Breaking into the entertainment industry can be tough, no matter if you’re going into acting, singing, dancing, or any of the many paths talent takes.
It’s a wide and competitive world, one in which you should take every advantage you can get.
This begs the question – do you need an agent?
Agents are often lauded for shepherding talent to great success, but are they necessary? Turns out, it depends.
An important part of the entertainment industry is who you know. Those with a deep well of like-minded colleagues and connections to others in the industry are more likely to be successful and cultivate opportunities for themselves.
Agents are already in the know, and have an established network that you will gain access to simply by way of working with them. They are aware of who is looking for what type of talent and can save you a lot of time searching for the right fit by introducing you to the right people.
On the flip side, the internet and social media provides an easy route to garner connections that are most helpful to your goals.
You can take agenting into your own hands with a live entertainment agency, wherein you list yourself among a database of talent that people can search through to find who they need. This database is presented to both companies and individuals and plays up each entertainer’s strengths to help them get bookings.
The entertainment industry is changing and nuanced, so you want someone on your side who can help navigate the tricky waters.
They will know which people and venues are looking for your particular talent, and be on top of opportunities before they become available in the wider marketplace so you can jump on gigs before most other people.
With industry, nuances come contracts, binding legal documents that can be riddled with stipulations and clauses you aren’t familiar with.
If you are unfamiliar with what a typical contract and its terms should look like, you’ll want to turn to an agent to give it a close look and indicate any possible red flags.
You may also be in the position to negotiate your pay. Sometimes people can take advantage of entertainers who are not well-established, quoting rates that are much lower than the person deserves for their talent and time.
If you do not know what these standard rates should be or how you can advocate for payment that is worth your time, you could be losing out on money.
Some people will not deal with entertainers unless they do have an agent. Agents indicate the talent is someone worth investing in, and lends credibility.
Overall, gauge your comfort level with the above. Do you think you have good connections or could make connections easily on your own? Are you familiar with the industry, what and how you should be getting paid for your time?
If you find that the answers to these questions elude you, you may want to work with an agent.