Film Agents

Film Agents for Directors, Actors & Screenwriters (Essential Guide)

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Film agents help you find work, sell your screenplay and get auditions. Without an agent, you won’t be able to work on most high-end Film and TV productions.

Perhaps you are a director with a few short films under your belt, a screenwriter with a script to sell or an actor looking for your big break. A film agent bridges the gap between you and higher end work.

But how do you get an agent, what do they do, and what is the best one for me? These are some of the questions we will be answering throughout this article.

What Is a Film Agent?

In a nutshell, a film agent represents you as a director, actor or screenwriter. They help you find new jobs, auditions and arrange meetings with production companies. In addition to this, your agent keeps a lookout for new opportunities and contacts.

Film agents want to help because they only get paid when you get paid. Typically an agent takes anywhere from 10-15% of your paycheck. So, it’s in their best interest to get you high paying work.

There are also different types of film agents. From talent agents, literacy agents and independent agents. In fact, whatever your job role, if you are very good at what you do then there is an agent out there for you.

Film Managers vs Film Agents

Film managers

You might meet some people in the business that have both an agent and a manager. At the start of your career, you only need a film agent but as work gets busy a manager can come in handy.

For starters, an agent is all about the business. They can advise you on your career, but legally they can not help you create your work. On the other hand, a manager can talk through ideas with you and even act as a producer.

Another difference is money. Film agents are legally bound to act only in the financial interest of their clients. Furthermore, they also rarely take more than 10-15% of your earnings. In California, laws actually stop them from taking more from clients.

Whereas your manager works for you and has no restrictions on how much they can charge. As a result, a manager will only have one or two clients.

Here is a quick breakdown of these main differences to help show the difference.

Film AgentsFilm Managers
More interested in making money todayMore interested in your long-term career
They legally can not produce your projectsThey can help you produce your projects
Film agents have a fixed commissionFilm managers might charge more
They can negotiate rates on your behalfThey won’t negotiate your working rates
Film agents will have a variety of clientsFilm managers will have fewer clients

How To Get Agents For Directors

Agents for film directors

First of all, film agents don’t want inexperienced directors. So, before you search for agents, make sure that you have a good showreel. You need to showcase your best work either as a reel or on a portfolio website.

Short films, commercials and low-budget feature films can all act as a calling card for an agent. So can film festival awards, working with named talent and ideas for future projects. Basically, an agent wants someone who will make them money.

As a director, you are looking for a talent agent. The first way to find one is to research agents online and contact them. You want to find an agent who works in your location and represents people like you. Many agencies will have information on their website about who they are looking for and how to apply.

The next way to find film agents is through networking. The majority of directors will find work this way through connections and recommendations. So in order to meet agents you need to work, network and meet people in the film industry.

Top UK Directors Agents

How To Get Agents For Actors

Acting casting agents

A talent agent is looking for experienced actors who will respond well to auditions. So, you will need previous work in short films, low-budget features, plays and commercials before an agent shows interest.

It will also help to have a Spotlight profile, CV and professional headshots. If you work in theatre, you can invite an agent to a show. For screen actors, it can help to put together an acting showreel.

Similar to directors, there are two ways to find a talent agent. First, research and contact agents directly. Your agent will need to live in your location and work with actors similar to you. For example, if you specialise in voiceover acting then find an agent who works with voice actors.

Just like film work, finding film agents is about who you know. So, make sure you are networking and meeting people in the industry. You will likely find an agent from a referral by another actor, director or producer.

Top UK Actors Agents

How To Get Agents For Screenwriters

Screenwriting agent

Firstly, both talent and literacy agents work with screenwriters. They are looking for screenwriters with a proven record of work and success. You do this by writing film scripts, winning competitions and working as a screenwriter.

Before contacting film agents, you need to create a writer’s portfolio. You can include finished scripts, a list of awards, a list of film credits and a CV. As a screenwriter, it’s important to always have work in progress and scripts to show.

Lastly, you can find and contact agents online. Although, you are more likely to find one through a referral from a director or producer. Many screenwriters also have luck with competitions and getting scripts made by low-budget filmmakers.

Top UK Screenwriting Agents

A List of Film UK Agents

Talent Agents

Literacy Agents

Wrapping Up – Film Agents

So now that you know how to find film agents, you can create a plan to find one. With an agent, you will be able to advance in your career but keep in mind you will take a 10%-15% pay cut!

Overall it will take time to find an agent that works for you. No one walks into a film career and gets an agent. You will need to build up your experience, contacts and hustle to make this work. We hope this article has helped you understand how to find film agents.

Also, if you have any more questions about film agents please let us know in the comments section below.

Amy Clarke
Amy Clarke
I blog about Careers in the Film Industry. Former Script Supervisor.

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