Talent agents help find jobs for performers like actors and entertainers.
They also represent sports stars and athletes. This is the "talent." They
connect their clients with the people who are hiring, like movie studios and
advertising agencies. In other words, a talent agent is a kind of matchmaker.
A talent agent performs a necessary service for performers. Performers
typically work on contract, and when they're working, they're too busy to
look for their next job. That's where the talent agent comes in. The agent
looks for work and promotes the client's career in what is a very competitive
This is a job for people who like to keep busy. Talent agents spend many
hours on the phone and in meetings, says talent agent Doreen Eliassen. She
works for a talent agency in California. Talent agents work with casting directors,
producers, record executives, directors and talented clients all day long.
"After work, it can be dinner with more people we want to work with or
a trip to the theater to see a client. Or it could be watching movies, reading
scripts at home, or watching our clients on television. It's a very full job,"
A talent agent may also have to do other tasks, like mailing promotional
packages. This depends on the clientele or how big the agency is.
A talent agent has to be a good listener and a fast thinker. An agent must
be good at networking in the entertainment industry, so they can find out
about different opportunities. By keeping in touch with other people in the
business, the agent can gather a lot of useful information.
A talent agent must be familiar with their clients. An agent has to know
what kind of work the client can and cannot do in order to match them with
various jobs. To do this, they must attend performances and keep in regular
contact with their clients.
While talent agents work strictly on behalf of performers, it's important
to have a good relationship with the people hiring them. For example, casting
directors rely on agents to send only the most appropriate talent for an audition.
It makes casting a lot easier.
The performers gain a similar advantage. They know that their agent has
a finger on the pulse of the industry and a much greater knowledge of what
work is available. The performers know that they will only be sent to audition
for parts that suit them.
A talent agent is also the person who negotiates contracts on behalf of
clients once they're offered a job. Performers rely on their agents to get
the best deal possible.
Most of a talent agent's day is spent in an office. Yet they must also
be prepared to visit with clients at the work site, be it a studio or another
Hours vary. Some agents can keep 9-to-5 office hours, while others will
find themselves hard at work at any time -- night, day or weekend. It all
depends on the clientele.
"My hours are variable. It really bounces from three to 12 hours a day,"
says Lisa Hensen, a music talent agent based in Arkansas.
The only physical requirement for this job is mobility. The number one
requirement is a knack for getting out and socializing. You have to be able
to meet people and keep in touch with things.
Talent agents must juggle multiple tasks and people -- and come through
with ease! Be prepared to survive some stressful moments.
"If one minute a client leaves and that upsets you, the next minute might
be filled with someone booking a major job. You learn to take the good with
the bad," says Eliassen.
Most talent agents work in cities where performers work, like California
and New York. Ross Reports, a trade magazine for film and television, lists
more than 300 talent agents in New York City alone.
While talent agents have traditionally been concentrated in certain areas,
that has been changing. The Association of Talent Agents (ATA) reports that
more entertainment is being produced in other cities like Chicago, Atlanta,
Dallas and Houston, as well as the state of Florida. This opens up opportunities
for talent agents in other areas.
Most agents are franchised by an actors' union, such as the Screen Actors'
Guild (SAG). This means they are authorized to represent union performers.
Handle business and employment dealings for artists and athletes