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Agent

Industries:
Film | Radio | TV
Personality type:
Communicator
Departments:
Performers

The lowdown

  • Representing performers and creative team members working across the disciplines of film, television, radio and theatre
  • Finding work for clients and cultivating relationships with industry decision-makers

Is this role right for me?

To do this role, you will need to:

  • have excellent social skills, particularly the ability to make good contacts within the industry and to maintain them diplomatically and tactfully
  • be able to network effectively 
  • have good communication and linguistic abilities
  • be skilled in persuasion and negotiation
  • possess business skills
  • be able to conduct research keep up to date with industry developments
  • have patience and good listening skills
  • possess strong organisational and administrative abilities

What does an Agent do?

Agents represent performers and creative team members who work across the disciplines of film, television, radio and theatre.

Their clients may include Actors, Singers, Dancers, Walk Ons or Supporting Artists, Stand Up Comedians, Variety Artists, Presenters, Choreographers, Designers and Directors.

Agents find work for their clients, cultivating relationships with industry decision-makers in order to persuade them to take their clients on. Much of their time is spent establishing and maintaining relationships, using contacts to source work. They must keep up to date with what's happening in the entertainment industry and find out what productions are in development, and which have been given a green light. Agents also look for new artists to complement their existing roster.

They co-ordinate artists’ contracts and secure appropriate deals for them. They keep up to date with industry rates and industrial agreements, and act as a buffer during contractual negotiations. They also support and guide their artists' careers.

Will I need a qualification?

You will need industry experience and knowledge to become a successful Agent. No specific qualifications are required. A background in business, especially in sales, would stand you in good stead.

You could begin your career in an assistant role within an agency, and learn on the job.

The main qualification you will need is the ability to develop and maintain a range of industry contacts, requiring the good judgement acquired by experience of working in the role.

What’s the best route in?

There is no specific career route you can take to becoming an Agent. Agents come from a variety of backgrounds.

You could start by working in a junior role in an agency or as a performer or work commissioner. An alternative route would be to work in an HR departments in another industry.

Interested? Find out more...

Websites

  • Equity – is the trade union representing artists across the whole spectrum of arts and entertainment, and offers representation, specialist knowledge and advice for its members and student members on work in film, television, radio and other live performance
  • BBC Academy - College of Production - information and advice on the skills required to make engaging television, including interviews with producers in music, speech, factual and comedy about what it takes to work in television
  • Drama UK - body championing quality drama training in the UK through advocacy, assurance and advice
  • The Agents' Association - represents all kinds of performers, celebrities and musicians within all areas of the light entertainment industry

Publications

  • The Stage – the entertainment trade weekly, includes recruitment advertisements, useful links and 'how to guides', such as finding an agent or drama school.
  • Contacts is published annually by Spotlight and provides details of all aspects of the entertainment industry
  • Writers' and Artists' Yearbook, a guide to markets in all areas of the media; published annually by A & C Black, London.