How does a performer, showrunner, director, or writer find an agent? Talent agents connect their clients with auditions, arrange meetings, help negotiate contracts, and they can provide a helpful mentor role for navigating a career in the entertainment industry. Artists tend to think of the “Big 4,” high profile movie talent agencies, but it is possible to find a smaller top talent agency that might be a better fit for where you are in your career. There are many things you can do before you ever connect with an agent to be as ready as possible when it is time to take the next step. In this post, we break down the best talent agencies, how to connect with them, and how and when to know you’re ready for an agent.
Talent Agency Prep
Are you ready for a talent agency?
Often aspiring performers and creatives think that getting an agent is the answer to getting their career going. While an agent can provide valuable mentorship and connection to opportunities, there is much you can do to get your career in motion before then. Taking your career into your own hands by getting all your basic “ducks in a row” is essential before reaching out to an agent. Below is a list of all the steps to have in place:
- Professional headshots, CV, writing samples or reel
- Your own website where you feature your best work, which you update frequently to show you are active
- Social media & your own YouTube channel for short films, demos, etc.
- Attend showcases in your city
- Book as many auditions as possible!
Before even beginning a search for a top talent agency, make sure you have the basics in place. You need headshots, a professional website featuring your reel or writing sample and CV, and a YouTube channel or other types of social media where you are actively sharing your work and establishing yourself. Attend showcases, book as many auditions as you can on your own, and put your work out there in as many ways as possible. Who knows, you might even go viral on TikTok and have agents reaching out to you.
The Big Time
Top Big Name Talent Agencies
When people in the entertainment industry think of the top movie talent agencies, they tend to think of the “Big 4”: Creative Artists Agency (CAA), William Morris Endeavor Agency (WME), United Talent Agency (UTA), and The Gersh Talent Agency. These are renowned as the best talent agencies in Los Angeles.
CAA, WME, and UTA tend to be for big name talent who are already fairly established, and they are, frankly, mostly inaccessible to the aspiring newcomer. Gersh is a more mid-career agency that connects talent who already have a decent body of work with excellent opportunities that can help them take their career to the next level. But they, too, prefer to find talent via industry referrals and do not accept cold calls.
As with anything in Hollywood, word of mouth and recommendations from someone you trust go a lot farther than a cold pitch. Therefore, although these are the top talent agencies for the bigger fish, and it is good to know their names, it isn’t likely you will be starting out with them.
Best Talent Agencies for Beginners
Top Agencies for New & Mid Level Talent
Aside from the Big 4, there are many other good agencies that can provide the stepping stone for booking gigs, getting auditions, and building your résumé. For beginner and mid-career talent, a talent agency that is more accessible can help accelerate your career path. with some info on their submission guidelines.
Below is a list of the best talent agencies for new actors, or those who want to augment their work with background roles, voiceover, and more.
Just remember, an agent from any of the best agencies is more likely to take on an artist who has already started the footwork for finding opportunities and establishing themselves on their own. Most of the best talent agencies for new actors below accept your press kit materials via email or snail mail, and several accept postcards and invitations to check out your performances.
Always keep in mind to double check their current submission guidelines before clicking “send”!
Best Talent Agencies for Creatives
Top Talent Agencies by Specialty
Most of the talent agencies we have covered up to this point work with a variety of talent, and are especially relevant for screen actors, voiceover talent, and theatre performers. But for certain creatives, it can be helpful to narrow your search based on what the best talent agencies are for your specific career path. If you’re a showrunner, you want to find agents who have a lot of connections in television – not theatre, touring comedy, or brand influencers. Below are some of the best talent agencies based on career path, for showrunners, writers, directors, theatre actors, and music or comedy performers (though each can also be useful for actors).
More on Auditions & Casting Calls
To dig deeper into arranging casting calls for your own productions, check out our post The Ultimate Guide to Casting Auditions [FREE Casting Sheet Template]. In this post we walk you through how to write character breakdowns, arrange for a casting site, post your casting notice, and more. You can also download our free casting sheet template.