Finding the right person to be on your side, is one part of the battle. An important part. The right agent/ agency will help you make more contacts and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Given that there are those out there who take new comers and strugglers for a ride, it helps to evaluate all those in the business properly before figuring out who you want to go with. Who you choose is also important because they represent you and if you are not represented properly – it is your image that takes a hit. So what is that you need to look for when choosing the right agent.
1) Specialization: It helps to know and learn of the kind of work that the agency is mostly able to acquire, be it television, adverts, film or theatre. Even though they do get work from other avenues, do they specialize in the field that you wish to gain a foothold in, is an vital point.
2) Age group: Agencies at times work with specific age groups, adults, kids, young teenagers and so on. Again, just like the field that they cater to, it helps to look into the age groups that they by and large are able to place fairly quickly.
3) Levels: Some agencies are higher up the food chain and they take on only highly priced stars. Similarly there are those who will work really well for beginners, for actors coming in from theatres, so on and so forth. It helps to look into whether the agency or agent you approach are suited to the phase that you are at in your career. Then they are better equipped to get you for roles that suit your experience and talent – ensuring you a better chance of success.
4) Quality: The deciding factor in the end is the quality of auditioning calls that they are able to get for you. Are the roles right for you. As an actor it is often said that you need to be able to get into the skin of any character, but as a person you need to be suited for it too. It helps to discuss with your agent why they choose certain roles, and auditions for you and what your expectations and perceptions for yourself are. It might give both of you a clearer idea as to the range that you need to be working in to make a success of your partnership.
5) Quantity: At the start it is entirely about making your presence felt and this will require you to try your hand at everything that comes your way. It is important to make sure that a steady stream of work comes your way. Again that too means quite a few auditions. In all this, it becomes fundamentally important that your agent/agency is able to keep those auditions coming in, depending upon when you have work, when that work might be over and how to place your auditions such that there is no gap in your work.
Look before you leap into a contract!