During the summer months and often leading up to them, I begin to get a huge influx of calls. These calls come from people that want to pursue acting, but for some reason, they confuse the role of the casting director and the talent agent. These calls range from asking what do we do to asking for representation.
I felt it was time to end the confusion and state clearly the difference between casting directors and talent agents and explain how they work together.
The Casting Director
A Casting director works as part of the creative staff for a project. When a cast (talent/ actor(s)) is/are needed for a project, a casting director will post casting notices, contact talent agents, arrange auditions, and sort through submissions. The casting director chooses which actors will be brought in to audition. However, the casting director does not have final say in the casting decisions, but he/she has influence in the process and works with the producer and director to find the strongest cast. The casting director will make the offers. In some cases, the casting director will negotiate the talent contracts on behalf of the production.
Talent Agent aka Managers
Talent agents represent the actor(s). Agents will submit you for casting opportunities. If you land a job through your agent, he/ she will receive a predetermined percentage of your earnings (usually 10 %- 15%). Talent agents can submit you for projects that you normally would not be able to submit to directly. They also can negotiate contracts on your behalf.
Ways to Get An Agent
A talent agent may see an actor in a film, a showcase, or an off-Broadway play, and call him/ her into the office for a meeting. A casting director or a director may recommend you to a talent agent who will then call you in for a meeting. Also, an actor currently represented by that agent may recommend you as well. These are the main ways that one finds representation by an agent.
So those are the basics. I truly hope that will clear up any confusion.
Leslie M. Greene for @RtSECasting
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