In the entertainment industry, you will find many people with many different roles. You've seen the list. At the end of the movie, the credits roll and there seems to be an unending list of who-did-what.
Does this mean that if you know one of the grips that you'll have an in to be casted?
Far from it.
There are many different people in the entertainment industry that are essential for an actor to be connected to. Here's the basic list of top people you should know and what they do, in the entertainment industry.
Here's the guy that all the talented dreamers of the world are *hoping* they will meet at some sort of destined date and time. This is the one that discovers you. Granted, some are great and really have connections out there. Others are just looking to book you at a sub-par level while taking a hefty chunk of your already small profit. Basically, a talent agent is someone who finds work for an actor in exchange for 10-15% (10% for union actors, typically more for nonunion) of the actors' earnings. A good agent will have an extensive network of contacts and clients, and use this network to get interviews and auditions for you. They also will work on the terms of your contract when you get a job. As an actor, you are a product and the agent is your salesperson. Make sure you only sign on with one who has a solid and positive reputation.
If the agent is your salesperson, the manager is your upgrade. A manager is a person hired by the actor to find work, give advice, and generally guide the actor's career. With the exception of child actors (who often need extra development and guidance into the business), most actors will not require a real manager until they are well on the road to success. So if you end up here, congrats are in order! Great job!
The casting director is the person hired by the producers of a show or film, to find talent for the show. These are the people who the agent will send photos and resumes to, and also the person the actor will perform his or her audition for. While it is possible to submit your photo and resume directly to a Casting Director, they usually only seriously consider actors submitted by an agent.
This is the head position where the actor is concerned. A producer is the person in charge of all the "behind the scenes" work of a show or film. They are the guys making it happen by bringing together a script, director, and actors, then oversee the film until it is released. The easiest way into Hollywood is knowing a producer, be they family or friend. However, for most of us, this isn't possible. But if you do happen to have a connection, don't hesitate to use it. Just be sincere. Nobody likes to feel used.
In the meantime, as you grow your career, we at the New York Acting School for Film and Television are here to guide you through skill building and performance practice through classes and coaching. We want you to succeed, so let us know how we can help you further your dreams!