Getting an Agent

In Professional Advice on August 10, 2010 at 12:18 am

While acting is a form of art and expression, it is also a business. In order to succeed, build your resume, experience and provide for yourself financially through this profession, you’ll need to approach acting as a business. A fundamental key to any good business is marketing or promotion. And what you are marketing as an actor is yourself.

The first way a professional actor promotes him or herself is through an actor’s agent. An agent works for YOU! They put you forward for potential acting jobs and negotiate the best fee and conditions for jobs you land. In exchange for this representation, an agent will take a percentage of any TV, film or commercial work that you do. Traditionally, an agent will take between 10 and 20 percent of your total fee.

The only other expenses you should expect to pay for when signing up to an agency are photos and membership to an online directory. This includes the costs for getting photos shot and printed every few years (so they are updated as you mature). Most agents have some sort of online directory which you pay an annual membership fee for. This fee should be anywhere between 80 and 130 per year, depending on the agent and the cost of the directory website that agency is using. The directory profiles your experience and training that casting directors, directors and producers will look at when considering you for a role.

Meeting An Agent:

If an agent hasn’t approached you, it is up to you to contact them. Before you do so, you should be prepared to answer the following questions the agent may ask you:

  • Tell me about yourself?
  • What is it that you want to do as an actor?
  • Do you already have any experience or training?
  • What are your goals? What kind of work are you interested in?
  • Are you intending to study professionally later on, or is your main aim to get a juicy role on Shortland Street?           

Most of this information would be included in a resume, but some of it you’ll need to know when being interviewed by prospective agents. Your answers should be clear and direct, beginning with the most relevant and helpful information. An agent will want to know how to promote you.

Some contact details for agents in the Wellington area are below.  These should help you get started:

Kirsty Bunny at Kirsty Bunny Management            

Sharon Power at Sharon Power Management         

Jude Lane at Red Rocket Actors                                      

Tim Gordon at The Pro Actors                              

Nicole Kircher at Possum Talent Management

Lynne Breed at The Human Agency                      

Each agency has a different policy on how they want you to contact them initially. Some want you to apply through their online application form, which will be on their website.  Others are happy for you to contact them directly via telephone or email. So go to their website to find what the process is for each individual agency. 

The agent you sign up with is the one you feel you have a personal connection with, that you feel comfortable with, and the one you get the sense from that they are excited about representing you. You should try and get an interview with every agent before making a decision about which one you go with. This is the common mistake most actors make. They go with the first agent that says yes, instead of doing their homework of investigating all possibilities.                                                             

Once you have an agent, you should regularly update him or her with ‘news’. Whether it is a class you’re taking, a role you auditioned for that you organised yourself or a part you got. Regular contact with your agent is the best way to keep you top of their mind. 

Stay tuned for more information on developing and nurturing your relationship with your agent, so you get put forward for more and more opportunities.

For information on how to choose an agent, see our new blog…

And then on how to develop that agent relationship, see…

Barbara Woods

The Wellington Actors Studio

For information on courses available at The Wellington Actors Studio go to

  1. […] agent does and the process of how to get an agent.  See the link first before reading ahead…   Now, how do you choose one? Who is the best agent to sign up with?  There is some significant […]

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