Tips for Young Actors

As a new, budding young actor, an agent may not be the best thing for you to invest your time in… yet. Here are five reasons having an agent might not be a good move at this point:

1. You’re not ready to act professionally. Ouch! I know, that might sound a bit harsh, but just remember! Everyone starts out like this. If you’ve only just started out in your acting classes, or have no training to speak of, that’s a sign that you’re most likely not ready. When auditioning professionally, there is a standard that must be met and is expected, but how can you know this unless you’re taught? You can’t! That’s why it’s important to continue training, until both you and your teacher agree that you’re capable of handling the professional world. Until then, why waste the time, energy and money to find an agent? But, if even then you still feel like you should be auditioning and want to submit yourself without an agent, you can do so by visiting the many acting websites dedicated to open calls and self-submission tapes, such as Now Casting, Actors Access, Cast It Talent, and more.

2. You have little to no acting credits. Before you and your parent drop that bundle of headshots and resume into the mailbox, do you ever wonder why exactly an agent would be interested in you? Most actors just do it and pray that something will spark their interest, but why don’t we even know what might ignite that spark? How can we possibly be sold, when we don’t know what we have to offer? If you don’t know what you have to offer, aside from perhaps your looks, you have nothing to offer. Regardless of headshots, reel, and general look, you have to have credits. The main criteria for any job is experience, and in the case of acting, credits. If you have not done any work, you are not a professional actor so why would you be trying to get represented by a professional agent? Try gaining a couple of credits first, train, hone your craft, make connections, and agents will be far more receptive to you.

3. An Agent’s Reputation & Your Funds. An agent gets paid 10 percent, taken from your paycheck after a day’s work. Not only is that money being taken from you (which you want to save for training, workshops, new headshots, and anything you’ll need as a new actor), but that also means that an agent is not going to put their reputation on the line trying to convince a casting director that you’re so right for a role, until they are sure you are the next Dakota Fanning or Josh Hutcherson. When you find an agent, you want them to be one of your biggest cheerleaders, because they know how amazing you are! Why sign with anyone else? Wait, and you’ll be rewarded with a great team.

4. An agent can’t change the person you already are. A common phrase you may see or hear when potentially looking for an agent without the above ‘it factors’, is “developmental talent”; this means that the agent is interested in just that, developing you, helping you grow as an actor into your full, professional self. But, despite seeing and hearing this, in reality, no one truly wants to develop talent. That’s like gambling blind with really long odds and very little to gain. They would rather have someone signed that knows what they’re doing, has training, maybe some good credits, a good look, and so on. Agents and managers are happy to sell you, but they have to know what they are selling and it needs to be more than a headshot.

All of this may seem a bit pessimistic, discouraging, but don’t be! Don’t be disappointed! As a young, beginning actor, no one expects you to have it all just yet; you’re learning, developing your craft, skills, and who you are as a person, and that’s more than great J. Of course, don’t let being young stop you! Go after your dreams, take classes, workshops, attend YAC, where you can take classes covering topics such as these, on-camera classes, and more!

 

Happy Acting!

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