Talent Agent: 3 of the Most Important Qualities to Look for

by Mehdi BAH

When you look for a talent agent, there are many factors that an actor needs to consider!  First, what type of talent agent are you seeking?  Talent agents represent actors in numerous areas of entertainment.  Are you looking to primarily audition for commercials, for example?  Or is it your dream to work in television and film?   (Click here to read more about commercial and theatrical agents.)    

Throughout my time working in the entertainment industry, I’ve had the privilege of meeting with and working with several talent agents here in Hollywood, and I have learned an incredible amount from each one of them.  In fact, the relationship that actors have with their talent agent can be a lot like dating!

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  Admittedly, I’ve had more agents than I have had dating-relationships with so far in my life.  (I’m not sure if that’s a good thing!)  Nevertheless, like dating, as you go along on your journey as an actor you learn what you’re looking for; you learn what works for you (and the other person) and what simply doesn’t work.  Throughout the course of all relationships, personal and business, you learn a tremendous amount about yourself.  Most importantly, you ultimately will understand the type of people that you connect very well with. 

Many of us hope to find a great “match” in terms of our personal relationships, and the same applies to actors seeking a talent agent.  Finding an agent who is a good fit is the goal.

  There are many wonderful agents out there, but the key is to seek out certain qualities that he or she may possess that will help you both to become successful together.  I’ve pointed out 3 of the most important qualities to keep an eye out for when looking to hire an agent!

Qualities to Look For When Seeking a Talent Agent

1.  Professionalism

Professionalism on the part of your talent agent should be obvious, and it’s very important to truly pay attention to this quality about an agent.  Just how professional is the person that you want to work with?  A lot can be learned about an agent simply by observing his or her behavior in your meeting.  You (the actor) deserve to be given the full attention of the agent in your meeting.  If you notice behavior from the potential agent that is unprofessional, or if you’re not the priority of the meeting, then it’s important to take that into consideration.  Your agent is going to be your business partner, your colleague, and the person that will help negotiate deals on your behalf.  Seek out a professional. 

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In my own experience, there have only been a few times when I’ve encountered an agent acting unprofessionally, and as a result of these situations, I immediately concluded that the business partnership would not work out.  On one such occasion, I was meeting with a prominent Hollywood agent who simply did not seem interested in me from the moment that I walked into the office and was barely paying attention while I was performing a scene.  Rather, this agent was working on the computer.  I gathered that this person’s attention was completely elsewhere – possibly on other clients or audition notices – but regardless, that’s not going to work out for my success.  When you’re called in for a meeting, expect to be treated with respect and professionalism.  And it’s imperative that the agent is interested and excited about you!  (Jump to number 2 here in this article for more about excitement from an agent about you!) 

On another occasion at a different talent agency office, I observed someone in the office who was fast asleep on the couch.  Although this person sure did look comfy, it certainly didn’t look like a very proactive, busy office!  Hence, I turned around and looked elsewhere.  Finding an agent who is proactive, professional, and hardworking is key.

Doing your research prior to your meeting is crucial.  Is your potential agent well-connected to the entertainment industry, and does he or she had lots of experience and contacts in our industry?  Your agent’s industry contacts can prove to help significantly in helping to open doors for you as an actor.  I should point out however, that an agent who is a newcomer could also be a great fit for you, as they may work harder than anyone in the business!  Conducting research will help you with your decision about whom to hire. 

2.  Excitement!

As I mention in my article about “Questions to Ask Your Potential New Agent”, it’s important to find an agent who is excited about you!  Some talent agents represent many clients, which is why seeking an agent who expresses excitement about you and your own unique talents is essential!  Adding an agent to your team who is excited about you is vital to furthering your career.  Remember, you should always act as your own agent, and you can certainly obtain auditions until you have an agent, but taking on an agent who shares your enthusiasm for your career can only benefit you in the long run! 

During several meetings that I’ve taken with agents, the excitement that I observe from the agent is a huge deciding factor about whether I want to hire them.  Excitement on the part of the agent shows me that he or she is ready to work – and so are we actors!  (Remember, YOU, as the actor, hire your agent; it’s never the other way around.)      

3.  Attitude and Personality

I believe that anyone with a great attitude about life and work is a good person to work with – and to spend your precious time with.  But in an industry that is based around social interactions, it’s a must.  The entertainment business is completely social, and hiring an agent with a great attitude and personality will help you both to become unstoppable; especially in combination with an agent’s excitement, as mentioned above.  

Conclusion :

Because this is a business, aim to work with someone who has good ethics (as I am sure that you also have)!  Does your potential agent have a good reputation?  Signing with an agent who has a bad reputation in Hollywood can ultimately be worse than not having an agent in the first place!  Be selective, as this person will (and should) be working with you, hand-in-hand.  Aspire to associate with good people, and there are many, many of them here in Hollywood!

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