At the end of every year, we put out our top 10 list of top talent agencies. Everyone knows that getting signed by a top talent agency is not easy and worse, new actors don’t even know what are the top talent agencies in charge of this business. During the year we evaluate talent agencies and monitor them based on several criteria, including clients, amount of talent working, administration and influence, etc.
Our Top Talent Agencies for 2017
These talent agencies have Hollywood’s biggest names on their rosters: actors, directors, screenwriters, etc.
1. William Morris Endeavor (WME)
About the agency: The product of a merger between William Morris Agency and Endeavor, WME is not only a top talent agency but also the largest talent agency in the international community. Originally, William Morris Agency and The Endeavor Talent Agency worked separately, when the two entities merged in April of 2009, they became a powerhouse agency. Today, WME represent talent in every arena: movies, TV, music, theatre, digital and publishing, and even the NFL. It occupies a solid first position on my list of top talent agencies for the last few years. WME is strong internationally, which gives it a slight advantage over CAA (listed below).
2. Creative Artists Agency (CAA)
About the agency: Creative Artists Agency, which is known more commonly as CAA. CAA has a roster full of the high-profile actors; CAA is the utmost tier for actors seeking a big break into acting. The agency got its start in 1975 when five agents joined together in Century City. They were without significant funding and relied on folding tables and chairs to win their first clients. Within its first week, CAA sold three packages, one of which was The Jackson Five. As changes occurred and CAA grew even greater, its celebrity clientele expanded too. The agency came to represent nearly 1,500 of the top actors in Hollywood. It’s unlikely that CAA will leave its position as one of top talent agencies anytime soon.
3. International Creative Management (ICM)
About the agency: International Creative Management is known for representing talented comedians and stars of both film and TV. It’s been one of the top talent agencies in for a while. Although it may be better known for foreign films rather than U.S. blockbusters, it’s a firm in competition with CAA and WME for the best of the best. Founded in 1975 when Creative Management Associates and International Famous Agency merged into one single agency, ICM has grown immensely. Just recently, in 2012, the agency gained a new name and a new partnership. It’s been one of the top talent agencies on my list for years. Whether it’s acting, or live performance, or literary publishing, or branded entertainment is what you’re after, ICM deals with these divisions and more.
4. United Talent Agency (UTA)
About the agency: One of Hollywood’s long-lasting and reputable talent agencies, United Talent Agency represents both actors and filmmakers who seek to break into the competitive entertainment scene. Another household name, UTA has been one of top talent agencies on my list for quite some time. If you’re a director, actor, or even producer, you should keep your eye on UTA. As one of the largest agencies the world, UTA hosts over 200 agents who represent talent that ranges from movies and TV to below the line talent and video games. When it first began, UTA formed as the result of a merger between the Bauer-Benedek and Leading Artists Agencies. It appears that mergers are a trend among agencies in Hollywood. Once under the name of a single company, UTA took off and garnered immense success as its first packages included The Simpsons and The Wonder Years. Over the years, UTA has grown into a huge creative powerhouse agency for talent internationally and domestically.
5. Paradigm Talent Agency
About the agency: Paradigm is a top talent agency known for fostering the careers of independent film stars. If starting your career off in a Sundance-based film sounds enticing, one-day Paradigm may be the top talent agency for you. With offices scattered throughout the United States, Paradigm hosts more than 150 different agents who each represent a great variety of talent. They have their toes dipped in movies, television, music and live performance, comedy, endorsements, and many more divisions. In recent years, the agency has expanded significantly into the Electronic Dance Music (EDM) arena by joining forces with the EDM talent agency AM Only. Now they represent stars like Skrillex and David Guetta, further establishing it as one of the top talent agencies. Just two years ago, Paradigm grew its representation and influence within the music industry, even more, when it acquired half of the U.K.’s Coda Music Agency. Today, Paradigm is one of the most varied and versatile agencies in both domestically and internationally.
6. Agency for the Performing Arts (APA)
About the agency: If you wish to do comedy or music on top of your acting career goals, the Agency for the Performing Arts is the perfect fit. Founded in the year 1962 by agents who left MCA, APA has become known for its roster of famous comedians, metal bands like Judas Priest and Poison, and major motion picture actors. APA has been steadily holding its position as one of top talent agencies for a long time. With a roster of divisions that includes every media platform, APA represents talent in film, television, theatre, and even digital publishing, to name a few. If you’re an up and coming star who hopes to turn your dreams into a worldwide lifestyle brand, APA is the perfect agency to keep tabs on. The team is familiar with building and selling brands like the Kardashians, Bombardier, and Marriott, which should tell you something.
7. CK Talent Management (CK)
About the agency: They are newest on our list, CK Talent is known throughout the industry as CK, they are the smaller of the agencies in the top 10, but that’s because of their choosing and does not make them any less powerful than the others on the list. They are supremely successful and featuring a host of famous talent, it’s an agency known for taking young actors and turning them into professional actors. The agency describes itself as an agency with a distinctive niche; one that offers its talent very personalized representation and service. Generally, they’re known as one of the most desired talent agencies to be represented by, and their roster of clients is no less impressive than those on the top five listed above. CK Talent has become known for one quality in particular: excellent service for those it represents. I’ve heard actors say good things about it too. Finally, remember that an agency like this who has leverage in Hollywood but isn’t as big may be the best deal for you. Though be warned, it is the toughest of the agencies on the list to get into, they have a tough evaluation process and some talent that apply are waitlisted or do not even complete the process. The best way in I’ve heard is for new actors in the industry to apply to their developmental program, though this program is not advertised by the agency, I know several talent that have been in the program and are now doing very well.
About the agency: Known throughout Hollywood as TGA and Gersh, The Gersh Agency is a family affair. Supremely successful and featuring a host of famous talent, it’s an agency know for taking young actors and turning them into professional actors. Created by Phil Gersh in 1949, Gersh has grown since its first years in the world of literary and talent representation. Today, the agency boasts more than 100 employees, 60 agents, and an office on each coast, making it yet another strong competitor among all other top talent agencies. Gersh is a top talent agency that is strong enough to be considered one of the powerhouses in Hollywood. However, just because the top five spots have already been taken, I had to place it down here. Generally, they’re known as one of the most desired for talent agencies to be represented by, and their roster of clients is no less impressive than those top five listed above.
9. Abrams Artists Agency (APA)
About the agency: A Hollywood staple since its inception in 1977, Abrams Artist Agency represents actors in every realm of the entertainment industry. They’re good for theater, animated film and television, TV, radio, commercials, and even event hosting. It’s a top talent agency that’s enjoyed a fantastic reputation since its creation. Over its decades working in the entertainment industry, Abrams Artists Agency has made its name by becoming one of the most diversified talent agencies. With so many different divisions, including a literary division and a currently growing and increasingly popular youth division, there’s truly a niche for everyone within Abrams.
10. Don Buchwald & Associates
About the agency: Last one on our list of top talent international agencies, but by no means least is Don Buchwald and Associates group, otherwise known as DBA. Back in 1977 when Don Buchwald, the agent, has left a commercial talent agency called Atlas Talent Agency, he formed his own with five other partners. Their original niche was commercials they are now a very strong theatrical agency representing some big stars in Hollywood. With DBA’s constant signing of bigger names, this agency is quickly climbing up the ranks, and will likely be a lot higher in my 2018’s top talent agencies list update. I’ve seen and heard actors and filmmakers discuss the agency far more often in 2016 than it was back in 2013. So if you get an offer from these guys, do not shy away (does this beg a “duh”?)
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