Rule #1: Be original — don’t be a whore! Sleep with people because you like them… not because you think it will help you. You will just get passed around.
We are all familiar with stories of shady agents who want you to meet them at their homes at night in order to make a move, or tell you, “that is how the industry is…” NO! This is a terrible misrepresentation and a sad story unfortunately told over and over again. This is business! You are talent and they are agents. The agent makes money when you make money. If you are talented you will work, period! If you are young and inexperienced and a bit naïve, you will most likely become a pet to an agent that finds you hot… but pay attention, this is a very expensive city and every day will cost you. Do not be intimidated, just be aware… you are after a profession and you should be professional. There are hundreds like you and you are not the first to use sex as an “in.”
The industry gets a bad rap as it is… be original, actually keep your clothes on, strengthen your skills by taking classes and getting real work experience, be on time, and stay away from the bullshit.
I recently interviewed a talent agent at a top talent agency who prefers to remain anonymous. Like most powerful agents, she prefers to let her work represent her.
How is a manager different from an agent? What do you consider yourself?
I’m an agent.
Describe your typical day.
There is no typical day for an agent. It is truly different every single day.
What personality traits does a great agent need to have?
They must be aggressive, personable, patient, a good talker and a good listener.
What’s the biggest perk of doing what you do?
Watching people succeed.
The job is never done… ironically, that is an upside as well.
What would you tell a 21-year-old who wants to be you in 10 years?
Nothing is handed to you. Be ready to work for it. Overtime is part of the job.
What advice would you offer someone new to the industry?
Acting is a profession that doesn’t want or need you. Be prepared for that. Wake up every morning and know you are going to be successful.
How important is networking?
Very important; in this world, it’s always who you know.
What education or training do you recommend?
Be an assistant and a waitress.
In the age of Gawker, TMZ, etc., how has your job changed?
It hasn’t. Just another distraction during the day.