I have discussed elsewhere in this blog about the fact that professional acting is a business and that it takes monetary investment like all businesses do. Recently, I have been helping some people with their dealings with their agents, and it occurs to me that often aspiring actors are given the wrong idea about agents and the cost of being represented.
Aspiring actors are always being told that legitimate agents do not cost you anything and all you have to do is pay them a small percentage of what money you earn as an actor being represented by them. While that is literally true, in a sense; in actual practice it will cost an aspiring actor a lot of money to have an agent. Here is why: First, the agent will want the actor to get new photos from a professional photographer--several hundred dollars. Second, the agent will want the actor to subscribe to one or more casting web sites as they recommend--up to a hundred dollars per year per site. Third, the agent will want you to pay for your comp cards or other duplicated material that they send to casting directors to try to secure you auditions--couple of hundred more dollars of expense. Fourth, you will want to have business cards and personalized post cards for your networking--up to a couple of hundred buck again. Of course you should have had these before you got the agent, but now that you have new head shots, you will want to update them. Fifth, some legit agents even have other charges for promoting you and putting you in their database. And, Sixth, you will need to get new head shots, business cards and post cards every couple of years so you always look like your photos.r
So the only difference between the legit and scammer agents is that the legit ones do not insist on your purchasing their classes or their photos to be represented, and in a few cases some legit agents want you to use their photographers for your new head shots.
Additional expenses for the aspiring and the successful actor include acting classes and workshops, private teaching, books, gym dues to stay fit and trim, union initiation fees and dues and additional casting web sites such as Actors Access or Casting Workbook.
No, acting is not free. It is a business and an expensive one that you must keep investing in to be competitive.