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  • Writer's pictureElle Cecil

Agents In The Talent Industry

The key to beginning a successful career.

The entertainment industry is one of the broadest and prolific industries in the world. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, you’re surrounded by the work of the entertainment industry.

Standing at a bus stop? Clothing or product advertisements are likely to be plastered on the signs around you. Sitting in a waiting room? Notice the stack of magazines on the coffee table. Watching television on a Friday night? You’re going to be seeing all sorts of television shows, movies, and ads.

Should your child wish to start a career in the industry, it can be extremely overwhelming, and you may not know where or how to begin. This is where an agent comes in.

What is an agent?

An agent is essentially the industry representative for your child. Agents are widely experienced in the industry, with a broad range of industry connections. These connections are known as ‘clients’; those that are looking for someone to star in their film, television commercial, magazine spreads, or stage productions. The client could be anyone from photographers or casting agents, to producers, or brands. Your child is the ‘talent’, the subject of the shoot.

As the bridge between the client and talent, the agent presents suitable talent to a client, as per their briefs, so that the client can find the best fit for their job. Agents often have a wide range of talent to represent, usually sending several suitable matches per job to a client, depending on the brief.

Why does my child need an agent?

Agents are helpful in getting your child’s career up and running. Talent agents are responsible for ensuring that your child’s safety and wellbeing are maintained at jobs. They obtain the relevant work permits for children in their home state to participate in work and also ensure that regulatory frameworks are followed with regards to conditions at the job, hours worked by children, supervision on set, and other health and wellbeing requirements.

Agents, with their inside connections to the industry, will only submit your child to work with genuine and legitimate clients, saving you and your child from working with improper or dishonest parties. It is also common for many clients to not actually work with freelancers, and only work with reputable agents, which means freelancing your child’s career isn’t even a viable option with most clients. This is mainly due to the strict guidelines and regulations surrounding working with children.

As your representative, a talent agent will ensure fair compensation for your child, and also manage contracts, invoicing, and payments from jobs. As an industry insider, agents maintain mutually beneficial relationships with both clients and talent. This is a great way for talent to establish their careers and even prolonged working relationships with clients.

Prior to bringing a child onto their books, agents will outline the fees for their representative services. This includes a percentage of any payment your child receives from working on a job that your agent has booked. Commission will be between 10 and 20 percent depending on the state.

Will having an agent guarantee my child work?

It’s important to remember that your child’s agent is not responsible for the job itself; the agent is not the employer, but simply the bridge between your child and a job. Your child’s agent will put them forward for any suitable jobs, but whether or not your child actually books the job does not depend on the agent. Remember that agencies can’t submit talent, unless the client creates the work, without a client wanting a certain talent pool, an agent assists that talent pool in getting a job.

While the industry is a waiting game, the longer you are in the industry, the more exposure you will get and the more likely you could be to get work. While this still can’t create a guarantee, it creates the expectation that you can’t expect work within a certain amount of time.

Parents should trust in the fact that their child’s agent has their best interests at heart. They often want your child to book a job as much as you do! Be patient with your child’s agent and the industry itself, as a star-studded career won’t just happen overnight.

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