Advice Agent Filmmaking Resources

How to get an agent for film directors, actors and writers

Finding an agent is one of the biggest steps to growing your film career and also one of the most common questions asked in the film industry.

You’ve finished another short film as an actor and feel you need to make text step, you’re an aspiring screenwriter with a polished script ready to release into the filmmaking world. But, how do I find an agent? What do they do? What’s the best agency?

These are just a number of questions we resolve below to help you grow your filmmaking career as an actor, screenwriter or director.

What is an agent?

An agent helps an actor, screenwriter or director negotiate and secure contracts for a film. They also help to source new job roles and potential auditions and set up potential meetings with producers and production companies.

Your agent will always be on the lookout for possible opportunities or partnerships for you to grow your career, but also for their own career – as they need you to secure jobs for themselves to be paid. Overall agents are important to have they ensure you get paid correctly and negotiate the terms and costs on your behalf taking a lot of time and worry off of your hands.

What is the difference between a manager and an agent?

The most apparent difference in the two is that a manager can produce the work of their clients and agents can not.

Agents are contractually obliged to act on the client’s behalf financially, whilst a manager is able to help their client build a strategy and bounce ideas off of. In terms of costs, they usually both take around 10%-15% commission per project (Before tax). It’s really negotiable, but some of the bigger agencies have pre-determined fixed commission percentages. Remember never, ever, ever pay money upfront, this will most definitely be a scam!

READ MORE: 7 screenwriting tips for beginners

What are the different types of agents?

A film agent meeting

What is a literary agent?

A literary agent is an agent who represents screenwriters for film and television. At the larger more prominent agencies you’ll have an agent for both TV and for film.

The agents are split up this way to focus on the detail, to help you secure work in that given sector. They have a huge network of contacts within the specific sector and it can allow you to get your work seen by the right people.

Remember to have a few scripts behind you if you are looking for an agent as they’ll be keen to see what other genres/types of scripts to make a decision whether or not to bring you on.

What is a talent agent?

Talent agents represent both directors and actors. The way these agents work is based on your ability and proven work. Make sure you get as good as you can with your craft to get noticed. They attend a lot of showcases and get recommended talent all the time, they’re always watching the next big artist or director.

Make sure to take as many classes as you can and always work on improv and building your skillset. This will help you always be on point and fresh, ready to perform to your highest ability when called upon.

READ MORE: A guide on how to become an actor with no experience

Who are the biggest agencies?

United Kingdom:

United States:

READ MORE: A guide on how to become an actor with no experience

How do I get an agent?

There are many ways for you to get an agent, from being recommended to being spotted, there are numerous pathways to getting an agent.

How do I find a literary agent?

Finding a literary agent can be a handful. There isn’t really a set way, but you can improve your chances by entering screenwriting competitions, applying for funds and also through The Black List website.

It’s also beneficial to make connections with the agent’s assistant’s, that way you can potentially have your material passed upwards. The best way is to practise your craft and continue to compete in competitions and approach agents personally.

The key is to generate a lot of material and make that material strong with a great story and interesting plots. Check out our article on writing a film treatment here.

How to find a talent agent as a director?

Firstly, make sure you have a reel of some sorts. Put all of your best work together and have a reel ready to showcase at the click of a button. It’s a similar deal to writers as you can essentially be anywhere in the world.

It’s a gradual process and you’ll find the more films and shorts you direct the more avenues open. People start to see your talent, your direction and it starts to get people talking and interested. Make sure you have your personal marketing materials always on hand and up to date for when the time comes.

It’s worth reaching out to production assistants to start to build relationships to get your work seen. But remember, keep on making your movies as your popularity will build so will interest in your talent and services, no doubt.

READ MORE: How to become a film director

How do I find a talent agent? 

Talent agents quite often recruit a new actor from a recommendation from a trusted source or an actor already on their books. They do attend a lot of showcases especially graduation at film schools to see if there is anyone with outstanding talent that they can poach.

It is also very much determined on your location as well. If you want to make it you want to be in the big acting cities, Los Angeles, New York, London and Atlanta for a chance to get your big role.

Summing it up

Overall, it really does take time, but as long as you are constantly working on your craft and enjoying yourself – the agents will come flooding in.

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