Chicago is still one of the most prominent live theater destinations in the country. But nowadays, business is also booming on the television, film, and commercial front. As a result, agencies have increased to keep up with the production in the Windy City. Continue reading for a roundup of the must-know agencies in the Chicago area, from boutique companies to historic mainstays.
Big Mouth Talent
With a name like Big Mouth Talent, you better have the goods—and this company sure does. Big Mouth Talent is one of Chicago’s premier agencies. As a member of the Association of Talent Agents, Big Mouth’s full service agency has been operating out of the Windy City for more than 20 years. Its clients have appeared on TV series such as “Chicago Fire” and “Shameless,” in films such as Richard Linklater’s “Last Flag Flying,” and as part of commercial, print, and voiceover ad campaigns. Talent ages four and up can find submission instructions on the Big Mouth website.
Shirley Hamilton Talent
Operating in Chicago since 1962, Shirley Hamilton Talent is renowned across the country, especially in the Midwest. SHT exclusively represents experienced actors and models (this is not the agency for the actor with no credits!), and has clients working in television, film, commercials, theater, voiceover, print ads, industrials, live events, and more. Franchised by both SAG-AFTRA and Actors’ Equity Association, SHT provides talent with all the support and resources they need to stay booked and busy. Submissions can be made via email or traditional mail. Read the company’s submission guidelines carefully, as they differ for actors, models, voiceover talent, and children under four.
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Chicago Talent Network
Chicago Talent Network is the city’s leading agency for nonunion actors. Representing talent across acting, modeling, voiceover, print, trade shows, and other live events, CTN takes pride in its deep and individual knowledge of its roster. The agency also offers a substantial well of in-house resources for its talent, including a network of headshot photographers, acting classes, videographers, financial advisors, and more. You can submit directly to CTN through its website or via email.
Gray Talent Group
Though it now has additional offices in Los Angeles and New York, Gray Talent Group was established in Chicago in 2008. The agency’s roots in the city remain deep and strong. Since the very beginning, Gray has operated along a simple philosophy: Work tirelessly on behalf of a select group of actors to help take them to the next level of their careers. The proof is in the pudding—Gray now represents talent working in television, film, theater, and commercials. Interested talent can submit via regular mail or electronically through the GTG website. The agency notes that “we first look at the audition video and/or demo reel before résumé,” so make sure your audition skills and demo reel are up to snuff.
Lily Liu, founder of Chicago-based agency Lily’s Talent, wants you to know right off the bat: This is not your typical talent agency. Lily’s Talent puts professional care on the same level of personal care when it comes to talent, and will always put their needs first. Lily’s Talent has also established a deep networking system across the region and country with both agencies and clients. Franchised by SAG-AFTRA, Equity, and the Writers Guild of America, Lily’s Talent is also a certified Minority Business Enterprise, staffed with devoted agents. Interested talent can submit directly through the Lily’s Talent website.
With offices in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago, Stewart Talent is one of the nation's leading agencies, having established itself in all four of the country’s biggest talent markets. Representing talent in every facet of the industry—television, film, theater, voiceover, commercials, print ads, and industrials, as well as theater directors and stylists—Stewart has been able to grow consistently since its founding more than 35 years ago. Always working to recognize the individual talent’s needs, Stewart is no one-size-fits-all approach. You can submit via email or regular mail.
With offices now in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, and Chicago, BMG Talent sets itself apart thanks to its hyper-specific talent breakdowns. Its talent market is first categorized by region, and then subcategorized further: by women, men, nonbinary, boys, girls, and voiceover, and then by union or nonunion. Founded in 2006, BMG has become a power player across the country in film, television, theater, and voiceover thanks to its commitment to innovation and an individualized approach to all talent. BMG is a member of both ATA and a SAG-AFTRA affiliate, and it has cultivated relationships with casting and producing teams across the country. You can submit using the site’s extensive form.