The Toronto Association of Acting Studios (known as TAAS) provides
reputable, reasonably priced classes for performers at all levels. A list
of member studios can be obtained from Theatre Ontario 416-408-4556 and
is also found in The Agents Book and on the TAAS
website. We strongly advise against taking acting classes with an agency.
A beginning acting class should not focus solely on on-camera techniques
and you should take classes in voice and movement as well as acting. Most
professional classes will cost between 10 and 20 dollars an hour.
Professional actors need a single black-and-white or colour headshot; they do
not need comp cards. Children and extras do not need professional
photos until they are working regularly. A session with one of the top industry
photographers will cost approximately $250-$350 for a session of 100 or so shots. Reproductions will cost $160 for 100 black and white photos or $225 for 100 colour photos.
The internet has only recently become used within the industry for
casting purposes. There are 3 legitimate computer-assisted casting aids
in Canada: CBC Resource Centre (Talent Bank), Face to Face Online and Casting
Workbook. They cannot be accessed by members of the public. The cost to
performers is less than 100 dollars a year. Other tools like video and audio
demo tapes are not required until a performer has professional work to include
on such tapes. Consult The Agents Book for standard industry costs.
Reputable agencies are prohibited by the industry code of ethics
from advertising to the public. A principal agent will rarely take on
a performer who is completely inexperienced. Most reputable principal agents
are members of the Talent Agents and Managers Association of Canada also
known as TAMAC. Reputable agents do not offer classes, they will not sign
you up for photo sessions nor will they require you to pay fees up front.
Agents charge commission on the work that you do - 15% on film and television
work, 10% on theatre work - and very few charge any kind of maintenance
fee. Any contract with an agent should
be taken to a lawyer before signing and must include cancellation clauses
for both parties to the contract. Reputable agents will not pressure or
threaten you or try to make you feel insecure; nor will they flatter you
or guarantee you work. Never enter an agreement with an agent without going
away to think about it or to get impartial advice.