What's a "casting agent?" There's NO such thing!
Are you talking about a TALENT agent or Casting DIRECTOR?
A TALENT agent costs NOTHING to be signed with them. They ONLY make money when you do! If you book a job, they usually take 10?n film/tv and commercials and 20?n commercial print.
A casting DIRECTOR is the person the TALENT agent gets you auditions with. If you do well at your audition and the casting DIRECTOR likes you, he or she will invite you to a callback where you will audition for the producers/clients who are the ones who ultimately say you get the job.
Because you DON'T have your terminology right, I don't think you're ready to get a TALENT agent, but what the hell?
To get a TALENT agent, you need to get GREAT headshots, a good resume, and training from the best. These are enough to get you a commercial agent at least. Getting a GOOD theatrical agent (Film/tv) takes longer. Most good theatrical agents won't see you unless you're SAG, have a polished resume, and a demo reel. Commercial agents are more lenient about that. What the best Commercial agents want to see on your resume are good commercial classes, improv, and cold reading.
You can get an agent multiple ways. Here are a few common ways:
-Mail in an unsealed manilla envelope with a CONCISE coverletter and headshot with the resume stapled on the back. If you have a demoreel include that too.
-Attend a showcase and impress them. By showcase I do not mean scammy conventions like IMTA, Proscout, IPOP, or Best New Talent. I mean legit ones like at TVI, Reel pros, etc.
-Get a referral from a friend who is with the agency that you're interested in
-Email them unless they tell you to. IT'S UNPROFESSIONAL!
-Call unless they tell you to. ALSO UNPROFESSIONAL!
-Walk in and ask for a meeting. UNPROFESSIONAL THREE!
-Sign with them if they ask for upfront money, make you take new photos with THEIR photographer, or take THEIR classes. Agent's ONLY make money when you do. Agents usually make 10?n film/tv and commercials and 20?n commercial print
Excluding the Big 5 (CAA, ICM, William Morris, UTA, Endeavor) and B Agencies (Gersh, Paradigm, Stone Manners) which DON'T take new talent or people without celebrity endorsements or actual film/tv credits, here are the top agencies in LA:
Top Commercial Agencies
Coast to Coast
Sutton, Barth, Venari
Arlene Thornton and Associates
Don Buchwald and Associates
M. Greene and associates
Amsel, Eisenstadt & Frazier
Brady, Brannon, and Rich
Special Artists Agency
Up and Comers:
-Talentworks (Emily Hope from ACME is here)
-BMG (Shanna Randell from Bobby Ball is here)
Here are some of the best theatrical agencies:
-Coast to Coast
-Amsel Eisenstadt Frazier
-House of Representatives
-M. Greene and associates
-Agency for the Performing Arts
-Media Artists Group
L.A. agencies to avoid:
-Dedicated-Originally Zanuck, Passon, and Pace, one of the scammiest agencies in L.A. When they were ZPP they would make their clients use THEIR photographer and take THEIR classes. They also made you get 10 character shots such as literally dressing up like a doctor, cop, construction worker, etc. You don't get character shots! Dedicated is still up to this scheme.
-Michael Zanuck-Split from Dedicated in hopes of bettering his reputation, but still up to the same schemes. He at least makes you get 6 character shots instead of 10.
-Doug Bennett of Don Gerler-He makes you get 15 character shots. If you thought the agent movie stereotype was phony, think again.
-Sylvia Ferguson-Not state licensed. Charges $140 a year for this bogus casting service called E-Talent files. She entices potential clients into getting the service by saying it will help better their chances.
-Steinberg and Associates- Barbara LeBaron is very loony and is known to have lost auditions for her clients. She also doesn't know when to shut up.
-Advance L.A.-Not state licensed. Associated with John Robert Powers. Has been known to flake on paying clients. If they don't sign you they recommend that you take a class at JRP and come back to them.
-Action Talent Agency-Not state licensed. Posts on Craigslist. Sends rude form letters saying that you've never taken a commercial class, even if you have
Answered By: ELDORADO59 - 4/6/2009