I remember being a young aspiring actor, despite it now feeling like a lifetime ago. Growing up in a family with a strong interest in sport, and a vague appreciation of creativity, I didn't start out with a clear, or even vague idea of how the industry worked. At some point I discovered agents existed, and that an actor NEEDED an agent to have any chance of being successful. It wasn't until I became an agent myself that I began to learn just what that particular role involved, and why it was considered important for an actor to have an agent.
In the simplest terms, and agent is a representative of an actor who is responsible for certain aspects of that actors career. These can vary depending on the agent but in early careers normally involve sourcing opportunities for the actor, negotiating rates and contracts and working with the actor to build strategies to move them toward achieving their career goals.
It's crucial for an actor with clear career goals and training and skill to back them up, that they have a strong working relationship with their representatives. The idea of just "getting an agent" doesn't help. Signing with an agent with whom an actor can develop a relationship based on trust and mutual goals is crucial. It's likely not news that this industry can be tough. It's competitive and constantly changing. As I write this the entire industry is in almost shut down. Actors and their representatives need to be able to move quickly to adapt to challenges, and work together to overcome them.
Agents are real people, with their own set of goals and aspirations. Many people who move into the field were at some point actors or creatives themselves. Most are driven by a strong, deep-seeded desire to support and aid others. With that said, like any industry professionals, agents will be looking to collaborate with people who are equally driven and focused. So before you consider signing with an agent, ask yourself if you're ready to get up each day and focus on your career - as that's what you're asking of them.
Remember, while you're a member of the AAA community, you can use our team of coaches to help guide you. Before you sign with an agent I'd suggest you check in with your coach to ask them if they think you're ready, and if they are familiar with the agents you're considering. Our team is made up of a mix of industry and educational experts - there's always someone to help!