The Acting Agent and the Actor relationship.

What does an agent do for you? 

It can be very exciting to join the books with a new agent, but it’s important to put realistic expectations on the relationship. Follow this guide for Actors to have a great relationship with your Agent. 

Your agent helps with:  

  1. Representation: An agent serves as the actor’s representative in the entertainment industry. They act as the point of contact between the actor and casting directors, producers, directors, and other industry professionals. The agent advocates for the actor’s interests and negotiates on their behalf.
  2. Audition Opportunities: Agents are responsible for seeking out and securing audition opportunities for their clients. They have relationships with casting directors and industry contacts, allowing them to submit their actors for suitable roles and arrange auditions.
  3. Contract Negotiation: When an actor is offered a role, the agent negotiates the terms of the contract, including compensation, duration of the project, and other contractual details. The agent’s goal is to secure the best possible deal for their client while ensuring that the terms are fair and in line with industry standards.

What can you do to make your relationship work with your agent?

Have good headshots that look like you.
Have a variety of headshots for them to pitch with (4-8 very different ones is plenty)

Have a showreel with your best work on it. An agent can’t sell your work if they don’t have an example of your work to show. Examples of your acting work are the proof that you can do the job you say you can do. Without it, well, there is only belief and the hope that you can do it, and most Casting Directors won’t take the chance of suggesting and Actor they are not 100% sure about.
It’s the same with casting directors, directors and producers. Even with a good audition we want an example or two of your acting work to help us decide if you are right for a role.
Don’t put bad work up. Casting Directors, producers, directors etc WILL assume this is the best you can do. A showreel scene or reel should show the very best you can do. You can shoot scenes at home with a smart phone, good lighting and sound, shooting a script from the internet. You can make acting magic anywhere! 

Check out my course Self-Tape Your Showreel for help getting great work on your showreel. 

Call your agent for business related things only.
Keep them updated on your training. Send them new examples of your work every so often. They get genuinely excited to see great work you are filming in class or at home.
Invite them to plays and film galas you are in. They won’t always be able to come but will love the invite.

Send the occasional supportive message. The job of being an agent can be hard. It’s good to be in the front of your agents mind. While the occasional chat about your acting career is important, it can’t be all you talk about. Also, your agent needs to be focused on the hunt for work and do their work as an agent.

Let them know when you are going away for longer than a few days. Let them know you will be available to self-test if anything comes up while you are away, and keep your self-test skills sharp so you can be ready. 

A few don’ts:

Expecting Emotional Support. While hopefully you will have a support relationship with your agent, they aren’t there for emotional support. Make sure you have someone else to debrief with after an audition or when you’re nervous before a performance.

Private Coaching. Your Agent is not a drama school and it’s not their responsibility to coach you before an audition or self-test. Make sure you are committing to your ongoing training as an actor. Being an Actor is like running your own small business, it’s not your Agent’s responsibility to do it for you. You need to be attentive to your tax, transport, networking and training independent of your Agent. 

The agent is like one of your employees as you go about the business of being a professional Actor. 

It’s a myth that the agent is the only one to find you acting work. As an actor your must become well versed on all people and companies that might employ you.


Should I represent myself? 

Representing yourself is fine to do but not usually recommended long term. One of your agent’s jobs is to protect your rights. 

Your agent will assure the minimum payments are met. There are many moving parts even in the most basic deal and your agent will keep an eye on them. There are some jobs that don’t go through an agent where the deals are far worse for the actors than they they should be. Unfortunately there are people who will exploit the lack of knowledge of actors and use their desire to be on set as a way to get the talent they want at a very low price.


A commercial for a makeup brand, you are offered $500 for one mornings work. Pretty good! Let’s say this is for a global brand and you’ve sold them your image for $500. They have included in the contract that they can use your image anywhere they want forever (in perpetuity is the term used). This means you cannot appear in another similar commercial, ever. Also, you run the risk of being only associated with that brand and no other advertising company will touch you.

Also, You may become so well known for that commercial, it could rule out of a lot of acting roles. This can happen. A comedic example is the TV show Party Down. One of the main characters can only work a bar job because everyone remembers his one line in a beer ad saying ‘Are we having fun yet?’. It’s fiction but it does happen in real life.
Therefore, your agent makes sure fair union standards are met and you are correctly remunerated for your work and the use of your image.

 I got my acting job by myself so why should I pay my agent a percentage? 

My advice – Always pay your agent. There is usually an agreement for you to pay around 10 percent of whatever acting work you get. Even if you get acting work yourself, it is my advice to pay your agent the 10%. It’s a long term relationship and you want them there with you – negotiating your deal and looking out for your interests. 

Where do I find Agents in Australia?

MEAA has helpfully compiled a list of recommended Agents for you to contact, listed by Australian State. View the Agents List.

Should I leave my Agent? I’m not getting much work, they don’t call me very often. 

Here is a checklist for you before you decide to make any big changes. You should be able to tick all these things off confidently. 

  • Great headshots that represent how you currently look. 
  • Showreel that shows your best acting work. 
  • You keep your databases, CastingNetworks, Showcast etc updated with your latest headshots, showreel and CV. 
  • Your CV or resume is up to date. 
  • You update your acting training frequently and promptly add it to your CV or Resume’. 
  • You are available to go to auditions (often at short notice)

These are all important things to address before you think about leaving your Agent. Actors frequently blame their Agent for their lack of success in the industry, but more often than not the Actor needs to do a lot of work on themselves before the Agent can confidently put them forward for speaking roles. 

Don’t forget, the Agent gets paid a 10-20% commission on any paid work you do. That means that 90% of the work needs to be done by you.

I highly recommend my online course Career Supercharge for help navigation all parts of the Australian Film Industry as an actor.