8 Great Questions To Ask An Agent Before Signing

Congratulations you’ve booked a meeting with a potential new agent! It’s one of the most exciting times in your career.

If this could be your very first agent or you’re already represented but exploring a new direction then you’ll want to go to your meeting prepared.

Remember – this is not a job interview. You are exploring a potential new partnership, on equal footing. So here are 8 great questions you should ask them to explore if you two are going to be a great fit for each other.

  1. Questions About The Agency
    1. What Do You Feel Your Agency Is Known For?
    2. Do You Have A Client You Are Particularly Proud Of What You Helped Them Accomplish?
    3. Does Your Agency Use Lists Or Do You All Represent All Clients
  2. Questions About Clients
    1. What Kinds Of Things Make A Great Client For You?
    2. How Do You Feel About Me Submitting Myself For Projects
    3. How Do You Feel About Me Doing Low & No Pay Work
  3. Questions About You
    1. What’s Your Impression Of My Casting Type
    2. What’s Your Impression Of My Headshots

Questions About The Agency

What Do You Feel Your Agency Is Best Known For?

What do you feel sets you apart from other agencies?

Having done your research on which casting directors their clients work with most often, you can ask what they think sets them apart in the eyes of those casting directors.

What is it about their agency and clients that makes those casting directors come back again and again.

Do You Have A Client You Are Particularly Proud Of What You Helped Them Accomplish?

What a great way to give an agent an opportunity to make them feel good about themselves.

Agents love helping their clients achieve great things and asking this open question allows you to get a sense of their passion for their work and their love for the actors they represent without it sounding like an interrogation.

Does Your Agency Use Lists Or Do You All Represent All Clients

This is mostly important to understand how the agents communicate with each other and with you.

If you are represented by one agent within an agency on their own list then you will rarely have any contact with the other agents with that agency.

If however each agent has their own industry specialism like musical theatre or TV / Film then you might get calls from each different agent, or might have specific questions you will send to one or the other.

Questions About Clients

What Kinds Of Things Make A Great Client For You?

What makes an ideal client for you?

I love this question. It firstly shows that you have a willingness to learn how the agency works and how you can fit into that culture.

It sets you up as someone who is keen to adapt your working style to a way that helps the agent do their best work, and get you your best opportunities as a result.

But besides that it gives the agent an opportunity to articulate the things that are most important to them in the way they like to work and in the way they like their clients to work.

This should show you very quickly whether you are likely to be a good fit for each other, a good team.

How Do You Feel About Me Submitting Myself For Projects?

How proactive do you like your clients to be? How do you feel about me sourcing my own projects outside of Spotlight?

This is an important question to ask because each agent has their own opinion about this and you should also have your own opinion about it. Those opinions have to match.

If you’re the kind of actor who like to be really proactive and are keen to continue sourcing projects for yourself to build experience and credits outside of Spotlight but your agent doesn’t want you doing any work that they might see as beneath where they want to be pitching you then that’s something you need to discuss and come to an agreement on.

On the flip side, if you’re the kind of actor who is happy for your agent to handle all the submissions and just take auditions for projects whenever they come through but your agent would be totally open to you handling all the casting sites outside of Spotlight and thinks it would be a great idea for you to get some more experience and credits at that level then you also have a mismatch.

There is no right way around but what’s important is that you know where the other one stands so you don’t stand on each others toes and help each other do your jobs better.

How Do You Feel About Me Doing Low & No Pay Work?

How do you feel about me doing fringe work, shorts, student work and other low or no pay jobs to build up my experience?

Do you like me to handle all aspects of those jobs or do you still want to handle contracts at that level?

These are also important questions to ask. Some agents feel that low and no py work are not a good idea to build up credits and experience, that doing that kind of work cheapens you and makes you look less desirable to casting and creatives.

Some agents encourage you to explore work at that level because it makes you a better actor, improves your technique and your audition ability but they don’t want that type of work to take time away from them managing paid submissions so they are happy for you to handle it yourself.  

Questions About You

What’s Your Impression Of My Casting Type

This question is a bit of a maybe.

The truth is that an agents’ impression of your castability will unfold over time as they get more information about the types of roles you get called in for the type of feedback you get or how close you get for certain parts.

They will of course have a relative impression of your castability based on a comparison of you with their other clients and the breakdowns they see every day that they think you would be right for but this will mostly unfold over time after they have started to submit you for roles so it’s not a hugely important question at this stage.

On the other hand, however, it’s important that you and your agent share the same general idea of your castability otherwise they are going to submit you for the types of roles they think you are right for and you’re going to keep getting auditions for stuff you think you are wrong for instead of what you really want, or what you really think you’re right for.

This is a question about managing expectations, about aligning the ideas about you that you both have.

What’s Your Impression Of My Headshots

Most agents will be fairly forthcoming with this information, but if they don’t volunteer their opinion off the bat then it’s a good question to ask.

If they like your headshots that will no doubt have been one of the reasons they asked you to meet with them. Your headshots may already be sparking off ideas in their head of what types of breakdowns they could be submitting you for if you were their client.

If they think your headshots are OK then they may have some feedback on how they think they could be improved, especially after seeing you in person. They might even suggest a more appropriate photographer who’s style would capture your castability better.

They might like you, but hate your headshots. This happens quite a bit with new graduates who have no real identity and certainly don’t show it in their headshots. If your headshots all look the same with no range, or are homogeneous with all the other graduates headshots then they might suggest you get new headshots straight away.  

 

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November, 2022

Danny Zuko