For the past 10 years, I have been a talent agent, working in film and television, as well as the modeling industry.
Many people view this as a glamorous job and, on some occasions, it can be. However, it is real work that can be extremely stressful. Probably the most common misunderstanding is that you spend your days and nights surrounded by celebrities. This is not often the case.
The Career Path Of Talent Agent Stars And Pedestrians
My job involves going over hundreds of photos each day, searching for the right face for the role I’m attempting to fill. The company I’m employed with represents actors and I am tasked with bringing in new talent. When a client needs an actor for a commercial, television show or movie, I have the job of finding that someone who will be perfect for the role. The goal is to keep the actors in our agency working and to enlist new faces to represent.
On a scale of 1 to 10, most days would definitely be a 10 as my job is quite rewarding. However, there are some extremely stressful times when I would lower that rating a few notches. Usually, a few days off relaxing helps me unleash my enthusiasm.
I do believe working in the talent industry is something that is truly my calling in life. I have always been a people person, not only enjoying others, but being able to read people. This has helped me tremendously in my position. I can read clients to understand exactly what they want in an actor and can also read potential new actors to see if they are right for our agency.
Something unique about my situation is the fact that I landed this job through connections with competitors. It seems you get a reputation in the entertainment industry. If you have an eye for talent and are good at what you do, not only does your boss recognize your abilities, but other leaders in the industry will hear about you through the grapevine. If you work hard and earn a good reputation, that can really make a difference in how fast you climb the ladder in this career.
I first got my start working in high school for a small talent agency. I thought for a brief five seconds I wanted to be a model. I went on an interview and did not get a call to model, but did get offered a job in the modeling agency office helping with filing and errands. This led to my interest in working in the talent industry. If I could go back, I would have paid more attention to my boss in that job. She was extremely organized and decisive.
I learned the hard way that there are people you trust and people who are not trustworthy. After college, when I accepted a position with a talent agency in New York, I trusted the wrong person who was my supervisor at the time. This person blamed every bad decision he made on me and created animosity between me and the company owner. In the end, the truth was revealed, but I spent several months in an unhealthy work environment I would never want to go back to again.
The single most important thing I have learned about the working world is to trust my own instincts. When I know that an actor is right for a role and should be sent on a call, I stand by that decision, despite what others in the agency might think. Ninety-nine percent of the time my instincts are right.
The strangest thing that ever happened to me since I became a talent agent was when I spent an hour interviewing a potential client over the phone who was casting for a movie. It turned out he was 14 years old and making a prank call. He was extremely professional and totally believable.
I feel rewarded when I turn on the television and see someone I have recommended in a commercial or go to the theatre and see an actor I sent on a call now on the big screen. This is what makes me get up and go to work every day. You can’t beat that feeling of pride in your work.
Challenges for me occur when I am stuck and can’t find the right person for the role a client needs filled.
My job is stressful and I do need to focus more on achieving a healthy balance between work and life outside my job. Some days that is difficult.
I made very little early on, but now earn six figures. It took me 10 years to get to that point and I’m happy I stuck with it. Of course, I always think I deserve more.
I take about three weeks off each year. Again, I would love to have more free time because my phone continues to ring even when I’m away from the office.
You need business and marketing education, film and television production knowledge, and organizational skills for this field. You also need to be decisive and have an eye for talent.
I would tell a friend considering this field to break in by doing entry-level work with an agency.
In five years, I hope to own my own talent agency with a top-notch staff.
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