How do I Become a Talent Agent?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

A talent agent serves as a scout for performers and models. By matching up the right client with the right jobs, he or she can have a hand helping a talented performer find career success. Becoming a talent agent often requires a lot of hard work, luck, and ingenuity, however. If you want to become a talent agent, taking a close look at the amount of work required may help you focus your career goals.

A college degree in film may be helpful for individuals aspiring to become talent agents.
A college degree in film may be helpful for individuals aspiring to become talent agents.

The traditional “Hollywood” way to become a talent agent involves climbing the difficult political and social ladders of Tinseltown. Typically, prospective agents start out as interns or entry-level workers at a well-known agency. By attentively soaking up available training and working harder than anyone thought possible, a promotion to assistant is usually the next step.

A talent agent may help an actor find career success in Hollywood.
A talent agent may help an actor find career success in Hollywood.

Assisting a qualified talent agent is one of the best ways to learn insider knowledge, but can also come with significant levels of stress. Some assistants work 12 to 15 hour days at the beck and call of the superior, hoping to catch enough positive attention to be promoted to the position of junior agent. Junior agents may work with entry-level talent, attempt to identify emerging stars and, with luck, recommend a performer or model for representation that becomes a huge hit. With enough dedication and ability, junior agents may be promoted out of the apprentice system and become full-fledged talent agents.

A talent agent may help models become successful in their careers.
A talent agent may help models become successful in their careers.

Although this method can lead to incredible opportunities to gain knowledge and insight into the field, it is far from the only way to become a talent agent. Some agents gain fame by scouting local talent in small towns and cities, exposing them to the big city and finding them their first paying gigs. If a burgeoning unknown is well-treated by his or her agent, it is possible that he or she will keep the agent on even after striking it big.

Other people incorporate aspects of an agency job into a larger business, such as wedding supply. By offering customers a range of performers, such as DJs, bands, and singers, as well as traditional wedding needs like tents and flowers, a supplier can provide lavish and often lucrative wedding packages from one main source. While this route lacks some of the glamor of the Hollywood method, it can be a great solution for aspiring agents who have no desire to leave their hometown for a big city or don't want the stress of the big-agency game.

One of the most important elements needed to become an agent is a college degree. A bachelor's degree is often required to get an interview at a large talent agency, even for a low-level position. Degrees in business, communications, film, theater, or producing are likely to be the most beneficial. In addition to displaying a person's clear interest in the field, degrees in these subjects provide the aspiring agent with valuable skills. A detailed understanding of talent, administration, and the performing and production world can be a huge advantage to someone who wants to enter this field.

A talent agent is responsible for helping a talented performer find career success.
A talent agent is responsible for helping a talented performer find career success.
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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Discussion Comments

tigers88

I have always thought it would be fun to as with an agent that only works with voice over talent. In my experience, these are the smartest, funnest and smartest people you meet in the entertainment business.

I think it has to do with the lack of ego. Because they are heard rather than seen, they get to set aside a lot of the superficial aspects of the entertainment industry and just be their own best selves.

summing

Has anyone been out to Hollywood and gone through the process of beocming a talent agent. I am talking about going from being an intern to being an actual agent.

Do you have any stories, experiences or anecdotes that you could share? This is sort of a dream of mine but I want to know as much as I can before I take the plunge and move out there.

backdraft

Becoming a talent agent is a tricky thing because it works in a cyclical way. In order to be a good talent agent you need to have good talent. But in order to get good talent, you need to have a reputation for being a good agent.

It really requires a certain kind of magic. You have to find people when they are young, see their talent early and capitalize on it for both of your good. Once you have made a name for yourself and proven that you can help people's careers you can start scouting for more established acts.

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