Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mark Stolzenberg on Agents (part 1 of NYC Acting school's agents vs. managers))

Mark Stolzenberg, director of the Acting School for Film and TV in New York, explains the difference between an agent and a manager.

Many of my acting students have inquired about the difference between an agent and manager so I will try to address this issue.

Traditionally, there is a definite distinction between the two.

First, it's important to note that you need a good head shot, a strong acting resume, and a thorough knowledge of your craft before you seek an agent or a manager. There are several acting schools in NYC who can help you prepare.

Actor's Agents

  • Agents are business contractors who submit their pool of actors for various projects from The Casting Breakdowns in New York and Los Angeles. The Breakdowns are official casting notices distributed only to approved Agents and Managers , usually based in New York or L.A. and are not available to actors or the layman. Agents also get direct phone calls from casting directors and producers who are seeking talent.
  • Agents are primarily interested in their 10% commission. They don't advise their actors or promote their careers. Most reputable agents are affiliated with The Screen Actors Guild and Actor's Equity; they focus on Union talent and projects. Some agents work without a union affiliation and cast non-union projects
  • Many agents have personal connections in the film business. They can draw on these personal contacts and friends for favors. More recently, many major agents have begun packaging projects with well known actors; in effect, they've become a kind of producer. But this is not officially what an agent does. Often agents leave the agent business altogether and become producers.
Students in Mark Stolzenberg's Acting School for Film and Television have the opportunity to regularly showcase their work for agents, managers, and other industry professionals. 

See part 2 of this post for more information about the role of managers.

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