Want To Be An Actor In Movies? What You Need To Know - Avoid Scammers

Bogus Talent Agent/Manager
Bogus Talent Agent/Manager

Are Acting Managers and Agents Necessary?

With over 25 years in the entertainment business, I have formed definite opinions about the role of agents and managers. I'm writing this article to both educate and protect the reader from bogus, money-hungry, out-right lying scams so prevelant here in the US. These "vultures" not only think nothing of robbing "wanna be" actors, models, singers and comedians from their life-savings, they play on the hopes and dreams of the unsuspecting. Not only does this behavior not bother them, they are quick to boast and laugh about their long list of "sign-ups".

I have witnessed parents selling their car, taking out big loans, borrowing large somes of money from family and friends just to pay an unqualified agent his rediculous fee. This is also the case when "gratefully" signing up for bogus management representation.

We need to be more informed and cautious before putting our children, or ourselves in to the hands of clever and deceptive agents and managers.

"Give me your life-savings and I will make you a star"
"Give me your life-savings and I will make you a star" | Source
Screen Actors Guild Logo
Screen Actors Guild Logo | Source

Legitimate Agents NEVER Charge a Fee

Remember this, and spread the word to your family and friends - legitimate agents make their money, only when you do. They get paid from the percentage you make. Period!

And here's another thing to remember. The only time agents advertise is when they hold an "open audition" or "open call". These announcements are broadcast on the radio, in the newspaper, sometimes on line and on television. Open auditions are rare, perhaps once a year only. Reputable agents do not need to advertise for clients. Their clients are so good and so busy, they do not need to advertise.

About Acting Agents

The role of a Film Agent, is a major powerbroker in the industry, controlling many aspects of it.

Agents in the music business, are involved in booking, live personal appearances and concerts.

Agents will hand you a contract to sign, which allows them a small percentage of your income (10%). They are only paid, when you are paid. Agents must be regulated by unions such as AFM, AFTRA, and SAG. You absolutely must do your homework and check to make sure your agent has membership in each of these unions. Remember, the above unions are your seal of approval for the endless list of agents.

Agents do not approach a person with a promise to make them a star. Never! Yes, there are a few stories circulating around with conflicting rumors - but not true, especially in today's market. These "sharks" are popular in malls where they prey upon young people, innocent and starry-eyed young people.

If these "hunters" approach you, ask for their business card and NEVER give them your personal information, like your name, phone number or address. If the business card has the above union names printed on the face of the card, call the unions to verify that they are members. Again, do your homework. And parents - do talk to your children about this and keep them safe.

The William Morris Agency - Los Angeles, Ca.

A markerWilliam Morris Agency Los Angeles -
Los Angeles, CA, USA
[get directions]

Some of the greatest stars in the movie industry are signed with William Morris.

The Truth About Talent Managers

A manager used to be someone you needed to guide your career. Even if you were an established artist or a big star, managers were in big demand. Now, A "manager" can be all kinds of things from aspiring actors manager, to a celebrities manager and anything in between.

When searching for management, look for reputable, qualified companies, preferably one that will help you get signed with an agent. A manager will take a hefty percentage of everything you make money with. He may include, all films, commercials, voice-overs, recordings, stage, screen and television as well as promotional items (t-shirts, mugs, caps).


He will ask you to sign a contract and have no problem with you taking the contract to an attorney. Entertainment attorneys don't come cheap, so save your money. Personally, I would not do business with a manager who doesn't insist on a contract. The contract protect YOU as well as your manager.

The best of the best -
The best of the best - | Source

Get Educated With The Acting Business

The best thing you can do for your career is to learn everything you can about the business. Take a trip to the library and read and study everything you can find on the entertainment business. Also, keep in mind that what you learn in a manual or book written in 1999 may have totally changed. So, keep current. Scan the internet for the latest laws, new information and fees.

The other thing you must do is to study your craft - again and again. Always take a class to become a better actor, model or singer. When you stop studying, you stop growing.

No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight room of the soul. - Ingmar Bergman

Acting is not being emotional, but being able to express emotion. - Kate Reid

A fan club is a group of people who tell an actor he is not alone in the way he feels about himself - Jack Carson

Believe In Yourself ~

Not everyone "makes it" in the movie and television industry. The few who do are persistent, very well-prepared and some times have a little bit of luck. But, I want to say this - if being an actor or asingeris what you are all about - if it is your passion, your dream and your very life - you must believe in yourself and never, ever give up!

Go to every audition, knock on every door, learn all you can and be prepared...be prepared...be prepared.

Go out there and really sell yourself - again and again and again. As many times as it takes, prove to yourself that nothing will stop you. You are unstoppable.

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Comments 31 comments

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States

This is really a very interesting hub. Thanks for the information.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

Very inspiring hub. I am glad to know this from you. My friend, I always learn some thing "great" from each your hubs, including this one. Actually I never heard about this before, because I don't live in America. But thanks for writing this. Cheers...

Love and peace,


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

That's scary, but it seems that no matter what direction someone takes, there is someone just waiting to cash in. I am trying to pursue voice-overs, not movies, but just commercial spots. I hear some say, you have to go to school and some say don't waste your money. What do you think vocalcoach? I've been practicing making tapes on my laptop, but I realize I will have to make a professional demo. I've been told that a local studio has the best reputation for producing the demo's that get the work. It's $110/hour with the help of an engineer. Since money is tight for me, I want to make every dollar count. This is a fabulous eye-opener of a read and serves as fair warning to everyone with "stars" in their eyes to watch your back! Thank you, my friend.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Amy - Thank you for reading this and finding it helpful. I suggest that you search for an inexpensive class (some communities off very inexpensive classes for voice-overs) to be sure you are technically prepared before spending money ina recording studio. With a good instructor, you will learn a few valuable tips to really give you an "edge". Not only will you be better prepared to record a demo, but you will save money because you will save time in the studio.

$110/hour is about right for a good, reputable studio. Do your homework, make calls or check the internet for competitive studios. Your demo is your representation and is extremely important.

When you are practicing, make very sure your diction is clear and use vocal "coloring" to add interest. Also, be sure when you record that you don't hear yourself taking a breath. Enunciate, always opening the vowel and ending the consonant distinctly, but not pushing it.

Let me know if I can be of help, further. Your friend, vocalcoach


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Pamela - Thanks for reading this. I was somewhat concerned that because my article applies to a specific market, I would see a drop in visitors. We will see. Really appreciate your loyalty and support. :)vocalcoach


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Vocalcoach, could I send you a couple of very short recordings so you can give me your expert opinion and advise on whether you believe I have a chance at this endeavor? I am encouraged to hear I wouldn't need a long, drawn out school commitment. I agree 100% that in order to produce a stellar demo, which is of utmost importance, a calling card so to speak, I need some expert assistance. I am networking, through a neighbor who works for a local newsstation, as she has a work friend that has been in the biz for years. I haven't met her yet, but am waiting for her to contact me. Thank you kindly for your help in this new exciting endeavor. I truly appreciate it.


Fay Paxton 5 years ago

Yet another excellent hub and very good advice. I stopped my daughter from signing my grandson up with just the kind of outfit you describe. In her excitement she was ready to shell out all kinds of fees. My conclusion was simple, "if they believed him that talented they'd represent him for nothing up-front". She followed my advice, but I think secretly felt she missed an opportunity for her little boy.

up/very useful and awesome


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

Excellent advice, Audrey, for those who might otherwise fall prey to a talent management 'shark.'

I particularly liked that quote by Jack Carson since I'm old enough to remember him in films and can easily visualize him saying those funny words. Thanks, m'dear.


Silver Poet profile image

Silver Poet 5 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

I had always wondered about how it works in the movie business.


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 5 years ago

What wonderful research into this world of entertainment...and getting it from you, Vocal coach is a plus. Rating this an Excellent Hub, thanks for sharing


Chatkath profile image

Chatkath 5 years ago from California

This is such great information Audrey - So many talented but desperate to "make it" folks are taken advantage of without even a 2nd thought. I think the fee issue is so true for many "artist" professions, you should never have to pay them a fee, they get paid out of the money made performing typically, and anything else is cause for question?! My brother is a singer/musician who finally got a real job after years of competition and let downs. He wrote all his own music but he was told not to, going against what he really wanted to do - so he won't make a living at it but still enjoys playing. Voted up and useful.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Chatkath - I am so pleased that I am getting such great feedback from writing this hub. I almost decided not to talk about this subject, as I thought it may not be that interesting to most people. But now I see that it was a good subject after all. I'm glad to hear that your brother is still enjoying his music. Musicians experience a deep satisfaction from actively participating in music - one that others never have. That...is a gift that only he can give to himself. What a joy that is! I love your comments, my friend. Thank you for your vote.


tamron profile image

tamron 5 years ago

Well written with lots of good information! Ping Ya!


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

This is a great help and advice for would-be stars. There is certainly a mafia in that sort of business.


Petra Vlah profile image

Petra Vlah 5 years ago from Los Angeles

Great hub; everything you said about managing artistic careers applys for writers as well - a lot of charlatans in the market ready to make a fast buck and give false hopes to aspiring writers, so "do your homework" is the best advice.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Petra - Thank you for the reminder about this advice also applying to writers. Excellent addition! Again, thank you.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

hello - It's too bad that these kind of money-hungry people exsist. It makes me really mad. The only way I can fight this, is to educate others. Thanks for reading and commenting. :) vocalcoach


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

tamron - Thanks for reading this and leaving your comment. Appreciate it! :)


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Silver Poet - This is pretty much up-to-date information. There are always exceptions. The main thing is to be informed.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

b. Malin - You are always here to give me support and a thumbs up! What more can I ask for? Sending you thank yous and a vocalcoach hug!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

drbj - Well, then, we must both be off of the same tree branch - I remember him too :) Always love your comments. Like having a whole box of "See's Candy".


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Fay - good for you! Your advice was a gift to her. A very admirable thing for you to do. Most parents that I have warned (even as their teacher), did not listen to me and got taken again and again. It is really sad - but at the same time it makes me furious! Thanks Fay.


cwarden profile image

cwarden 5 years ago from USA

I am so glad to read this hub. I too was in the business for a while (the boring finance side) and I just hated to hear the horror stories of "hopefuls" being taken for every last penny they had. I hope this very truthful information will find its way to someone who is about to be scammed. Rated UP with all the buttons!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Very interesting Vocalcoach - I would have had no idea that this went on. I'm glad you did write about it - I know my daughter was contacted by a couple of "producers" - I told her they were only self proclaimed producers and not to waste her time. Now I'm even more certain! Thank you!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

cwarden - Yes, It just breaks my heart to think of all the sacrifices, hopes and dreams that the unsuspecting public are outright robbed of. I developed talent programs for a John Robert Powers franchise in California, which was an education in and of itself. I was never paid for all of my hard work and it made them millions. They finally closed down after I sued and won. :)


H P Roychoudhury profile image

H P Roychoudhury 5 years ago from Guwahati, India

It is something interesting of knowing American culture.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

How true. And this is one aspect I am not proud of. Thanks.


Support Med. profile image

Support Med. 5 years ago from Michigan

As long as they are legit, I think both are helpful. I'm no actor, but I often hear as your article stated to learn all you can. Interesting. v/r


Elsie 4 years ago

I have a 12 yr daughter that want to study acting ,She has been wanting to be an actress since she was 3 yr's . She use to say mommie i want to be on T.V .Please help me i stand by her 100% .Tell me the best school ,not so expensive where i could take her so she could prepare herself .New york City area ( west side area ) .Thank you ,,,,Elsie


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 4 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Support Med - If an actor is enrolled in a legitimate talent agency, a manager isn't needed until the actor has a lead in a very good part in a film. Thanks for stopping by.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn. Author

Elsie - I would call "The Actor's Studio" in Manhattan and ask them for a referral. You can also contact top Children's Agents, but make sure they qualify as I stated in this article. Good luck!

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