As voice talents, we all want great agents representing us. I think the challenge is reconciling the 20th century attitudes that been thrust upon us about what agents are & our relationship to them with the 21st century need to effectively vet an agent and nurture a healthy, equal relationship.
Before you go any further, you may want to read this blog entry about the questions you need to ask yourself before looking for an agent. Did you read it? Good! If not, I’ll wait…
The agency In both Ears, a staunch member of the VO Agent Alliance and vocal advocate for the integrity of the voiceover industry, has some specific requirements for talent to be considered for representation. You can read it in its entirety here, but for the purposes of this conversation I want to focus on one bit:
We believe talent should have no more than seven agents total – three in major markets and four in regional markets. Even this is pushing the envelope. More representation than this leads to over-saturation and duplication of efforts, in our opinion. There’s no need for everyone to spin their wheels on the same casting calls, which is what happens when talent have too many agents.
In the US, I have one manager and six regional/national agents that regularly send me on auditions. I’m signed with one agent exclusive to one market and I freelance with the rest. I get a few duplicate casting calls each month, but I think it’s hard to avoid. It seems like a pretty good balance where I’m currently at in my career.
TIP OF THE WEEK
With all that in mind, here are some questions you should ask when you vet an agent:
Are they franchised? FYI The term “franchised agent” means a talent agent that is licensed by the state in which they operate and has been officially approved by SAG-AFTRA.
How many voice talents do they have on their roster? Too many may mean too little or no personal attention.
Which markets do they cover? NY, LA, etc.
Do you have to sign with them? Some require it, some don’t.
Do you have to be exclusive with them? Some require it, some don’t.
Where do they get their auditions from? If they get them from certain P2P sites that may be an ethical issue.
Are the auditions union, non-union, or both?
Are the auditions online, in-person, or both?
Do they require a commission from just the gigs they book you or for all of the gigs you book everywhere? Some do, some don’t. Unless they are truly managing your career and you’re booking gobs of great gigs with them, I wouldn’t do it.
Do they require you take classes with certain coaches before they will represent you? RED FLAG
Do you have to pay any “listing fees” to be represented? YELLOW FLAG
Remember, you don’t work for your agents. You work with your agents. It’s an equal B2B relationship and it’s both your and your agent’s responsibility to ensure that both of you are well-represented.
NEWS AND NOTES
Last week I was at TerrifiCon in the Mohegan Sun to promote my comic book Agent 1.22. While I’m stretching my legs, I walk past a vendor booth and I see a Lightseekers display! I chat with the guy who’s running the booth and he asks if he can take a picture of me next to one of the Jax packs. Here it is!