Last year at age 14 my young daughter announced that she wanted to become an actress and decided that we must find out all about it as she wanted to become an actress as soon as possible.  Little did I know that age 14 , as a girl and with a brace we were entering at just about the hardest age.  As a determined girl she set about looking on the internet and asking about. However let me tell you that without a parent to manage things for you, with or without an agent it’s impossible unless you are very lucky. Who pays for photos, fares to auditions, manages your diary, weeds out the good and bad audition possibilities or accompanies you to auditions or pays your fares or petrol money to get there? (as all children under 16 have to be accompanied to auditions and filming)

We decided to share with you our journey and it may help you too as we knew nothing when we started and are still learning.

Already a proficient gymnast and reasonable dancer Mel was pleased when a young tutor from her gym club came to her school to start an elite gym club there. Unbeknown to her she was also an aspiring actress but had been a lot more successful having landed the role of Lara Croft, a perfect example of an acting role that requires acrobatics as an integral part of it.  She suggested to Mel that she try her agent as she was looking for young talent as previously the agency had been for adults only.

There has been a big change in the structure of agencies over the past 10 years as previously all adult agencies just took adults and now they often take a token child as after Harry Potter, Hunger Games etc they can see how lucrative children can be. Some agencies just specialise in children and start at new babies up to 16 year olds.  They are often reluctant to take on new late teens (13-16) as there is not a lot of mileage in them unless they are really special. After all if you take on an eight year old you have 8 years of potential fees to come out of him/her.

But first who do you apply to?  Its a bit like the chicken and the egg, you need a good agent to get good work but you need to show a body of work before you get a good agent.

There are 4 tiers of agents:

1. Small agencies who start up applying for new talent on eg StarNow

2. Small agencies with 30 -50 clients , who can be very good and look after you as their numbers are small

3. Medium size agencies who are moderately successful and may have a few loyal”celebrities’ on their books

4. Larger powerful agencies, who have many famous clients.

When just starting it is easier to go in at level 2, be wary of level 1, but this may be ok.

You can always move agencies once you start getting work, and move up.

Never ditch an agency before you have another.

The following info I gleaned for an internet site called Vesper.

However maybe when you are at the top an agent will do all the things listed below but when starting out you have to regularly keep your agent up to date and ask how things are progressing.

Acting agencies play an important role in helping both actors and actresses further their career, by finding and placing them in suitable acting roles. These roles can be in all areas of TV, theatre and film

Without the right agency behind you, it’s going to be incredibly difficult to break into the world of acting and land a serious job.

Here’s a rundown of the most popular acting agencies in London.

The Difference Between Managers and Agents

Talent managers act as personal mentors, dedicated to guiding an actor’s career. They handle business affairs and the broad strategy for career development. Managers might arrange auditions, but this does not constitute their primary focus.

Instead, managers provide public relations services, plan interviews, and promote careers in many ways. Most actors hire managers only after achieving some level of success. Actors with managers still require the services of competent agency representation; people can take that information from someone who has learned the pitfalls from personal experience.

Benefits of Agency Representation

An agent brings a second pair of eyes and ears to the competitive world of acting. Choosing which auditions to attend and knowing a director’s preferences can substantially increase the chances of landing good roles.

I find that researching the directors often requires more investigation than preparing for audition. Agents keep informed about everything in the industry, making auditioning chores much easier. Agency representation provides the following benefits.

  • Agents act on behalf of the clients they handle.
  • An agent can book an assignment.
  • Agents negotiate contracts, handling business matters.
  • Agents collect and remit money efficiently because their own payment depends on their success.

Independent Talent Group Limited and William Morris enjoy reputations as the top agencies.

Independent Talent Group

Independent Talent Group began as a modelling agency and quickly expanded to include actors, writers, directors, and producers. The agency provides the best-connected representation throughout Europe for the arts, but their exclusive status demands fairly impressive credentials to qualify.

Currently, they have no unsolicited vacancies (though I am quite sure they would consider red-hot actors), although they will accept CVs for future reference. Celebrity clients include hundreds of influential actors, directors, and media darlings, such as Orlando Bloom, Steven Elder, Rachel Weisz, Thandie Newton, Daniel Craig, and Jonathan Glazer.

William Morris

The William Morris Agency certainly ranks as one of the most popular acting agencies in London, and the company represents all areas of entertainment, including voiceovers, film, television, publishing, commercials, and theatre. Founded in 1898, the agency has represented such legends as Burns & Allen, Milton Berle, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and Mae West.

The organisation has global reach and can find clients work internationally. A-list stars and celebrities use the company’s experienced agents and industry expertise to advance their careers. Current celebrity clients include Hugh Jackman, Steve Martin, the Rolling Stones, Queen Latifah, Kanye West, and Chad Lowe.

Although Wiliam Morris are predominantly a US based agent they do in fact have a UK office which is why they made the list.

I believe that mid-level guys offer established actors good representation for career growth. The better agencies include the following firms:

Conway Van Gelder

Located in the heart of Soho, Conway Van Gelder offers substantial representation for radio, theatre, film, and television actors. Celebrity clients include Tom Riley, Aisling Loftus, Lee Ingleby, and Jack O’Connell. A strong international presence affords worldwide opportunities.

Ken McCreddie

Ken McCreddie provides international links for career advancement and offers suitable representation for actors and directors in voiceovers, film, theatre and other industry areas. A convenient voiceover search tool provides convenient online searches for suitable projects.

Celebrity clients include Emily blunt, Joseph Fiennes, Anna Friel, Anthony Howell, Idris Elba, Tim Curry, Jeremy Irons, Neve Campbell, Helen Mirren, and the late Sir Nigel Hawthorne.

United Agents

United Agents ranks as one of Europe’s leading talent agencies for actors, authors, composers, designers, playwrights and other entertainment professionals. The agency offers competent representation for established and emerging artists.

Celebrity clients include Kate Winslet, Alan Bennett, Dawn French, Ricky Gervais, Ewan McGregor, Sienna Miller, Tom Stoppard, Keira Knightley, and Julian Barnes.

Artist Rights Group (ARG)

Artist Rights Group has distinguished itself by providing superior contract terms for clients. The agency’s focus concentrates on locating quality work that allows actors creative growth and career development. Clients include Anton Du Beke, Dr Linda Papadopoulos, Karen Williams, Daniel Radcliffe, Justin Bieber, Emma Watson, Tom Felton, Robert Jarvis, Devon Murray, Josh Herdman, and Charles Hughes.

Hamilton Hoddel

The Hamilton Hoddel agency primarily represents actors, which I think gives them an edge, since their work is rather exclusive. The agency accepts written submissions with a photo and CV.

Prospective clients should include a DVD or VHS of a performance. Celebrity clients include Ben Aldridge, Daniel Evans, America Ferrera, Robert Carlyle, Nick Barber, Linzey Cocker, Franz Drameh, Pam Ferris, Michael C Hall, Rupert Grint, Jack Parris, Lucy Russell, Diana Weston, and many others.

Many colleagues have mentioned that Louise Donald is an excellent agent and one to watch. I also heard HH mentioned on a several occasions in the USA. On a recent trip to LA one top casting agent said ‘ these guys are the best to deal with, if only all Brit agencies were like them’.

Other agencies

The best London acting agencies include boutique firms that find faces and roles for multiple exposures. I have found that these agencies often take greater time and care with their clients. The four best London acting agencies for rising stars include the following firms.

  • Hattan McEwan – Clients include Judith Amsenga, Sophie Bould, Kathy Burke, Beth Cordingly, Adeel Akhtar, Joseph Alessi, Vlach Ashton, and Ben Dewery.
  • The BWH Agency Ltd – Clients include Barry Sloane, Billy Matthews, Dean Chisnall, Jennifer Aries, Martha Barnett, Mamie Baxter, and Elspeth Brodie.
  • Bloomsfields Management – Clients include TJ Ramini, Alan Dale, Luke Perry, Peter Basham, Toby Wharton, Emily Tierney, and Rachel Shenton.
  • Narrow Road Management – Actors represented by the agency include Wendy Patterson, Adam Keast, Sue Devaney, Rachel Priest, Kurtis Stacey, Emma Rydal, and Val Tagger.

Have you had any experience with these agencies? Please tell me any more agencies that you think are good for 13 – 16 year olds

Next blog will be about what you need to do to get an agent, photographers and what you should expect from an agent.

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