In the course of an actor’s life he is going to meet a lot of people. Many of these people will have a direct or indirect effect on his career. Some, more so than others.
Probably the person who will have the biggest effect on the career of an actor is his agent. Love ’em or hate ’em, agents are impossible to live without. By definition an agent is someone who finds work for an actor at a fee of about 10 to 15% of whatever he earns for that job. But an agent is much more than that in reality. An agent is the actor’s mouthpiece. He’s the one who tries to display the actor in the best possible light through his own charm. Agents have to be very good talkers and have personalities that are easy to get along with. As an agent they will have an extensive list of contacts from producers to directors. They use this list to get an actor every chance that they possibly can. And then after the actor gets the job the agent works on the terms of ther contract to make sure that he gets the best deal possible. A good agent will have the actor’s best interests at heart, knowing that the better the deal he makes, the better he makes out as well.
Then there is the casting director. This person can make or break an actor’s career. If an actor can’t get past the casting director he has no chance. Casting directors are specifically hired to find talent for the movie, show or play, whichever the case may be. This is the agent’s first line of contact. These are the people the agent sends photos and resumés to. These are the people the actor auditions for. Without passing the audition with the casting director, an actor has no chance to meet the next people in line who will determine whether or not he’s going to get the job.
After that we have the actor’s manager. A manager has a slightly different role than the actor’s agent, though there are some similarities in the duties they perform. Both work for the actor with the actor’s best interests in mind. A manager will basically try to find the actor work, give him advice and try to guide his career. He may encourage the actor to try for certain roles and tell him to avoid others. An agent may also do the same, but he is more concerned with getting the contract. Managers look more at the big picture and long term career than the day to day operations. Managers are the ones who give the actor their face that they will show to the public.
Finally, there is the producer. A producer is the one who handles all the behind the scenes details of a production. They bring together the directors, actors and writers and try to make it all work, in spite of the many different personalities involved. It is important that the actor is able to work well with the producer or he can find himself out of work very fast, contract or no contract.
In the world and life of an actor there are indeed many people who he will count on to make sure his career gets off the ground and hopefully makes it to the heights he aspires to.