Does my child need an agent?
With the increasing popularity of performing arts in the UK the next
big thing is getting ‘An Agent’, but what exactly does this mean?
What is an agent?
An agent acts as the first point of contact for many TV and production companies, Film producers and advertisers. They develop relationships with casting directors and act on your behalf by putting you forward for roles and jobs for which you match the description requested by the client. They of course will then take a % fee from any earnings that you make should you be successful in getting the role, usually around 20%.
How do I get one?
TDA is affiliated with the ACADEMY KIDZ AGENCY, giving our students the opportunity to receive professional representation in the Performing Arts industry. Being based in Leicestershire, we are in the middle of many other agents and with 45 minute train journeys into central London from Rugby it is easy to travel for auditions and jobs.
A lot of the very best agents will only take you as a client after you have had some form of professional performance experience. However as there are more and more agents opening up you can still acquire representation without this experience by applying and auditioning. Most agencies have closed books that open once or twice per year for a few days allowing you to apply by submitting your details, experience and photographs online. They will then contact you if you are successful in obtaining an audition slot and ask you to attend an audition, usually in London.
What happens once I get an agent?
You wait! You may hear nothing for months or you may be offered a casting immediately. It all depends on what castings come up and whether you are suitable for the role. Many directors request “self taps” at the first round of auditions which means you need to learn a script and perform to a camera and send it off to your agency. If you do receive a call for a casting they will expect you to be able to go immediately. There is often very little notice for auditions and the vast majority take place during the school/ working day so you have to be prepared to take time off work and for your child to miss school if you are really serious about pursuing this. Having an agent is no guarantee that you will get work, as well as your natural talent as an actor you need a good dose of luck!
Can I get professional work without an agent?
Yes. Most professional theatres and major motion pictures post adverts for open auditions in ‘The Stage’ newspaper. Theatres such as The Curve in Leicester will advertise audition opportunities on their website. Register with theatres for information and keep checking ‘The Stage’ for updates. It is worth noting that agent or no agent most West End shows will only audition children who live outside of the M25 for principal roles only and some won’t even do that.
How do I find a reputable agency?
How long is a piece of string! Research, research, research! Google will give you a good idea of which ones are good and which should be avoided. In general avoid any agency that asks you for money. You should never pay to audition for an agency. The only fees that you may have after being accepted are for photographic headshots or joining “spotlight” (an online register of performers that most agents use).
Below is a list of agents who currently represent TDA students:
Other popular agencies are:
and many more…
Please feel free to contact any agency you choose though. There is no one size fits all. Research and decide which agency will work best for you & your child.
A final note
I hope you have found this useful in deciding whether an agent is the right path for you and your child. Finally please remember that THIS SHOULD BE FUN!
The most important thing for children is to enjoy learning and performing. Our aim is to enable our students to grow in confidence and ability throughout their time with us. We will support all students whether they want to pursue a career in performing now or just simply want to enjoy the experience. The most important thing is to have a good grounding in technique and understanding of the processes of singing, acting and dancing to enable our students to pursue careers and further education as young adults in the future.
We are very proud that we have so many students who have been successful in applying for Drama School. None of these students had an agent in childhood and developed their skills through hard work both at school and through extra curricular examinations and audition preparation with TDA. Their futures in the big wide world of performance are great and we look forward to watching their achievements closely.