Q&A: What’s a reputable acting talent agency in Los Angeles for novice actors trying to break in the biz?

Question by TwilghtThespian: What’s a reputable acting talent agency in Los Angeles for novice actors trying to break in the biz?
There are so many shady sites & people out there who are bogus and just want your money. Or “acting / modeling schools” that require beacoup bucks! I would love an answer from someone who is actually in the biz. I know the big agencies approach you and do not accept resume or headshot submissions. Help! Thanks!

Best answer:

Answer by Brrr
Well, the top agencies for young people are CESD and Gersh, but I don’t know how old you are. I am a teen so those are the ones that I know of personally.

Hope this helps:)

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13 thoughts on “Q&A: What’s a reputable acting talent agency in Los Angeles for novice actors trying to break in the biz?”

  1. To get an agent, you need to get GREAT headshots, a good resume, and training from the best. These are enough to get you a commercial agent at least. Getting a GOOD theatrical agent (Film/tv) takes longer. Most good theatrical agents won’t see you unless you’re SAG, have a polished resume, and a demo reel. Commercial agents are more lenient about that. What the best Commercial agents want to see on your resume are good commercial classes, improv, and cold reading.

    You can get an agent multiple ways. Here are a few common ways:
    -Mail in an unsealed manilla envelope with a CONCISE coverletter and headshot with the resume stapled on the back. If you have a demoreel include that too.
    -Attend a showcase and impress them. By showcase I do not mean scammy conventions like IMTA, Proscout, or Best New Talent. I mean legit ones like at TVI, Reel pros, etc.
    -Get a referral from a friend who is with the agency that you’re interested in

    -Email them unless they tell you to. IT’S UNPROFESSIONAL!
    -Call unless they tell you to. ALSO UNPROFESSIONAL!
    -Walk in and ask for a meeting. UNPROFESSIONAL THREE!
    -Sign with them if they ask for upfront money, make you take new photos with THEIR photographer, or take THEIR classes. Agent’s ONLY make money when you do. Agents usually make 10% on film/tv and commercials and 20% on commercial print

    Excluding the Big 5 (CAA, ICM, William Morris, UTA, Endeavor) and B Agencies (Gersh, Paradigm, Stone Manners) which DON’T take new talent or people without celebrity endorsements or actual film/tv credits, here are the top agencies in LA:

    Top LA Commercial Agencies(*=definite winners):
    KSR *
    Abrams *
    CESD *
    Diverse *
    Coast to Coast *
    Daniel Hoff *
    Commercial Talent *
    Commercials Unlimited
    Innovative Artists *
    Independent Artists
    Flick Commercials
    Venture IAB
    Sutton, Barth, Venari *
    Arlene Thornton and Associates
    Pantheon *
    Beverly Hecht
    Don Buchwald and Associates *
    M. Greene and associates
    AKA *
    Amsel, Eisenstadt & Frazier
    Brady, Brannon, and Rich *
    Brass Artists
    Special Artists Agency
    Amatruda, Benson, and Assoc.
    Angel City
    Clear Talent Group
    Lemon Lime
    LA Talent

    Up and Comers:
    -Talentworks (Emily Hope from ACME is here)

    Top LA Theatrical Agents:
    -Coast to Coast
    -Amsel Eisenstadt Frazier
    -House of Representatives
    -Daniel Hoff
    -M. Greene and associates
    -Agency for the Performing Arts
    -Media Artists Group
    -Peter Strain
    -The Glick Agency
    -Pakula King
    -David Shapira

  2. – Yes, it’s all in HOW Sandy’s work is taught! At the moment, my impression is that Sandy’s work has surpassed Strasburg’s Method in popularity. If so, that’s because it’s healthy! Fred was firmly in that tradition. Surely you realize that if anyone were teaching like Fred today they would be a credit to the acting profession! You are right to preserve Fred’s legacy. It shouldn’t be allowed to die with him. My only reservation was that Fred might have acknowledged Sandy.

  3. – One of the girls in my class with Fred at Carnegie Hall (she had graduated from Julliard), said to Fred that the reason that she knew he was not a charlatan was the fact that he did not advertise. We all had a good laugh at that, because it was so very true! Unfortunately, I know at least two people who teach who advertise themselves as “first generation” Meisner students, who only sutdied with Sandy for one year at The Playhouse. Now really THAT bothers me!

  4. – The lasting influence of such members of The Group Theatre as Adler, Clurman, Kazan, Lewis, Meisner, Odets, & Strasburg was a foregone conclusion while they were still alive. Sandy (never known for his modesty LOL) wishing to be remembered as an influence, was only hoping to be acknowledged for what he had already acheived. Just remember, he said, “This is something bigger than all of us.” Certainly Fred knew that as well as anyone, and probably better than most.

  5. – Fred mentioned teaching with Richard Boone at The Playhouse. Boone filled in for Sandy after Sandy’s first surgery for cancer. Fred’s failure to mention Sandy was bound to make me wonder. It was my impression that Sandy only insisted that his assistants teach in a specific way if they were actually teaching what has come to be known as “The Meisner Technique.” There is no one way to learn or to teach. You will not find be arguing with what Fred taught, or how he taught it.

  6. – Naturally, I respect your feelings, as well. Personally, I considered Fred a great teacher. To call him “excellent” was not to damn with faint praise – quite the opposite. For me, Sandy will always be “THE” teacher. Of course, I was still in my teens when I began to study with him. Not only did I graduate from the two year program at The Playhouse (where I first encountered Fred), but I continued with Sandy in is private class. That made a pwoerful impact.

  7. – It is common knowledge that Sandy fell out with David Pressman; Herbert Bergoff; Wynn Handman; Mordecai Lawner; Robert X. Modica; & (famously) with Bill Esper. In most cases they made peace in later years. Sandy could be tempestous, to say the least. The mentor/protege relationship often gets complicated when the protege begins to achieve the level of a master himself. Fred definitely achieved master teacher status, although I suspect he would have dismissed the idea.

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