What to Expect from Your News Talent Agent

Hollywood has long found comedic value in portraying talent agents in various ways.

Sometimes they’re represented as smarmy opportunists with their sights so laser-focused on acquiring talent, they’re willing to do anything to get it. Anything.

On other occasions, they’re the frazzled cigarette-smoking stress cases buried under so much paperwork in a disorganized office that the audience is left to question why talent would ever choose this person in the first place.

In almost every Hollywood portrayal, the agent is either at one’s beck and call, or completely MIA.

So if you’re basing your search on those credentials, it’s can be next to impossible to know what to expect from your news talent agent.

We’re here to clarify.

What to Expect from Your News Talent Agent

Regular talent agents are a dime a dozen.

But GOOD talent agents – the ones with experience, connections, and a strong presence in the industry that will deliver results – they’re a much rarer breed.

And it’s tough to put a price on that. But we’re going to come right out the gate doing that anyhow.

1. Charge Appropriate Commission

One of the first things you want to look at is the commission a news talent agent is charging. For many of them, the standard is 10%. We feel that’s on the high end.

Less experienced agents trying to get into the business may ask for as little as 5%. This is a red flag that they may not have the experience that will help you progress.

The rule of thumb is to aim for somewhere in the middle. Just as when you don’t go with the lowest or highest bid from the guy who’s going to put a roof on your home.

So be sure to do a lot of interviewing for agents. Ideally, try to find an agent who is willing to work for a 7% commission.

2. Evaluate and Promote Your Talent

A GOOD agent is one who knows what’s hot in the industry and is willing to thoroughly evaluate your video and offer an honest and constructive written and verbal critique.

After all, your talent and skill is their bread and butter. So expect them to work for it.

Plus, your agent should be willing to fight to ensure that you’re being treated fairly.

For example, if you secure a position in a smaller market and they put you on a late night shift when there simply isn’t any news, your agent should be willing to rally for you to place you in a more appropriate market or at a station that will take advantage of your skills and talent.

He or she should always be willing to speak on your behalf if you’re being treated punitively.

3. Availability

Part of why Hollywood has so much fun portraying agents is the complicated nature of the talent-agent relationship.

But it doesn’t have to be complicated.

An agent who is available at every moment of the day to take calls is NOT the sign of a fantastic agent. You want an agent who will empower you, not enable you.

It’s not unreasonable to expect your agent to get back to you the same day that you call, however. And they should be willing to regularly communicate with you several times per month – even in times when you don’t necessary need them.

But it’s simply impossible for an agent to be available 24/7 to every one of his or her clients. It doesn’t make for an effective talent agent.

They can’t take the necessary time to find new jobs and leads for you and their other clients if they’re constantly attending to your every crisis. Which brings us to the final point.

What NOT to Expect from Your Agent

Your agent is not your parent. Or a union leader.

And just as with every job, there are going to be gripes you have about any position in any market. No matter how big.

So if you’re not pleased with how little vacation time you’re getting, or the company’s insurance plan isn’t up to your exacting, then you’ll need to take it up with your employer.

This is not the responsibility of your talent agent.

So Now You Know the Nitty Gritty

Now that you understand what to expect from a news talent agent, let the search begin.

Be sure to take the time to find the person who’s just right for you.

And if you haven’t yet found an agent who meets all of the above criteria, contact us today! You just might be at the end of your search.

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