How Much Does an Acting Agent Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 13, 2018

An acting agent, sometimes referred to as a “talent agent” or even a “booking agent,” is someone who helps an actor find a job in the acting industry.  Other industries, such as film directing or music, can sign the same type of agent.  This agent will generally take a certain percentage of the pay for each job.   The cost of one is going to greatly vary on many factors.

How much does an acting agent cost?

Most acting agents won’t charge a fee upfront.  Instead, they are going to take a percentage of your overall pay for each gig/job.  The average agent fee is going to vary anywhere from 10% to 25%.  For example, if you landed a job for $5,000, the agent may take $500 to $1,250 of that.  Most reputable agents won’t charge any upfront fees.  A good agent should also avoid selling you photos, unnecessary services or for classes.

A child actor agent is going to be comparable to an adult acting agent.  They typically can take up to 25%.  The average is usually around 10%.

Since most agents only take a certain percentage of your pay, it’s essential to research any company that requires an upfront payment.  This is generally the sign of a scam to come.

Acting agent overview

An agent is going to supply you with advice, find auditions for you, set up appointments, help with legal matters and consult with you regarding what’s best for your career.  Keep in mind that many agents only work with actors who are experienced.  Failing to have the proper experience may result in a hard time finding an agent.  Beyond these tasks, your acting agent will also represent you, the actor, as a representative.

Agents should help you find auditions for many different categories such as commercials, TV shows, movies and others.  They generally have connections that most of the general public doesn’t have.

Talent agents, in most states, such as California and New York, must be registered with the state.  Most states will publicize these lists, and if they aren’t on it, they won’t be registered.  Check your local state laws, and if the state requires the agency to be registered, it’s important for it to be registered.

What are the extra costs?

Some auditions the agent sends you to may require an appropriate wardrobe in order to perform the part.  You can usually find this information well ahead of time.

There are classes where agents can show up in groups.  These classes can cost anywhere from a $50 to as much as $500.  During these classes, a potential actor will act out scenes in front of my industry agents that are looking to pick up new clients.

Tips to know:

There are three ways an acting agent is going to be able to find an actor.  These can be either by a recommendation by another person within the entertainment industry, via an interview or even through a photo that was received through the mail.

Press kits are one of the main ways actors are found.  It’s best that some money goes into a press kit to make it look as professional as possible.

Be very wary of “classes” that cost money which “claim” agents will be in the crowd.  These classes can be very expensive and won’t guarantee anything.  Before signing up, it’s best to look for a guarantee of some sort to ensure that these agents will show up.

A good agent will be very picky about who they represent.  If they accept you without asking a lot of questions, they may be more interested in signing people up to push them toward expensive services.

In California, it’s illegal for agents to charge actors money upfront.

How can I save money?

Acting agents generally work with those who are experienced.  Shop around for an agent, and be sure to get the appropriate referrals.  By doing so, you’re going to be able to find one that works for you and doesn’t take the most out of your paycheck.

Consider finding the auditions yourself.  This will allow you to audition; if you get the job, you can keep 100% of your pay.  An article on backstage.com recommends you go this route because it helps you learn the business.


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