P-A Turner was the managing director and senior agent for the West End agency Principal Artistes. She has been in the entertainment business for 35 years in a career that has spanned the globe and included successful spells as an actress, casting director, personal assistant and producer.
We are very lucky to have P-A as a columnist and must thank her for sparing time to write for us when Principal Artistes books are full and the agency is at its very busiest.
Why Do I Need An Agent?
There are several important reasons for getting an agent but perhaps the most important one is to free up your time so you can pursue your career! Agents are at the centre of the industry and privy to information that actors aren’t. They are at the end of a fax, phone or computer eight hours a day, five days a week working on your behalf when you should be boning up your skills and audition pieces and earning that all important living.
Agents are specialists. They specialise in contacts, contracts and the never ending negotiations that are necessary to maximise the careers of the artists on their books. They know which director or casting director to call to land you that plum role you’ve been after and crucially they know when to call him. These are busy people and for reasons all their own usually don’t have time for calls from actors. Which brings us to another point about why you need an agent: an agent raises your profile and gives others confidence in your ability. What this means is the casting director will want to see you because your agent has a reputation for representing quality actors. He might also want to see you on the strength of the cv supplied by your agent. Cvs choreographed by agents are invariably better arranged than those designed by actors themselves. Remember, an agent knows how to market you objectively.
Another good reason to get an agent is that he or she will incur the phone bills, faxes, stationary and postage used to promote you. Even if you are not working and flat broke your agent is still paying all these expenses for you – not to mention staff salaries, rent, rates, bills and utilities…phew! (Just think of that the next time you’re wondering where your commission goes!)
Agents are there to sell you and your work and no one can do this for you like a professional can. So if you want to climb that career ladder you had best get busy, get seen and get yourself an agent.
Best of luck