OK you just moved to L.A. with dreams of becoming the next Brad or Angelina. There's just one problem—you don't have an agent. So now what do you do? For Hollywood newbies, attracting an agent can be a daunting process. Most agencies won't reveal whom they represent, and if they do, the clientele is subject to change without notice. The "Big Four" only sign those who've been referred by an industry insider, existing client or mutual friend. If a young hopeful (wink, wink) dreams of being repped by one of these agencies, there are a few essential steps to take: fortify the resume, get headshots, and network like your life depends on it. Here's a primer on the biggies, listed in alphabetical order.

 

Agency for the Performing Arts (APA): These cats are recognized for their stable of sought-after comedians and their metal division, which includes Judas Priest and Poison.
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Creative Artists Agency (CAA): The most prestigious agencies, like CAA, negotiate the highest-profile roles for the most bank. If you're not in Us Weekly this week and you haven't won an Oscar in the past few years, best start at a humbler agency and work your way up.
Related link: http://www.la.com/ci_11499323

 

Diverse Talent Group: These primetime bookers negotiate TV talent for a gamut of shows, while also dealing with lesser-known actors, and models.
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The Gersh Agency: The Gersh Agency, dubbed Gersh or simply TGA, is the only mega-successful family-run agency. They fast-forward young actors' careers, while also taking care of the older clients that are in it for the long haul.
Related link: http://www.la.com/ci_11499398

 

International Creative Management (ICM): This agency has a great reputation for selling foreign films and television shows, and is known for a galvanizing comedy division. ICM's talent roster is on par with that of CAA and WME.
Related link: http://www.la.com/ci_11516510

 

Osbrink Agency: This is a tight-knit, smaller agency that specializes in child actors. It was created by a former stage mom, Cindy Osbrink. Today it represents the most bankable tweens, who appear a range of projects, from controversial Sundance films to hit TV series.
Related link: http://www.la.com/ci_11517817

 

Paradigm: This agency emphasizes representation with a familial feel, operating out of swank Beverly Hills headquarters where indie film stars flock.
Related link: http://www.la.com/ci_11498751 

 

United Talent Agency (UTA): In addtiona to a plum group of actors, UTA represents today's hottest innovative young filmmakers. Industry folk turn to UTA for the latest directors on the rise.
Related link: http://www.la.com/ci_11502680

 

WME Entertainment: In 2009 Endeavor announced its merger with the William Morris Agency, thus creating the largest talent agency in the world, now known as WME Entertainment. With a client roster that includes Clint Eastwood, John Travolta, and the Rolling Stones, household names need only apply.
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