Choosing a Talent Agent
Choosing a Talent Agent to represent you is one of the most important and difficult tasks you will encounter as a Performer. Talent Agents negotiate your rates and working conditions for all the productions for which you will be hired. Your relationship with your Agent is crucial. Choose wisely and always do your own personal research into any agency you are considering for representation.
If a Talent Agency charges an exorbitant “sign-up” or “administration fee,” they are already making money without having to actually find work for performers. Talent Agents should make their money by charging only the industry standard commission rate, 15% plus GST, on work they procure for you in the film and television industry. Also, an Agent should help you with your resume and give you pointers on headshots; you should not be required to use a particular photographer/make up artist, etc. If they force services on you, the Agent is likely making more money off of an unsuspecting performer. If an agency guarantees you work, or tells you that they are working with a particular production, these are likely false claims.
Points to Consider When Choosing an Agent
- Remember, a Talent Agent works FOR the Performer.
- Does the Agency currently represent ACTRA Full Members, Apprentice Members and ACTRA Additional Background Performers?
- Is the Agent familiar with all the Collective Agreements negotiated and administered by ACTRA?
- Are they registered with a breakdown service (i.e. Breakdown Services or Casting Workbook )?
- Is the Agency charging you for access to Breakdown Express / Actors Access (they shouldn’t be – it is free)?
- Does the Agency use pressure tactics, discounts, and promises or guarantees of work and money?
- Does the Agency charge you for services performed on your behalf? If yes, what are the services and how much do they charge? Are the fees reasonable for the services they claim to provide to you?
- Does the agency require you to take classes and workshops from them? Agencies may offer classes and workshops, but you should not be required to take them as a condition of your representation.
- Does the Agency require you to use an in-house or specified photographer? (They may recommend photographers, but they should not require you to use a specific photographer.) Check out our list of photographers (the list is of photographers that work with ACTRA members).
- Does the Agency ask you to sign a contract without giving you time to think about your decision or without suggesting you check it with a lawyer?
- Are you comfortable with the cancellation terms in the Agency contract?
- Who receives residual payments on your behalf after you terminate your relationship with your current Agent? Remember to speak with other Performers about their own personal representation and experiences. This may also assist you in making your choice for the right Agent for you.
ACTRA is not responsible for the business practices of any Talent Agencies operating in Alberta.
ACTRA WILL NOT / DOES NOT GIVE PROVIDE ADVICE TO PERFORMERS ABOUT TALENT AGENTS. DO YOUR HOMEWORK!
Talent Agents listed on the ACTRA Alberta website have signed an Ethical Code of Conduct. Talent Agents on the list must uphold the code or they will be removed. The code can view viewed HERE.
If you have any questions or would like to file a complaint, please contact Branch Representative Tina Alford (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Ebbels Talent Alberta