What is the difference between an Agent and a Casting Director?
Casting directors, agents, and managers all have different responsibilities in the business. It is important for anyone entering the business to be aware of these differences. Here's a brief description of how each functions:
CASTING DIRECTORS (or casting agents) are hired by producers, advertising agencies, photographers and other related companies to find the cast for their movie, TV show, commercial, video and so forth. They screen actors, contact agents, put out casting calls, and arrange auditions. Many specialize in one area of the business: film, TV, commercials, voice-overs, etc… There are about 12 casting directors working in the Montreal area and one in Quebec City. (Beware of those who uses the word CASTING in their name: they usually are TALENT agencies who opened up without knowing the difference .They therefore work on commission) There are several hundred casting agencies in the Los Angeles area. If you are a freelance actor or you want to do extra work only without any representation, you should register with many casting agencies in you area.
AGENTS are the link between actors/models and casting directors/clients. Talent agencies earn their living by taking a percentage of the actor's income and sometimes charge a monthly fee. There are many different kinds of agents. Some agencies are full-service, and represent talent for film, TV, commercials, voice-overs, and print. Within an agency, agents may specialize in representing union or non-union actors, kids, comedians, singers, dancers or voice talent. Agencies can represent few to many actors depending on the number of agents within the agency. Many agents require actors to sign contracts, usually for one to three years. Some agents prefer taking on talent unsigned for a trial period. Occasionally, an agent will require some form of power of attorney to ensure that performer's checks and residuals go to the agent, who then cuts a new check to the performer minus their commission. Agents negotiate contracts between performers and employers.
MANAGERS keep a smaller client list than agents. They groom, develop and manage careers. They typically get 15-50% commission, and many require three-year contracts. They may add an additional option period, due to the investment of time they make in each actor or performer. Managers also advise the actor in regards to private coaches, promotional material, and general direction, including selecting an agent.
Do I need an agent to audition? Why?
A casting director may hold "open call" auditions for a particular project allowing for actors, not represented by an agent, the opportunity to try out. But most of the time they go through agents.
A casting director receives dozens of submissions for each role on every project. If everyone who wanted to be in movies were able to submit themselves for a project, casting directors would be inundated with requests and could not perform their jobs properly. An agent provides a professional buffer to the casting process. Furthermore, an agent is familiar with the rules that govern the industry. Casting directors therefore submit most (but not all) of their castings to talent agencies to insure that those submitted have experience and are serious.
To make sure you have a chance to be called, you need to register on-line or in person to our database or other casting agencies.
How do I get experience without an agent?
There are many ways to gain experience. Local community theatre companies are always looking for dedicated actors for their productions. Universities and film schools require actors for their projects and independent filmmakers often advertise on the Internet and in newspapers. These are but a few examples that are easily accessible all performers. They help build experience and strengthen the acting community.
How do I get an agent? Where do I find an agent?
Before you get an agent you should have ample training and some acting experience. Working as an extra and taking acting classes are some of the steps you should take before looking for an agent. You’ll get to know the business a bit and you’ll have something to put on your resume.You can find agents listed in industry publications such as Qui Fait Quoi or in the Yellow pages.
But we have put a complete list for you or your kids at the store page located to the right of this website.
Want to audition but the auditions are too far away?
Video for actor who wants to self-tape for a role of about 30 seconds to 5 minutes - 50$
The service includes:
Camera and cameraman
Mini DV transfer (digital)
Editing with name, contacts and credits
Email audition by email right after (casting director, agent, manager, producer, director)