It’s time for our first episode of Ask an Agent: with Anthony Boyer!

This weeks question comes from a young actor named Ethan Gray.


What questions should a performer ask an agent when they are seeking representation? And, specifically what questions should a parent as an agent when they are seeking an agent for their child?


Hi Molly!

So, this is a great question! I think it’s important for people to keep in mind that you’re interviewing the agent as much as they’re interviewing you.
That’s something a lot of people say, and I think we hear it, but we don’t always hear it. It’s important, so I’ll repeat it: You’re interviewing the agent as much as they’re interviewing you. Too often, I see actors simply “looking for an agent.” The first time an agent expresses interest, they jump onboard. The goal here shouldn’t befinding an agent. It should be finding the agent. The agent that believes in you, that gets you, that understands you, with whom you can learn and grow and build something together that can, hopefully, last the rest of both of your careers.
Wow. That’s heavy, right?
There are typical questions that I think every actor should ask an agent with whom they’re meeting:
  • How long is your contract?
  • If the actor is non-union, they should ask whether the agent will submit them on both union and non-union projects.
  • What is your commission structure/percentage? (Hint: It’s not always 10%)
  • How do you prefer for me to communicate?
  • What’s your policy on self-submissions?
  • What are the kinds of roles that you think I’m right for? (Be aware that this is sort of a hot-button issue for some agents — we all have different strategies on submitting, with some of us casting a wider net and others submitting very specifically)
  • Do you have any teachers that you recommend?
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Now, I only represent a small handful of children, and even them, I only represent for theatre. But I’m fortunate to work alongside the magnificent Laura Thede, who just so happens to be one of the best kids’ agents in the city of Los Angeles. I asked her the same question, and she gave me some more great questions, specific to children and their parents:
  • How many children do you represent?
  • Do you sign all kids across the board?
  • At what age do you require professional headshots?
  • What happens when a kid turns 18? Do they automatically move to the adult department? What is the process for that?
  • What is the minimum rate for jobs on which you’ll submit?
  • What do you expect from a parent? How much communication is normal?
  • How should I as a parent prepare my child for their audition?
It’s important that you see eye-to-eye with your agent on certain things. For instance, not everyone likes the same level of communication. I’ve worked with very effective agents who like a lot, and I’ve worked with equally-effective agents who like very little. If you need someone to give you a little more personalized attention, what’s the point of signing with someone who really prefers that you keep the chatter to a minimum?
If you’re only willing to sign with someone commercially who will represent you theatrically, there’s no sense in jumping on with someone who doesn’t. Or if it’s important to you that you ‘graduate’ to the adult department when you turn eighteen, you should know going into the relationship what that process looks like.
Everyone is different here – every agent, every client – and what we really want to walk away with from this meeting is a sense of whether or not you and this particular agent are a match.
Hope that’s helpful!

Anthony Boyer

Theatrical Agent – TV, Film, and Theatre
DDO Artists Agency

I’ve also make this answer into a video and audio so you can consume on the go! Find the video and audio below!

Molly Mahoney Shimmer and Shine