Talent Agents and Scouts
Talent agencies are located throughout the United States, handling a variety of talents. Those agencies that represent artists and professionals in the film industry are located primarily in Los Angeles. Some film agencies, such as William Morris Endeavor (WME), are located in New York City. An agency may specialize in a particular type of talent, such as minority actors, extras, or TV commercial actors. The top three film agencies that employ agents are the Creative Artists Agency, ICM Partners, and WME. The Association of Authors' Representatives has a list of member agencies, and the vast majority are located in New York City. The top modeling agencies, such as Wilhelmina, Ford, and Elite, have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami, but there are talent/modeling agencies in all metropolitan areas.
The best way to enter this field is through an internship with an agency. Many talent agents and scouts get their start through an internship with an agency. Those who live in Los Angeles or New York have access to opportunities for internships, part-time jobs, and even volunteer work. Search the Web sites of talent agencies as well as SAG-AFTRA for current listings of available internships and job openings. There are also employment agencies that focus specifically on certain media, such as film and entertainment, and deal with talent agencies; these can be found through online searches.
Assistants in talent agencies gain skills and advance their careers by working closely with agents to learn the ropes. They may be able to read contracts and listen in on phone calls and meetings. They begin to take on some of their own clients as they gain experience. Agents who wish to advance must work aggressively on behalf of their clients as well as seek out quality talent to bring into an agency. Those who are successful command more lucrative salaries and may choose to open their own agencies. Some agents find that their work is a good stepping-stone toward a different career in the industry.
Tips for Entry
Look for agents on social media sites, such as Twitter, and follow them to learn more about their ideas and the type of work they do.
Apply for an entry-level position at a talent agency. The Association of Talent Agents offers a list of agents at its Web site, https://www.agentassociation.com.
Participate in internships or part-time jobs at talent agencies to build your skills and make networking contacts.