Ready to become an actor or become an actress? Here are some great tips to get you started.

Acting can be a confusing profession to those just starting out. There are so many unwritten rules, not to mention the scams that ruin the dreams of many talented actors. However, going into an acting career armed with knowledge will help minimize the confusion and maximize the success.

Many beginning actors mistakenly think that “talent agent” and “talent manager” are two names for the same job. Actually, they are very different, but in a similar way. The best way to explain the differences is to tackle the job responsibilities separately, giving actors a good idea of those differences.

A talent agent works for a talent agency where they use their contacts to arrange auditions for the actors represented by the agency. An actor should never pay a talent agent up front for auditions or representation. A legitimate talent agent should receive a ten to fifteen percent commission only from the work they find the actor. A talent agent should never receive any percentage above fifteen percent.

Actors need a talent agent to survive. A talent agent is able to provide an actor with auditions they would not otherwise know about. Without the appropriate industry auditions, an actor’s career will go nowhere.

When securing a talent agent, actors should seek talent agencies franchised with The Screen Actors Guild (SAG). This means the agency and its agents have signed a contract agreeing to follow the rules regulated by the actors union.

A talent manager’s focus is more on managing an actor’s career than with arranging auditions. Talent managers keep in close touch with talent agents to ensure a shared vision for the actor, but a manager stays mostly on the management end of the actor’s career. Sometimes a talent manager may set up an audition for an actor, but that is not their focus. A talent manager will not guarantee auditions for an actor. Securing auditions is a talent agent’s job.

A talent manager handles public relations, business matters, and helps to make a plan and keep the actor on a path toward success. Actors usually don’t have a talent manager unless they have already seen some success and want to make a big jump in their career. Most actors cannot juggle the acting demands, interviews, and appearances that come with a prominent career. That is where a talent manager comes in.

Just as with talent agents, an actor should never pay a talent manager up front or for representation. Talent managers take a higher percentage of an actor’s earnings than a talent agent does. Typically, a talent manager receives a fifteen to twenty percent commission.

The differences between a talent agent and a talent manager vary, but their responsibilities are geared toward the same goal… advancing an actor’s career and getting the actor more acting jobs so the actors makes more money. The bottom line is that when an actor succeeds and gets paid, everybody gets paid. Both talent agents and talent managers will work hard to make that happen.