• Saturday, November 17, 2007

    How to find an agent in the UK


    There are several different types of agents, each represent various types of actors; there are agents that just look after presenters, or voice-overs, and others that concentrate on Dancers, Singers, and finally supporting Artists. Etc. Each agency has an image it tries to project and maintain. Every Actor represented by the agency is an extension of its own image.
    Agents representing actors or presenters on a personal management basis are sometimes on exclusive contracts. Although you could be taken on casual bases in which case these agents don’t require that their artists sign an exclusive contract. That means you could be with more than one agent trying to find you work. Also, there are cooperative agencies where you have much more of an input into your career. Normally you would be expected to work at least one day a week in the agency. It is important, therefore, to know which agent to write to and why. Just because a specific agency is considered to be the best for other people, this does not necessarily mean that it is going to be the best agency for you. Search until you find the best for your particular requirements A little research can save you a lot of time and money. The key ingredient in choosing an agent or agency is the excitement factor. Get advice from other actors, teachers, Casting Directors, and other industry people who can help you choose the right agent. Other ways are through repertory productions, or a showcase. These are normally small profit sharing productions done at established venues all around the country where you can invite agents and casting directors, to see you at work, and, finally, through drama school.
    To start, you want a small-to-mid sized agency that is excited about you and will work for you. The agency you sign with shouldn't have too many actors represented by them. It is hard for one individual to handle more than twenty people Remember you should never join an agency over the phone, always go and meet the agent, maybe more than once before signing an exclusive contract. From your agency you should expect: Honesty, Protection, Career Guidance, Promotion, Professional and Courteous Service.
    You should not expect from your agent: Advances in pay, Services as a Psychologist, Mother, Father, etc., or Rides anywhere. Always check and make sure that the agency is working within the DTI guidelines: that they pay within 10 days of receipt of any monies that they receive on your behalf, and that all monies are kept in a separate client account. Never pay an agency-joining fee. Accredited agencies will never ask for a registration fees, this is not legal, and goes against the DTI agency legislation, which all agencies in the UK should adhere to. Agencies that do ask for this fee should be reported to the DTI (Department for Trade and Industry). If you are still not sure about the agent ring the DTI and ask if they have any problems with that agency, you will find their number in your local yellow Pages www.yell.com or Thomson Local www.thomsonlocal.co.uk or call the actors Union Equity 020 7379 6000 who will be able to tell you if an agent is on their special attention list.

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