Wise talent ask relevant questions. Questions tell the agent a lot about the talent’s previous experience and understanding of the industry, which will reflect on how that talent deals with the clients.
How many talent do you represent?
How many talent in my demographic/type do you represent?
Goal: You want to decipher how many other talent may be up for the same spots that you would be auditioning for. Note that even if there are several other talent in your age and look, they may have different strengths/weaknesses. Use your gut feeling to judge how sincere and comfortable you are with the relationship, rather than trying to judge conflicts already housed on the agency’s roster (you don’t have substantial information to do so).
Is Disney, Nike, [insert coveted company name here] your client?
What types of work do you book? (e.g., commercial, film, print, etc.)
Goal: You want to understand in which categories of work you can expect to be marketed. No one agency owns full rights to booking on their talent for any one company.
Do you charge fees?
What will you expect me to provide in order to be marketed? Will I be responsible for anything else?
Goal: Of course the agency charges fees – it’s how we make money! The fee should be a percentage of the work that the talent books. What most talent are trying to find out is what the costs involved in running their business will be – which is important information. This includes marketing materials, which will vary from region, agency, and category of work. The agent should be able to give you a good idea of what items will be necessary and expected without going into detail at this stage in the game.