meeting with the owner and see if there is any way you can help his or her agency.
The life of a talent agent can be glamorous, but to get to that point you’re probably going to have to pour a lot of coffee. The only way to get anywhere in such a competitive business is to work for years and build a reputation for yourself. One day you may be sipping champagne with A-list actors on a Lear jet, but for now you may have to settle for shredding paper at an internship. Your patience, and your education and experience, will pay off.
- How Do I Become a Talent Agent? at Wisegeek
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