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Research and read all reviews about all of the agencies in your area. I recommend searching for ones that are in the major metropolitan area near you. The agencies in these larger markets may be strict and cost more money, but they have the big jobs. It’s worth the work to get into a good one. Be wary of agencies that charge you upfront.
I will tell you thought that Google isn't always the best source of information, but you need to read it anyway. Don't hesitate to contact talent that are signed with the agency. Going to an open call and meeting staff can eliminate a lot of stress and curiosity.
This information should be a no-brainer. However, as a talent, of course you make the mistake of jumping into things that you do not take two seconds to even Google. Why? Because it sounded amazing! Also, when you are freelancing, who are you going to ask? Even parents are fooled with huge scams because they didn’t do research. After getting 10 different responses from industry or non-industry friends, and your Facebook friends, then you hope for the best and jump in. Two years later, you're stuck with zero resume credit, you took off of work, lost money, got a babysitter, bought the clothes, hired the mua, stylist, etc.
Raise your hand if you've been in this situation (*raises hand*).
Nothing about working in entertainment is easy or even makes sense half the time. That is why I highly recommend taking the time to do it right and get a good agent. Looking for an agent is definitely the answer for you if you've gone through these shenanigans way too many times, and if you actually want this as a career.
First, Google for DAYS. Read Facebook reviews. Check out Instagram, LinkedIn, Thumbtack, Yahoo!, Yelp... I don't care where all you are looking, just look everywhere.
Oh, you thought since you're cute that this was easy?
<insert crying laughing emoji>
Next, start reading. Read books about casting and production, learn the lingo so you know what an open call is instead of calling the agency and asking, "What's an open call? What's an audition? How do I do that?"
Take every legitimate class, do workshops and network with signed talent. Obsess over this as if you're about to be tested over it. If you want to work in entertainment for the rest of your life, you need to be obsessed with it. Finding a good agent and educating yourself in order to make your life easier throughout this process is extremely important.
You cannot assume that everyone is who they say they are. If you find yourself saying any variation of this, "This guy said I look like a model. Said he has the most expensive camera and would take some pictures of me for free. I have a photoshoot tomorrow!" Say NO. I promise that you will save yourself so much heartache and disappointment. All that an agent is going to do is trash those photos, and you won't want them plastered all over the internet anyway. Be smart.
As an agent, I always refer new talent to my current talent for honest feedback. I love this more than anything. I also tell my talent to please give honest facts and opinions.
Once you've gathered all of the information you can possibly find, then narrow down your top 3-5 choices for agencies, if there are even that many to choose from. Don't be afraid to put an agency that you think is completely unattainable on your list.
After doing your homework, go to my next step on what you do once obtaining all of this information.
aka The Barbie Mentor