Acting agencies are businesses that help actors and actresses to find jobs. These businesses can range in size from small one-man bands that are run by one agent through to large multi-national agencies that work with talent from all over the world. Some agencies will specialise in specific types of acting and some will work across the board. So, for example, an agency may only deal with child actors or it may have agents who deal with actors of all ages and specialisations.
If an actor or an actress signs up with an acting agency then they will be represented by one of the company’s agents. Agents in acting agencies work closely with the individual actor/actress to help them promote their careers and to find work when it is available. It is the job of the agent here to make sure that they know what is going on in the acting world and to inform their client of roles and jobs that they may suitable for.
So, for example a film studio may inform acting agencies when it is looking for talent to appear in a new film. It may simply use one agency or it may cast its net further afield and get a few agencies involved. The agency would then contact clients who might be suitable and who are on its books to talk to them about the project. If the actor or actress is interested then the agency will try to get them an audition.
Many actors/actresses also expect their agent to be on the ball when it comes to spotting opportunities so good acting agencies will also take a proactive role in scouting out potential jobs and arranging auditions. In many cases they will also take on the role of negotiating contracts and payment details with the people that will employ their actors/actresses to try and get them the best deal.
Acting agencies most often work on a commission based basis. They will take a percentage cut of any money that an actor or actress on their books brings in - this is how they make their money. This can often cause friction if an actor or actress finds their own work and doesn’t involve their agent.
People working for acting agencies can have fairly demanding jobs. Actors and actresses may put a lot of pressure on them to find work and they may also expect them to act as a general support in their everyday lives as well. Breaking into a big name agency is the dream of many actors and actresses as many of the big companies are held to have the better pull in terms of the larger and more prestigious jobs.