Yohan writes: I was wondering if you could provide some insight for someone considering a talent agent career. Do you know if agencies tend to prefer certain degrees over others when hiring new agents? Also, any tips for aspiring agents?
Nah, the field of your degree doesn't matter. I'm sure there are quite a few with film or media degrees, but being an agent isn't about debating Fellini. It's sales. And honestly, where you went to school or what you studied won't be the most important thing when you're applying for a job at an agency. Your personal connection will probably get you the job. Interviewing well also helps!
I'm actually kind of jealous of people who want to be agents, because the path to becoming one is pretty simple:
1. Get a job at an agency. Assistant, if you can - but if you can only make it into the mailroom, I'm sure you can move up to assistant at some point (like I did).
2. Get into the trainee program.
3. Be really impressive.
4. Get promoted to agent.
There are some people who don't do it this way - sometimes people work as executives in other fields or at studios or something before becoming agents - but from what I've seen, it's more the exception than the rule.
From what I see, getting promoted to agent requires major hustling. You have to network like crazy, taking people to lunch or drinks every single day. You should read every script you can, learn who all of the players are, and be up on every project. You should be looking for new talent to sign, while also looking for work for the agency's current clients. You should act like an agent in manner, knowledge and dress. You have to be assertive, maybe even ruthless. Being a good assistant won't get you promoted; proving you can be a good agent will.
When an agent I know was asked what he would look for in a new agent, he said he wants someone he'll be able to bring to an important meeting without being embarrassed.
So - play the part. Know your stuff. Hustle. And remember that image is very important.