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How to Become a Successful Talent Agent: Facts and FAQs

Kenna is a former talent scout. She has also written and directed several commercials, cable shows and plays.

Being an agent is a creative job dealing with creative people.

Being an agent is a creative job dealing with creative people.

Do You Need a College Degree?

Skilled talent agents don't just recognize talent; they also know what will put their clients at the top of the list of their particular trades. In movies, we call it the A-list.

Being a talent agent is a demanding job for any newbie to film. This field requires knowledge of marketing, law, promotions, and public relations.

You need a college degree—at least an AA in marketing. Most successful talent agents hold a degree in business law.

A talent agent may work for various people that have specific talents. The most common, of course, are actors, but others who work with talent agents include models, singers, musicians, directors, screenwriters, authors, and professional athletes.

Being a star is an agent's dream, not an actor's.

— Robert Duvall

 Ari Gold in "Entourage"

Ari Gold in "Entourage"

How Does an Agency Work?

Talent agents usually pick a talent to work with and stick with that type throughout their careers. Many choose to work exclusively with children, professional athletes, or authors. Some work with television series actors, commercial actors or film actors, or high-profile celebrities.

The larger agencies create package deals with studios where they include the actor, screenwriter, and director clients in the same movie production deal.

The larger talent agencies provide training programs, called internships, for individuals interested in a career as a talent agent. At first, the agency requires the intern to do errands and paperwork; there's very little to do with working directly with talent.

I wish to be cremated. One-tenth of my ashes shall be given to my agent, as written in our contract.

— Groucho Marx

As an agent, you'll be part of the filming business.

As an agent, you'll be part of the filming business.

Is It Like Ari Gold in Entourage?

Whether or not being a talent agent is like Ari Gold in Entourage, it is crucial to know that the entertainment business is all about the "business."

If you want to be a talent agent, you need to be dedicated and willing to work hard and be a part of the business of making movies, taking in sports, or reading a lot of scripts. Whatever niche you pick, make sure you love it to death and are willing to support your clients for blood.

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Learn the Rules

When you join a talent agency, it is very wise to learn the rules of the land. You need to find out the dos and don’ts of the group. You do not want to step on anyone’s toes or make a blunder that could cost the agency in money and reputation.

When an agency hires you, you begin as an assistant. The agency assigns you to an experienced agent, and you help them with their clients. How long you are in that position depends on how hard you work and how well you get along with other people in the agency. If you have a speciality like law or public relations, you can move up relatively soon, within a year or two.

What Does a Talent Agent Do?

Here are everyday tasks an agency does:

  • Meet with current or potential clients to find out what type of talent they need for their upcoming projects and make talent suggestions.
  • Promoting talent to different clients through networking and public relations is primary in setting up auditions and jobs.
  • Schedule or book appointments to attract work for talent. Regulations and appropriate working hours and regulations need to adhere to by the agent and agency.
  • Market the talent agency itself to obtain more talent. Procuring talent is a very competitive aspect of an industry town. So, keep your wits about you.
  • Collect fees due upon booking of auditions or obtaining employment of talent. Billing requires a 30-day cycle.
  • Arrange classes and workshops, such as voice, acting, and specialized training, so that the talent can advance in their craft.

Agencies Keep Track of Residuals

A friend of mine heard a commercial she starred in went regional, which should have meant more pay (residuals) for her as an actor. Without an agent, it would have been trying for her to prove the increase in residuals.

She contacted her agent and explained to him what had happened. He immediately called the company responsible and got her residuals plus penalty fees. The agent earned his 10% fee, as well.

An agency's job is to keep track of its clients' residuals. Clients should receive residuals each time a commercial, TV, or movie airs on a network, cable, or streaming outlet.

Every time I try to retire or even think of retiring from acting, my agent comes up with a script.

— Anthony Hopkins

Differences Between "Union" and "Non-Union" Towns

In "union towns," union agencies are registered with the unions and follow the rules according to what the organization states. Working for a union agency is the ideal way to go because everyone in the business is on the same page. Study the union rules on your own: the right way is the union way.

Non-union agencies are not regulated, so they operate under different rules than union agencies. They can throw you a curve and present you with unexpected situations.

Your options are limited when looking for work as a talent agent in a non-union or non-industry town. Try locating and listing the agencies within a 100-mile radius. Meet with each owner or manager and see if there is any way you can help the agency. Ask to intern for three months and then be considered for a permanent position.

Is Being a Talent Agent for You?

I don't think being an agent is a cushy job. It takes hard work and dedication to work with the talent you support to the core. It's also a people-person job that requires handholding and knowing when to offer sound advice to your client.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2007 Kenna McHugh


Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on June 27, 2019:

J.K., I agree with you that some agencies and agents get a bad rap. It's a tough business.

J.K. on June 27, 2019:

I read some of the comments and your article. I am impressed with your information. Sometimes, agents get a bad rap, and it isn't fair. Your article and answers to the comments are good and accurate. I've known some outstanding agencies and agents. Most of them are semi-retired or passed away. God bless them!

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on December 04, 2018:

Wendi, I haven't heard anything about a sequel to the original Entourage. That doesn't mean one isn't in pre-production.

Wendi on December 04, 2018:

This article has a lot of good information about becoming an agent. Do you know if Entourage is ever coming back to television or are they making another movie?

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on November 09, 2015:

Thank you InsasiaSic. Do you work in film? Please visit again.

InsasiaSic on November 09, 2015:

Maintain the awesome work !! Lovin' it!

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on November 13, 2014:

Read this article and let me know if it helps.

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on June 29, 2014:

Here is a link to ATA. This should be helpful.

Good luck!

Oliver on June 28, 2014:

Hi Kenna, my brother is both and actor and fighter, and I would like to support him as a manager and possibly agent in the future. I want to educate myself in the field. Are there any license requirements or specific exams I need to take to be labeled as an agent or manager besides having a law degree. Thanks

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on March 10, 2014:

You need to network. You need to go to places where you can meet agents and talk with them. Spanish is an important qualification in the industry. You need to find ways of networking through associations. My book, Breaking into Film, talks about the importance of networking. This business is based on relationships.

PLBH on March 06, 2014:

By the way, I have another question. Let's say I want to move to NY or LA this next summer. Would I be able to land a job, internship or trainning program there? remember I'm spanish and I do not have relevant work experience in this industry. I've seen big agencies have training programmes but is it easy to get in there? and more being from outside of the US?


PLBH on March 06, 2014:


I'd like to explain my situation and hopefully someone can light up my way a little bit as I'm feeling a bit down lately. I want to become a talent agent someday. I'm from Spain and I moved to London in an efford to get in touch with the creative industry. In the future I want to move to NY and LA to continue my career because I think those are the places to be even though there is a lot of competition. I haven't got much luck in London, maybe I was doing it wrong. I don't have any relevant work experience in the industry and I was trying to apply to an assistant position, entry-level position and internship but apparently there are lots of people like me! So it's been very complicated. All I've been doing is searching for agencies and emailing them persistenly my cv and covering letter. I dont know what else to do. Some of them advertise positions on their sites too. Do you think the fact that I'm spanish and my degrees were done there may be a problem? I've studied law and communications, plus I've done lots of courses about entertainment, music and talent management.

I'm very worried! I want to get some work experience so bad and learn how a talent agency works and get familiar with it but I'm not sure if I'm doing it right.

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on October 08, 2013:

Hi Natalie,

I would apply now.

Good luck!

Natalie on October 08, 2013:

Hi Kenna! This article/your replies have been really helpful. I'm 22, just graduated with a business degree and am interning at a PR firm in Denver now. I am thinking of moving to LA at the beginning of next year (Jan/Feb) to try and get into the agent training program at WME or one of the other big agencies, but I was wondering when the best time to send out my resume/cover letters would be. I don't want to send them out too early in case I get contacted and am still living in Denver, but I also don't want to wait too long and get to LA without any interviews set up. It seems like these programs are on an ongoing basis without a deadline, but do you have any advice on when might be the right time to apply?



Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on August 30, 2013:

Hi Sam,

Having money woes is not the best way to try to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. Although working toward a career part-time might prove a way to supplement your income. Thus, pay off your debt sooner.

Many major cities in the US have a strong entertainment community. Local commercials, industrial and State films and Community Theater are prevalent. If you live in a major city, I would research and find the most successful theater group and take a class. Find out about your local entertainment industry. Who is legit? Which company has the most working actors? Casting directors? Agents?

Make sure whoever you hook up with they have an honest track record.

Hook up with a community theater, audition or help backstage – learn the ropes.

You can even take a class at a community college.

The options are endless.

Now, I am shamelessly plugging my book, Breaking into Film. There is a whole chapter on how to promote your talent to the industry. I mention cold calling. Pick up the phone call, find out what is out there in your community.

Another interesting thing to keep in mind, John Travolta once said that if he hadn’t become a super, mega star, he would have done Community Theater because he loves the industry. I think, Travolta said that because his purpose was not to make a lot of money, that’s a by-product, it’s because he loves the theater – the business.

I hope this helps. Do well!

SamB86 on August 29, 2013:

Hi Kennah

Thanks for the interesting article. I am currently in my mid 20's working in the healthcare field as a occupational therapist in Pennsylvania. While I enjoy working with patients and talking with their families there are many many aspects within the field that I despise. I have always thoroughly enjoyed following the entertainment industry and in the last few years have developed a great appreciation and passion for it.

I am continuing to work due to the fact that I amassed large amounts of debt to earn my bachelors and masters degree. I have thought about changing careers, but don't necessarily want to go back to school full-time and incurring even more debt. I have thought about taking individual courses such as marketing, communications, basic acting or screenwriting and PR to demonstrate my interest are there courses that might be helpful or any other courses/ outside classes that I should pursue. Also is this even a possibility or am I too old and too far removed to even consider this an option. I will need to work possibly 3-4 more yrs to earn enough to pay off a majority of my debts from school, or is the money factor maybe something I should try to work around. If I continue to work that long I will be around 30, I have always been a hard worker as it took me 7 yrs to earn my degrees, but again will I be too old? Any advice would be greatly appreciated, in addition while I continue to work are there any steps I can take now to try to begin to make some connections so that I can possibly begin to demonstrate my interest or at least make some beginning industry connections?

Thank you


Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on April 20, 2013:

I would look into the universities' alumni program regarding networking, or hiring from their alumni. What agency would you like to start your career? What school did the founder or CEO attend?

All in all, I would go with the school that has wide entertainment curriculum, and check out its alumni.

Jack on April 20, 2013:

Hello Kennah,

I have been accepted to Southwestern Law school for this coming year. However I have also been accepted to some to 40 law programs(University of Alabama, University of Wisconsin, University of Minnesota) as well. Is southwestern my best chance to break into the agent scene due it's location and wide entertainment curriculum, or are these more prestigious law schools a better option. Thank you for your time.

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on March 29, 2013:

I am sorry for my delay in responding to the most recent posts and questions. With that, I will answer the questions in a more general way.

If you know some in the industry that is either a mail room clerk or a top, top agent, by all means, contact them and ask if they can help you network into their place of work. The film industry is built on relationships and it is relationships that get you gigs. Networking is the operative word.

Now, I am going to shamelessly promote my book Breaking into Film. This book is for you who want to break into the business as an agent or any behind the scene's job in the film or talent industry.

With that, please keep posting. I love hearing from you and helping you land your dream job.

William on January 02, 2013:

Hello. I am a 16 year old boy and live in Sweden. I have wanted to be a talent agent for some time now and i plan to move out to LA when i graduate from high school. i was wondering if you have any tips on what to do now to learn more about the bussines and "train" myself for the future. Also are there any good books i should read and do i learn anything by watching Ari Gold in Entourage?


Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on November 26, 2012:

Hi B,

To keep it simple, write job title, year of production, director and production company.

I hope this helps.

B on November 26, 2012:

Hello Kenna,

I've had one credit in the industry so far, I worked as a Unit Manager on a short film.

However I am unsure how to write this on my resume, this may seem like an odd question but what is the correct layout?

Do I write the dates I worked on the project?

Do I name the director/producers/production company if there was one?

The year it was/intends to be released?

I did google for sample resumes, however they all just seemed to confuse me further.

Thankyou, B

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on October 16, 2012:

Mention you want to work with the two producers and that you aspire to be a writer. Be honest.

J on October 16, 2012:

Thanks for the reply!

It is a documentary for T.V.

It's not the director but two of the producer's I want to work with.

No experience in theater.

Should I mention That I want to become a writer in the letter?

Thankyou for the guidance.

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on October 16, 2012:

What is the job for a movie, television? Who is directing or acting in the movie? Mention, if it is true, that you want to work with the director. Or, talk about your passion for working in the business and mention other jobs you've been responsible and trustworthy. Do you have experience in theater? If so, mention that in the letter.

Keep the cover letter brief but to the point.

J on October 16, 2012:

Hi Kenna,

I'm so glad to have found this page!

I am about to send in my resume to become a production assistant on a film, however I have no experience.

In my Cover Letter what information should I put?

What is it they want to know and/or are looking for?



Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on September 22, 2012:

Hi Jack,

Those are the schools to go to if you want to be an agent. Yes, an internship is an excellent idea at on of the larger agencies.

Check over the alumini of each university and see how strong they are for hiring or networking within their group. I know that UCLA is really good at that.

Jack on September 21, 2012:

Hello Kenna,

I'm 21 years old and just started my final year of undergrad. I am planning on taking the LSAT in a few weeks and then applying to UCLA, USC, Loyola, Pepperdine, and Southwestern for Law school. Am I on the right track to becoming an agent so far and what else can I do help my chances of success? Do you think intern positions at agencies during the summer breaks of law school would be a good way to get my name out there and build contacts? Thank you very much for time and advice. I look forward to hearing from you.

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on September 21, 2012:

I would call and ask if they are excepting resumes. Send the resume by fax and follow up with a call.

In my book, Breaking into Film. I spend a whole chapter on ways to get noticed and hired for a production job. It's really a whole chapter worth of information.

Amii on September 20, 2012:

Thanks for that kenna,

I've gone on to my states film commission's page and there are some films in pre-production stage, each has contact information.

My question is do I just send in my resume and cover letter for the role of 'Production Assistant' or do I first ask what postions they need filled first?


Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on September 12, 2012:


Just a standard resume format. LinkedIn has a nice template for resumes.



Amii on September 12, 2012:

Hello Kenna,

I'm about to start applying for jobs as an production assistant, is there a specific template its got to look like?



Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on September 02, 2012:


Sounds like you are more than qualified to manage talent. Heals for the interview is best, but not to high. You don't want to tower over them.

teatimew on September 01, 2012:


I live in Australia, Melbourne and am wanting to be a Talent Manager for Actors.

I was wondering if experience as an intern and assistant for a talent agent + 2 Diploma's, one in Management and the second in Business Administration will be enough to get an intern in Amercia?

Also this may be random, however I was wondering if it would be best for a female to wear heals for an interview, or is flats acceptable?

Thankyou so very much for taking the time not only answer my questions but many others!

- Aylin.

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on August 27, 2012:


Heading to law school in California is the right move to make if you want to be an agent. You should look into PR or Communications Media.

Try to get on an internship while in school, too.

James Williams on August 27, 2012:

I am current going to Florida Coastal School of Law and I am planning on transfering to Southwestern School of Law in Los Angeles. I am concentrating in entertainment law. Do you think I am on the right track to be an agent? I will only be 22 when I get out of Law school, so should I get a masters in something also related to the entertainment industry?

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on August 15, 2012:


I am not familiar with Florida's universities, but you can contact them and discover what type of programs they have available.

Like I said if you can affort it, UCLA is your best bet.

I am sure Florida has film clubs and so forth that you could discover with a quick google search. I know both Orlando and Miami are humming within the entertainment business.

Then again, there is nothing wrong with venturing to NYC - at least it is on the east coast.

You need to do research, make a list of pros and cons, and then decide what is best for you.

Good luck.

kenny on August 15, 2012:


Thank you so much for your advice, its greatly appreciated! Do you mean UCF and University of Miami? Also, how can i network when in college in Florida; for example, for like a internship at UTA or CAA? How can i gain those contacts when im here down south? Is there events, clubs, etc etc?



Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on August 14, 2012:


Have you considered colleges in Florida; especially with Miami and Orlando as some major hubs for the entertainment business.

Going to UCLA is a smart move if you have the money.

Find out the person representing your cousin and ask for an introduction. This is a practice quite common to the entertainment industry.

Good luck.

kenny on August 14, 2012:


i was looking into going to college out of state for college (currently live in florida) to pursue a career as a talent manager. i wont get into UCLA, is cal state universities' a good investment especially because i will be able to network efficiently in the area because it is california? is it worth the out of state tuituin costs? and another thing, my little cousin recently signed with an agent in New York, how exactly can they reference me and/or just put in a good name for me?

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on August 01, 2012:


Put together your old child hood portfolio, make an appointment with an agency and prepare for the interview. If you were SAG, you can contact them as well and see about activating your union card.

Josh on July 31, 2012:

Ok so I'm in the automotive Bussiness and I was a child actor and I want to change my career into the film industry of course starting out slow but I want to move up can you give me the best advise so that I can go forward thank you.

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on July 31, 2012:


That's great you have a contact in the business, who can give you a lot of feedback and suggestions, too.

With Law School, you can advance forward and it's a good move.

Remington Rodela on July 30, 2012:

Alright, so then would you say Business is a good major, with a minor in Public Relations, and then go into law school after I graduate?

And yes, I plan on either interning my Junior or Senior years at an agency or possibly getting a small job at one post graduation. My cousin actually is a receptionist at an agency, and she says there is a lot of room for promotion within the company. So then is Law school still a good move? Thank you so much for responding to my first post!


Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on July 29, 2012:


I am not sure why you are majoring in Political Science if you want to be an agent. If it's because of a scholarship, the put those scholarships to good use. Entertainment Law will help your career as an agent and secondly public relations.

You have a lot to gain by inquirying with agencies in Chicago - get on an intertship program.

Remington Rodela on July 24, 2012:

Hello Kenna, here's where I am at. I am going into my sophomore year of college at a small private school in the suburbs of Chicago, majoring in Political Science. My aim is to attend Law School and study either Entertainment or Contract Law. WIth this I thought I would get into the talent agent business, but after reading this Q&A, I'm starting to feel like I am heading in the wrong direction.

So, should I continue at this small college for now with my two scholarships or apply to UCLA for my Junior year and see where it goes from there? In addition, is Law School a good choice for this career? I plan on either minoring in Business or Public Relations, but perhaps I should give up PoliSci and law school and just major in one of those.

Thank you for any information and help you can give me. All of these questions and answers have helped me out tremendously!


Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on June 01, 2012:

That's great you have some interviews. What are you taking with you to the interview? How are you going to dress? What is your experience, education?

Philly on June 01, 2012:

I've gotten interviews, through an acquaintance, to ICM and Gersh, and off that am moving to LA. What advice for interviews do you have? I am good with people and networking (evidenced by me getting the interviews) but am scared that I'm moving out there without a job.

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on May 30, 2012:

That sounds like a great plan. Then you will learn all the ropes and find out if working for an agency is what you imagined it would be like.

Mason on May 29, 2012:

Thank you very much for your reply. I've decided I am going to transfer to UCLA and do 10 week summer internships at the United Talent Agency in Beverly Hills. I have family who lives there and they said I can stay with them while I'm going to school. Does that sound like a good plan to you?

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on May 29, 2012:

Typing speed is key. Shorthad if you are an assistant would help.

DBradleyRI on May 29, 2012:

Anyone have any opinion on whether shorthand would be useful and worth learning, or not so much at this point if you can type at a decent speed? (I can do 85-90 WPM accurately) Not sure how much shorthand is outdated at this point.

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on May 28, 2012:


You need to major in Business Law and minor in PR. I am sure Houston has agencies - it's a pretty big city. I good old google search should help you find one.

Mason on May 21, 2012:

Also, I live in Houston, TX. If there is any agencies here that you recommend.

Mason on May 21, 2012:

Hello, I'm currently a freshman at a junior college planning to transfer to a four year college after my basics are complete. I'm majoring in Business Management and in process of getting a minor in physiology. Am I on the right track? I'm 18 years old and graduated high school a year early WITH a diploma. I'm interested in becoming a talent agent in the California area. I'm willing to move anywhere in the USA to do so. Thank you.

Joshua R. on May 07, 2012:

I am also wondering how much i would have to pay an up and coming agent? What kind or salary comes on top of just commision?

Joshua R. on May 07, 2012:

My friend is also not making me pay rent, leaving me with a lot of money to eventually start up an office and hire agents!

Joshua R. on May 07, 2012:

I currently live in Brooklyn, NY and attend High School in Manhattan. My close friend has a house in Miami and said he will allow me to move in with him when I start college in the Fall of 2013. I am only 17 years old, but I am graduating High School a full year early. My parents are allowing me to take a "gap-year" after I graduate High School, leaving me a whole lot of time to get a job and possibly an internship with a talent agency in New York City! I believe I have a great plan. Growing up I changed my future job interests many times, but I am certain that this is what I want to do. Thank you for your advice and I will definitely stay in touch.

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on May 07, 2012:

Hey Joshua,

I posted below. I hope the information is helpful. Best of luck.

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on May 07, 2012:

Joshua R.,

I love it when I hear a student has a goal and a dream. Owning your own talent agency is fantastic. I am not sure where you live. With that, I suggest setting a course of finding out what it will take for you to achieve such an awesome goal.

You will definitely need a degree in Business Law as well as an understanding of Communications and Media. Stay away from Psychology and all that mumble jumble. Psych only makes matters more complex.

Be willing to take responsibility for your talent and that means care for and willing to own their careers.

You need to obtain as much knowledge as you possibly can so you are not caught off guard. It's a tough business and you need to be armored with knowledge.

Finally, you need to get that degree, work at an agency and then branch off on your own. Good luck.

Joshua R. on May 06, 2012:

Hi, I am a senior in High School and my long term goal "

and "dream" is to start and own a talent agency. I believe I have what it takes and that college will sharpen my skills and give me amazing tips on what I need to know in order to succeed. My grandfather has a good amount of money and plans on leaving me $100,000 when (god forbid) he passes. I am here to ask for advice on what I can do now that will ultimately benefit me in the future. This really means a lot. Thank you very much and if you reply I will be sure to reply back.

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on April 29, 2012:

Great Gianna,

Do stay in touch and let me know how your adventures pan out.

medavinci on April 29, 2012:


Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I can't wait to get the book!


Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on April 28, 2012:

I posted my reply below. I wish you luck and stay in touch.

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on April 28, 2012:

I would look into a Business Law and Communications degrees. Then, you will have to move to a major city - NY, LA, SF, Chicago ...

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on April 28, 2012:


Thank you for your posting and comments. I think it is a smart move to get my book because there is a chapter on Informational Interviews.

Informational Interviews will help you decide if talent agent is your calling.

I have no doubts you will do well because it is obvious you are a go-getter. Your mother supports your passions.

OZX on April 27, 2012:

Hi Kenna,

I live in a small town right outside of Tennessee and I want to be a agent for actors. I'm majoring in Graphic Design with Digital Emphasis. I was hoping you could point me in the right direction as how to get my foot in the door? I don't know what steps to take since im in such a small town and won't be able to move until college is done, and im only in my second year.



medavinci on April 21, 2012:

Hi Kenna,

I am currently a junior in a college prep school, and I am unsure about which direction to take. I believe I have an ear for music talent, and I've been in a cappella groups, a lead singer in a band, and done theatrical performances. A strong part of me wants to be a music agent, producer or casting director.

I am planning on applying to about 10 schools - this is my long list: Elon, Duke, Georgetown, GWU, American, Northwestern, USC, UCLA, BU, BC, NYU, U of P , Kenyon, University of Edinburgh, and Columbia, Yale, Brown, Princeton and Dartmouth as reaches. I'll be cutting that list shortly. My college counselor, who is not as knowledgeable about my particular fields of interest (except journalism), will not be able to offer much guidance, so I am fending for myself in this initial stage of research. My mom is fully supportive of whatever direction I want to go in which means a lot to me.

Ironically, my experience has been as a broadcast journalist, photographer and blogger using multi-media platforms for two inaugural Youth Olympic Games. I stumbled upon this opportunity, because I was doing a lot of work with the UN on the Millennium Development Goals and Environmental Sustainability, and these first Youth Olympic Games were introducing a Culture and Education Program that integrated holistic living with global issues I was focusing on. I was the only under age 18 reporter in both Singapore 2010 and Innsbruck 2012, and I'll be heading to the London Olympics to cover the Cultural Olympiad which will have a myriad of artists from different musical genres.

I enjoy journalism, but my heartstrings keep pulling me back to a dream I had of being a casting director or agent from an early age. I went to a professional performing arts center during the summers, and I loved performing; however, I felt I'd rather be the one doing the casting. I developed a strong eye and ear for talent.

I was going to study Journalism/PR and minor in music; however, after networking with quite a few journalists, I was told to major in a field I'd like to work in and become an expert on (ie political science,for example). Since I love the entertainment industry, I thought I would study business and pre-law with a minor in journalism/PR, and then go on to study entertainment or business law in grad school.

I am a go-getter and self-starter, and am strong and resilient (which I believe is a must for the agent industry). I tend not to let things or people get under my skin. However, I'm not sure if I should stick with journalism/pre-law or follow my dream and become a music/talent agent or casting director. NYU Tisch has the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music for aspiring artists, producers, critics, and entrepreneurs. I'm wondering if that would be helpful towards that goal. I may take a few classes in their summer program and see if I can connect with some people in the business that I can shadow before committing to the career path, or possibly choose the wrong college.

If I sound confused, it's because I am at this critical stage of my life.

I've taken a lot of notes from the blog and I am going to order your book, as well as head over to

Thanks for the inspirational article that prodded my latent "secret agent" personality to step to the forefront again!

Gianna-Catarina (sorry for the long post)

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on April 18, 2012:

Any plan is better than no plan. Networking will be your saving grace. Another aspect is choosing the right people to work with because the industry is based on relationships. Agencies will look at your educational background, but if you choose to work your way via first hand experience, you need to be be solid and unwaivering. Otherwise, it will be a problem. I also have recommend my book Breaking into Film. It's a bit dated but has some vital information for breaking into the industry without a college education.

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on April 18, 2012:

Any plan is better than no plan. Networking will be your saving grace. Another aspect is choosing the right people to work with because the industry is based on relationships.

Agencies will look at your educational background, but if you choose to work your way via first hand experience, you need to be be solid and unwaivering.

Otherwise, it will be a problem.

I also have recommend my book Breaking into Film. It's a bit dated but has some vital information for breaking into the industry without a college education.

teatimew on April 16, 2012:

Hello Kenna,

I'm 19 years old and live in Australia.

I finished high school, decided that University wasn't for me. I want to become a Talent Manager for Actors. Take a couple of Actors under my wing and turn them into successful, respected and household names. This is my plan:

Save up as much money as I can, go to Canada and either do an internship or work in the mailroom for a Casting director or Talent Agent. Become an Assistant and move on from there.

My questions are below:

1. Does this plan sound good, or am I going about it wrong?

2. Is there anything else I can do that would make my dreams become reality?

3. Can I get where I want to get without a degree?

Thankyou so very much for taking time out of your day for me

- Aylin

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on April 05, 2012:

Chris Flood,

Thanks for the posting. Please look through the postings here and I am sure you will find some great ideas to get things rolling. Good luck!

Chris Flood on April 04, 2012:

Hi im from a town in Ireland, I know not a great start at all! I really want to be an agent badly, I just dont have a clue how to get into it any help at all would be hugely appreciated


Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on March 06, 2012:

Hi Jason,

Thanks for posting!

From my research I have seen a positive impact with Communications as a major. Business Law is a tactical move that will impress the agencies.

But, if you have a passion for History, then so be it.

I recommend researching the subject of agent/casting director/talent manager even more. The more knowledge you have on the subject the more you will be able to control your destiny and be responsible for your career decisions.

L. Ron Hubbard describes using all three disciplines: Knowledge, Responsibility and Control. It’s described here.

I hope this is helpful.



Jason on March 06, 2012:


Thank you for your response, it is much appreciated.

I feel like this industry is more about who you know, by networking and getting your foot in the door. Although education is still very important, like it is with every career, I believe that Communications would be the better option over Law. I have done many courses in communications, but I've been told by many people that because I seek a career in a field that a specialized degree is not completely necessary, I should major in something that interests me more, which is History. I also think a solid knowledge of History is important to have.

I still have the rest the semester to decide if I am going to fully commit to a degree in History or Communications. There are many pros and cons to each of the choices, I will be thinking this one over a lot.

Do you think I am heading in the right direction, even with the degree choices that I have?

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on March 04, 2012:


Thank you for posting! It sounds like you've got your foot in the door. The key now is to get the education to back up your experience.

I am curious as to why you are taking History and not Law. Do you have a strong interest in History? Business Law will give you the backbone to keep up with the high paced and somethings rather cut throat industry.

Jason on February 29, 2012:


It's been a dream/goal of mine to become a acting manager for quite some time now. I started off in a community college and last semester transferred to Umass Amherst. I'm currently working towards a degree in history with concentration in communications. last year I did an internship at Boston Casting, and this summer I will be living in L.A. and am currently working on finding an internship while I'm out there. I plan on moving to L.A. upon my graduation (next year). I figured there's no better way to gain experience and to get my foot in the door than to actually experience the lifestyle first hand in the area I wish to live. I am a little nervous but at the same time extremely confident. I think that I have the want and drive to be succesful in this high paced and sometimes rather cut throat industry.

Do you think I am heading in the right direction? If not what could I change or work on?

I look forward to your response.

Thank you,


Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on February 26, 2012:


Yes, I think you are due for an internship; get the experience. Experience leads to references and opens doors for better opportunities.

DBradleyRI on February 26, 2012:

I will be graduating undergrad studies with Operations Management and Marketing degrees in May 2013. My plan following was to go to graduate school to get my MBA (likely in marketing, with courses in Luxury Marketing & Brand Marketing). This would leave me to have my 2 BS' and an MBA by May 2014, with enough saved up to move to NYC or LA for work. However, I'm curious if it's smarter to get an internship, perhaps in NYC, for a year or so before going straight to the MBA. I would only be 23 with the MBA, so not holding me up much there. Opinions?

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on February 18, 2012:


You definitely have the passion to become an agent. I would work with your parents and school adviser to help you set your goals.



Marcus A. on February 18, 2012:


I came across your Website and I am very impressed with all your advice. Thank you for taking the time to help each and every one of us!

Could you e-mail me at I am really interested in becoming a talent manager, or at least entering the showbiz world. I have the credentials, personality, and work ethic to be part of such a world. I just need to now how to go about achieving my dreams.

Thank you,


Devin on February 18, 2012:

I am a high schooler in kennesaw right next to ATL. Music is my life in every way shape and form I want to become a music agent but don't know where to start. I still have 3 years left but I have been wanting this since I was 6 or 7. So can you help me and guide me along that road.

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on February 11, 2012:


Here you go the American Film Institute

Jonathan on February 11, 2012:

Hi Kenna,

I cannot seem to find anything in regards to an AFI International Student program, do you know the site?

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on February 11, 2012:


Sounds like you have got your foot in the door with experience. I am pretty sure the AFI, which is based in Hollywood, has a foreign student program. I would check with them first.

Jonathan A on February 11, 2012:

Hi Kenna,

I'm currently looking into working for a talent agency as an intern/assistant after I graduate university. I'm currently in Canada and would like to make the move to LA or NYC, only because there aren't a lot of agencies here in Toronto except modelling ones. I have had paid co-op positions at some large Fortune companies in Toronto and have been an administrative assistant before. Do you have a recommendation for obtaining an internship/assistant job in NYC or LA considering I don't have any connections to the entertainment industry?

Thanks much appreciated

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on February 08, 2012:


Thanks for you post. I recommend staying in London and working with the agency your father is with because the relationship is already established for you to build a foundation as an agent. Later, after experience, you can try LA.

Business Law is very important for an agent. Marketing is fine as is general Business, but learning some law helps you understand the legalities of your career.

Harleyjai on February 08, 2012:

Hello Kenna,

I currently live in London and was curious whether it's the place that would maximize my chances of potentially becoming a high profile talent agent, as running my own agency is what I've been wanting to do for several years (way before I watched Entourage). Im 18 years old and study essential subjects in college that i feel will help me to undertand the path i have chosen. My father is a established actor in England and he is currently moving to LA to work, I was thinking if I should possibly move as well and try and attend university in America instead of London, like UCLA? Would this be a good idea? Or should I go to university in London and get experience with my fathers current agency as well. Im asking you this as im not familiar with LA and feel maybe it could be overpopulated with 'aspiring talent agents' and would decrease my chances. I've previously read other posts and notice you said to study public relations, law ect I was thinking of studying business and marketing. Is this useful?

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on February 06, 2012:

Trip E Kit E,

Here is a reference to help you achieve your goals:

Trip E Kit E on February 06, 2012:

Yes please Kenna, would love those references, thankyou for your positive feedback :)

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on February 05, 2012:

Business and Law, communications media.

Darius on February 05, 2012:

there is a lot of options on UCLA what course should i take in to to have a chance of becoming a casting agent?

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on February 05, 2012:


It depends on what city you live in, but you can help the Drama department. Work with the teacher or director of the school plays. Learning to work with creative people has a lot to do with being a talent agent.

Then, branch off and volunteer at a community theater, helpng them in the same capacity. Watch how the audition process works and get familiar with being able to tell the difference between someone who is professional and someone who is not.

Of course, this depends on how much your parents are willing to help. Parental support is very important as well.

Good luck.

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on February 05, 2012:

Darius -- I recommend UCLA or USC. I would contact them and see what type of program they have to offer. Also, check with AFI and see if they have an exchange student program. Good luck.

Jordyn on February 05, 2012:


What are some things that I can do in high school that would help me with this career path. For example, is there any extra curricular that would help me prepare for a career like this?


Darius on February 05, 2012:

Hello kenna I am a finishing high school teenager from Europe. and i'm planing to go study in L.A which university/college should i attend to , to have a shot at a talent agent? Basicly what i'm asking is a college or an university that has a little relations with the agent industries my email is if you can write a good and a brief answer i would really apreciate your time .

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on January 29, 2012:

Hi Trip E Kit E,

I would first find out legally via a union, artist association, theater guild or lawyer what is your boundaries or limitations as a representative, manager or agent. Of course, you have to decide which role you want to play in the business.

You are in a powerful position which you have tremendous influence. You want to make sure you follow the rules or laws of your profession.

I never think in terms of being behind the 8-ball. Think in terms of what your purpose as a professional is and how that aligns with your goals.

Sure college has its advantages - alumni and academic achievement. Higher education might not be for you.

I have references to help with goals and purposes. If you want those, let me know.

I am sure you will do well.

Trip E Kit E on January 27, 2012:

Oh I should add that I have no degrees on marketing or events, business law etc my skill base and experience is based purely on life experience, does that place me .. how far.. behind the 8 ball?

Trip E Kit E on January 27, 2012:

Hi there Kenna,

could you please lend me some advise?

I have been active on social networks for years now and have developed a strong network of talent.

I have a background in marketing and events with a strong line of fine arts as both my parents were artists and i have owned my own galleries and started promoting other artists.

I have worked on productions and produced my own events from the ground up, talent scouting, training casting and promoting. I have never really taken it seriously as it was more a part of what I was doing rather than a main focus.

Now however I am getting alot of enquiries from some amazing talent that want me to represent them. I have never taken an official position and before I take anything on I want to make sure I am positioned correctly.

I would be glad for any advise you can afford me.

Kenna McHugh (author) from Northern California on January 21, 2012:


It's better to decided to either be an agent or an actress. Why would you want to do both?

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