A talent agent works for a talent agency. Both the talent and agent and the agency, in theory, work for the talent in presenting talent for work through the use of various tools, including photography, audio/video demonstrations, computers, fax and the Breakdown Service. They must be properly licensed by the state in which they work. Unlike California, there is no talent agency license in Nevada. Talent agents are required to obtain full employment agency licenses before they can represent talent and handle their funds (with the approval of talent or power of attorney). While there is a talent agency association, formed under the guise of self-policing and self-regulation, in reality the group has become a lobbying organization to restrict the entrance of new agencies. The effect of regulations advocated by the association has been the limiting of all but one agency to the greater Las Vegas area in southern Nevada, and of all of the Screen Actors Guild franchised agencies to the lucrative Las Vegas market.
To be profitable in Nevada, talent agencies must operate over a wide range of the industry, from convention hosts to entertainers in hotel-casinos, from cruise boats to the motion picture screen. Modeling and the convention industry are the mainstay of the market. Motion picture, television, commercial and voice talent remain secondary to the bread and butter modeling related income sources. Because of this business model, much of the time modeling talent or mutli-area capable talent often gain the bulk of the agents attention and services, at the expense of less versatile or less marketable local talent. The result has been a reputation in Hollywood that “there is no talent in Las Vegas.”
Fortunately as the market grows and the industry becomes decentralized, things are changing. Still old stereotypes die hard. Therefore an extra effort needs to be made for the trained qualified professional entering the business or the Las Vegas market to get to know the industry, the market and to market themselves, particularly to local agencies.
For acting roles it is best to list with only one SAG franchised agent. By doing so talent is under certain protections and guarantees about the viability of the business (a franchise is not an endorsement, however there are bond and other requirements that help in accessing the agency and agency practices), and you may avoid the often-confusing problem of multiple submissions. When a professional casting director receives submissions from more than one agent for the same actor, it leads to possible charges of favoritism or decisions that should not be theirs to make on who will represent a specific talent. It is often easier just to disregard a specific talent from consideration entirely. Multiple submissions are common in Las Vegas because not all projects go to every agency for submissions, and the volume of acting work available is relatively low for the depth of the talent pool. That means that it can be difficult to earn a significant portion of your living as an actor in Nevada. Exclusive Screen Actors Guild contracts with agents do have methods of cancellation by either party, so the risk of exclusive listing is minimal.
That said, there are those who argue that you should list with every agency in Nevada. Their reasoning is valid, in that many productions, particularly commercials, may go to only one or two agencies seeking talent. If you are not on file at those agencies, you have lost your potential to be considered for that work.
There are both franchised and non-franchised talent agents in Nevada, as well as talent managers. Since licensing laws are different from state to state, it is best for individual talent to investigate the limitations and protections offered by the license and affiliations of any business before doing business. For additional information concerning agents and managers contact the Nevada Film Office, the Better Business Bureau, the Screen Actors Guild, or refer to the Nevada franchised agency section of this document.
Utilizing a Guild franchised agency provides certain protections, including Screen Actors Guild contracts and agreements. Franchised agents may take up to ten percent of income earned through work solicited by the agent for the actor/talent. This may be plus ten percent added to the top, or a ten percent deduction. Be aware that franchised agents cannot take more than ten percent, even on nonunion work through their agency.
The Screen Actors Guild offers no protection and has no jurisdiction over nonunion work or worked one outside of Guild contracts. While exclusivity is encouraged, most talent in Las Vegas lists with every franchised agency in town due to the nature of the market.
Talent may represent themselves, however having the business and legal support of an agent is encouraged. The Screen Actors Guild does not franchise talent managers and has no legal ability to assist in conflicts with managers.
Work as background talent may never be commissioned, as the agent is working for the producer in a casting capacity when they hire background actors/artists/performers.
A complete and frequently updated listing of franchised agencies by geography and/or specialty is available on the Screen Actors Guild Web site at http://www.sag-aftra.org or by contacting the Guild at (702) 737-8818. For a comprehensive list of all talent agencies licensed by the state, regardless of Screen Actors Guild status, please contact the Nevada Motion Picture Division at (702) 486-2711. The Motion Picture Office web site may be found at http://www.nevadafilm.com
The oldest continuously operating talent agency in Nevada, SAG-AFTRA Franchised and still owned by its founder is:
Jaki Baskow, agent
2948 E. Russell Rd.
Las Vegas, NV 89120
(702) 733-7818 / 733-2052 fax
New Talent and Actors register Fridays between 2 and 4. Background talent same registration period. The Baskow Agency is the oldest agency in town if continuous ownership is used as a gage. Jaki Baskow is well known in Los Angeles and the world film community. For short location shoots film, television and commercial producers may select to only view Baskow Agency talent or to give them preference because of their relationship with the owner-agent. Billing itself as an international total event and meeting management as well as a full service talent agency, the Baskow Agency is large, represents a substantial talent pool in terms of numbers (resulting in internal competition for work), is heavily vested in the convention and hospitality industry, events and celebrity management areas, as well as film, television commercial and print. http://www.baskow.com/