A talent agent is someone who represents actors, producers, authors, musicians, models or broadcasters. Talent agents recruit and try to find work for people in the entertainment industry via connections and expertise in their respective industries. Talent agents often spend time attending concerts, fashion shows or plays in search of entertainers who possess potential and, of course, an ability to bring income for the agent.
Talent agents that represent an agency often receive a base salary, as well as a commission, or percentage of an income their clients generate. Talent agents who are self-employed often work on straight commission. Depending on the size and scope of their industry (and general success), talent agents can sometimes sit back and wait for entertainers to come to them, turning many away in the process. A talent agent must have an eye for what type of talent the industry is seeking, then work on “selling” clients to those who do the hiring, such as movie casting directors, record executives or television news directors.
Talent agents must be highly energetic and possess a positive attitude. They should be confident, resilient and creative, and must be excellent communicators, because they spend a lot of time networking and interacting with those in search of talent. They also need to possess strong negotiating skills to find their clients the best roles and financial deals. Agents also should possess the stamina to work long and odd hours and spend a lot of time on the road.
Anyone can start his own talent agency, so there really are no specific requirements for the position. Most larger talent agencies favour candidates with experience and a large list of contacts within their industry. Many talent agents have obtained a bachelor’s degree, with a focus on courses in business, marketing, advertising, finance and communications. But mostly, the background of a talent agent can range from law to acting to just an interest in entertainment.
Jobs for talent agents vary greatly by industry. For instance, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for actors, producers and directors is expected to grow by 11 per cent during the 2008-18 decade, with jobs for authors and writers expected to increase by 8 per cent. Because talent agents represent many of these types of workers, their own job prospects are likely to increase as well.
A talent agent’s salary is largely dependent on his client’s success. According to PayScale.com, talent agents earned between almost £18,200 and more than £40,950 a year in March 2010.