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How do I find an agent in Hollywood?

I wanna get into acting but I know that without an agent, you cant go to casting calls, or you wont know about casting calls and will pretty much not be taken seriously. But how do I find one? Is there a directory? I know top agencies dont take nobodys but when you start out, how do you find a GOOD AGENT? someone who got connections and can hook you up, but who still doesnt think they cant talk to you, cause you arent some hot shot already.

Also, i know you need a guild card to be able to get some work, but you cant get work, if you dont haver a guild card. do i get into the guild? Do studios hire even if you arent a union member? The SAG website says stuff like you have to be a US citizen, but Nicole Kidman wasnt a US citizen when she started acting in US movies and Marion Cotillard isnt a US citizen. As a matter of fact, there are many actors who appear in US feature films who arent US citizens (aishwarja rai...). So how do/did these people get in?

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Here's the cliffnotes version of what you need to succeed in LA:


    READ (check Samuel French, libraries, and bookstores):

    *=If you're on a budget

    Acting business:

    *Acting is Everything: Gold Edition-Judy Kerr

    *How to Be a Working Actor-Mari Lyn Henry and Lynne Rogers

    *Self Management for Actors-Bonnie Gillespie

    -How to Get Arrested-J. Wallach Michael and Paul Thurwachter

    *An Agent Tells All-Tony Martinez

    -One Less Bitter Actor: The Actor's Survival Guide-Markus Flanagan

    -So You Want to Be in Showbusiness?- Steve R. Stevens

    -Acting Truths and Lies (purchased at


    *Book the Job-Doug Warhit

    *Intent to Live-Larry Moss

    -Acting for the Camera-Tony Barr

    -Acting in Film-Michael Caine

    -Acting Class: Take a Seat-Milton Katselas

    Method Acting:

    *Art of Acting-Stella Adler

    *Sanford Meisner on Acting-Sanford Meisner

    *A Dream of Passion-Lee Strasberg

    -Actor's Art and Craft-William Esper

    -The Power of the Actor-Ivanna Chubbuck

    -No Acting Please-Eric Morris

    -Respect for Acting-Uta Hagen

    -Challenge to the Actor-Uta Hagen

    -You Can Act!-D.W. Brown

    -Strasberg’s Method-Lorrie Hull


    -8 Characters of Comedy-Scott Sedita

    -The Sitcom Career Book-Mary Lou Belli


    -Anything by Viola Spolin

    -Steve Book on Acting: Improv

    Auditioning/Cold Reading:

    *How to Get the Part Without Falling Apart-Margie Haber

    *Audition-Michael Shurtleff

    -Secrets to Successful Cold Readings-Glenn Alterman


    Regardless of how "talented" you might be, you NEED training, PERIOD!

    Cold Reading/Auditioning

    -Margie Haber

    -Annie Grindlay

    -Brian Reise

    -Amy Lyndon


    -Hey, I Saw Your Commercial!

    -Chris Game

    -Stuart K. Robinson

    -Stuart Stone

    -Killian McHugh

    -Francine Selkirk-Akerman

    -Carolyne Barry

    Improv (All four are great)


    -Second City

    -Upright Citizens Brigade

    -Improv Olympic

    Scene Study/Acting (It varies. Some schools are not for everyone. Chubbuck, Eric Morris, and Howard Fine are not for people who aren't fans of Strasberg or Uta Hagen (ie. affective memory and substitution.) Playhouse West, Joanne Baron/DW Brown, and Acting Corps are more Meisner oriented. Try to audit these places and make sure if they're for you or not.

    -Doug Warhit

    -Stephen Book

    -Diana Castle

    -Kimberly Jentzen

    -Beverly Hills Playhouse

    -Howard Fine

    -Stella Adler

    -Ivanna Chubbuck

    -Joanne Baron/D.W. Brown

    -Tom Todoroff

    -Playhouse West

    -Aaron Speiser

    -Acting Corps

    -Eric Morris


    -Scott Sedita

    -Lesly Kahn

    3. Get GREAT headshots

    Here's is a good place to start:…

    4. Build Your Resume and Reel Doing Student films and Indie Films. Also do plays to build your acting experience.

    Sample Resume:…

    How to make an ACTING resume:…

    The ONLY LEGIT Online sites that you can find jobs on your own through:


    Free but proceed with caution:


    5. Networking

    Here are some of the best places in LA to meet casting directors and theatrical agents:


    -Network Studio

    -Casting Network


    -Talent to Go

    6. Get an Agent

    To get an agent, you need to get GREAT headshots, a good resume, and training from the best. These are enough to get you a commercial agent at least. Getting a GOOD theatrical agent (Film/tv) takes longer. Most good theatrical agents won’t see you unless you’re SAG, have a polished resume, and a demo reel. Commercial agents are more lenient about that. What the best Commercial agents want to see on your resume are good commercial classes, improv, and cold reading.

    You can get an agent multiple ways. Here are a few common ways:

    -Mail in an unsealed manilla envelope with a CONCISE coverletter and headshot with the resume stapled on the back. If you have a demoreel include that too.

    -Attend a showcase and impress them. By showcase I do not mean scammy conventions like IMTA, IPOP, Proscout, or Best New Talent. I mean legit ones like at Actor Connection, Reel pros, Network Studios, etc.

    -Get a referral from a friend who is with the agency that you’re interested in


    -Email them unless they tell you to. IT’S UNPROFESSIONAL!

    -Call unless they tell you to. ALSO UNPROFESSIONAL!

    -Walk in and ask for a meeting. UNPROFESSIONAL THREE!

    -Sign with them if they ask for upfront money, make you take new photos with THEIR photographer, or take THEIR classes. Agent’s ONLY make money when you do. Agents usually make 10% on film/tv and commercials and 20% on commercial print.

    Here are some agencies that are more open to taking developing actors:

    Top Youth Agencies:



    Coast to Coast


    Daniel Hoff

    Amsel, Eisenstadt, and Frazier


    Top Commercial Agencies(*=definite winners):

    KSR *-Alicia Ruskin

    Abrams *- Mark Measures

    CESD *- David Ziff or Adrienne Berg

    Diverse *- Wendy Morrison

    Coast to Coast * -Hugh Leon

    Daniel Hoff * - Daniel Hoff

    Commercial Talent * - Neil Kreppel, Blair Taylor

    Commercials Unlimited - Richard Reiner

    Innovative Artists * - Marcia Hurwitz or Cher Van Amburg

    Independent Artists- Jenine Leigh or Laura Fogelman

    Flick Commercials- Tina Kiratsoulis

    DPM - Daniel P. Mulheran

    DDO - Marlene Sutton, Maria Walker

    Venture IAB - Noel Palm

    Sutton, Barth, Venari * -Pam Sparks

    Arlene Thornton and Associates - Arlene Thornton

    Pantheon * -Patricia Dawson or Pierre Gatling

    Beverly Hecht -Teresa Valente-Dahlquist

    Don Buchwald and Associates *- Kristy Dax

    Pinnacle-Joan Messenger

    M. Greene and associates - Jim Lighte

    AKA * - Doug Ely

    Amsel, Eisenstadt & Frazier -Gloria Hinojosa

    Brady, Brannon, and Rich * - Judy Rich or Pat and David Brady

    Brass Artists - Jack Ianacci

    Aqua - John Kolinofsky

    Special Artists Agency - Alexandra Gucovsky

    Amatruda, Benson, and Assoc. -Kimberly Gola

    Angel City - Mimi Mayer

    BiCoastal - Greta Hanley

    Clear Talent Group - Tim O'Brien

    Lemon Lime - Robin Harrington or Chaim Magnum

    LA Talent - Pam Loar

    LW1 - Sean Robinson

    Mavrick - Brad Diffley

    Momentum - Garry Purdy

    NTA*- Nancy Luciano

    Imperium 7 - Tracy Mapes

    Talentworks - Brian Duensing

    Sovereign - Annalisa Babich

    Bobby Ball - Brandy Wilkerson-Caldwell

    Osbrink - Angela Strange

    Lewis and Beal - Jackie Lewis

    Theatrical Agents (Minus the Big 4 (William Morris, UTA, ICM, CAA) and the B Agencies(Gersh, APA, Paradigm, Innovative) who do NOT take beginners) :



    David Shapira and Associates



    The Glick Agency



    Kazarian Spencer (KSR)


    Michael Greene and Associates

    Pakula King

    Peter Strain

    SMS Talent


    Stone Manners

    SDB Partners





    Coast to Coast

    Daniel Hoff

    Defining Artists

    Gage Group


    Hervey Grimes

    Henderson Hogan

    House of Representatives




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  • R K
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    an agent is the last thing you need not the first. first you need training to learn how to go

    about per suing acting and getting experience to build a resume. your not going to get an agent without having some training and experience. take some acting classes before you do anything.

    any acting instructor in LA will know agents they can send you to. the directory of approved

    agents is on SAG'S web site. you don't need to be a citizen to work in the states, but you will need the proper visas to stay and work. you don't need to be in the union to audition for things. if you

    get a part that is covered by a union, the production people will fill out the paper work and you will be put in the union. to get in SAG you just need to get a part as a principal player in a sag

    production. everyone had to start somewhere. if you get a part covered by one of the unions

    and it meets the requirements to join. the production co. will get you in. a lot of films

    aren't shot in the US so the actors you mentioned don't have to come here to make a film. some

    films were made in their home countries and shown in the US. you need to be a citizen or

    have a work visa to work in the states. you don't need to be a citizen to be in a film shown in

    the US that wasn't filmed in the US.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Unfortunately I can only answer the top part of the question. How to get an agent: get experience. community theatre is great, workshops, and acting coaches are awesome too. Most people starting out don't have agents and go to auditions by themselves because they research. Once you have a big event, invite an agent to come and they will decide if they want you or not. OR you can get a resume and headshots to apply and mail it to them. Usually it is better to do option A. Good Luck!

    Source(s): personal experience
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