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By Faith Hibbs-Clark, Founder

Communication issues is one of the biggest complaints actors report about their agents.  Ask these 10 questions before you sign. 
1) How long have you been a talent agent? How long has the agency been in business?
2) Are you union franchised with SAGAFTRA? An agency does not have to be franchised but if you are a member of the union or think you will become one soon, you will want to sign with a franchised agent.
3) What types of projects do you represent talent for? Some agencies specialize in areas such as theatrical (meaning film), modeling, music, commercial, voice-over, etc., while some will say they are "across the board" and will represent you for multiple types of work.
4) What is your agency fee/commission structure? It is also a good to ask how they process payment. Do the checks come to the agent or do they come to you directly? Some agents require a website fee. Currently SAGAFTRA has guidelines as to how much that fee is allowed to be for franchised agents. You should find out how much that fee is and how often it is paid as well as current union rules regarding those fees in your region.
5) How would you market me? It is good to find out from they potential agent how they view your type and how they would market you. If they see you differently than you want to be seen then it might not be a good match. Of course, it doesn't hurt to get an objective opinion.
6) How many other people do you represent that fit into my category? If they have a lot of others that are like you, then you might end up competing within the agency for audition spots. The fewer actors they have in your category the better.
7) How and how often do I communicate with you? Communication issues is one of the biggest complaints actors report about their agents. It is best to ask up front what the expectations are for that agent. Do they prefer emails over phone calls? Do they mind if you call them after hours or on weekends? Find out and decide if that also works for you.
8) What is their agency jurisdiction in terms of area? Do they only represent you within that state or a larger region?
9) Is the contract exclusive or non-exclusive? Some agents will sign you but allow you to also sign with other agents in the region. Others are exclusive and only allow you to sign with their agency in that region.
10) What are your expectations of me? It is good to know up front what they will want you to do to help them market you. It is also important that any tasks assigned to you are done in a timely way.

If you plan to go to any networking events that agents are attending, I would also recommend my E-book "Actor's Guide to In-person Networking" for more great tips on how to build your confidence, how to small talk, and how to read the room, and so much more.

© This information is copyrighted 2021 Communication Method for Actors, LLC

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