In order to figure out which agent to target you will firstly need an IMDBpro membership, to gain information on who their clients are, what work they have booked lately and how to contact them.
Before sharing with you the top agencies in LA, here is a list of the main methods of procuring a new talent agent. Figure out which strategy below makes the most sense for you, then read on for information that may help you decide which level of talent agent to target.
• Mail or email the talent agencies directly (see previous chapter).
• Have your manager refer you to a talent agent or vice-versa.
• Attend a talent agency showcase (explained later in this chapter).
• Get a referral from a mutual friend or colleague.
• Get a referral to talent agencies from a CD.
• Meet a talent agent or manager socially and pursue a business relationship.
In the representation arena — more than any arena in Hollywood — nothing is more important than a referral. I know many actors who are represented by top talent agencies who have fewer credits or are less talented than other friends of mine who can’t even get a bad talent agent. It’s all about who you know and how marketable you are.
If a talent agent gets a call from one of their colleagues, clients, or friends saying “You have to meet this actor”, the agent will be more likely to meet the referred actor than an actor whose picture and resume was submitted with no referral.
Of course, the referral just gets your foot in the door. You need to be talented and marketable enough to keep that door open long enough to get through it.
Look at which talent agencies represent your friends, but be realistic about who you may be able to sign with. Make sure all of your marketing tools are at a professional standard, then ask your friends and contacts to refer you.
Referrals are a valuable commodity in Hollywood, so never be upset if someone won’t refer you to one of their contacts. Any person referring you to a talent agency is putting their name on the line for you. Giving a contact one bad referral raises doubts, but is forgivable. Giving two bad referrals may make the contact wary of your suggestions.
If a friend who has the power to refer you doesn’t think you’re at the right level, that you’d make a good match, or that it’s the right time, accept this and move on. You will do more damage than good being upset or expressing annoyance over it. There may also be factors involved that your friend is unable to share with you.
Be realistic about your salability. If you are not in SAG-AFTRA, or, even if you are in SAG-AFTRA but you do not have USA TV credits or some level of celebrity overseas or online, you are unlikely to be seen as a viable commodity for a higher level agency. Exceptions to this are if you can play a teenager, your look is rare, or if you have a specific and commonly sought after talent (such as singing or martial arts).
The Top 2 Hollywood Talent Agencies
• CAA (Creative Artists Agency)
• WME (William Morris Endeavour)
The Second Tier of Top Hollywood Talent Agencies
• APA (Agency for Performing Artists)
• CESD (Cunningham, Escott, Slevin, & Doherty)
• ICM (International Creative Management)
• UTA (United Talent Agency)