When other industry sources make lists of notable talent agencies, giants such as William Morris Endeavor and Creative Artists Agency inevitably rise to the top. But unless you’re Meryl Streep, an acting agency of that stature is likely out of reach at this point in your career. So, we looked at nearly 60 up-and-coming stars just breaking out in Hollywood (and some major players) and took stock of their initial acting agencies—plus who currently represents them—to curate the perfect list for working actors hoping to take that next step.
Combined with first-person accounts from actors on the rosters in question, we got the real deal on what it’s like to be represented by these L.A. acting agencies. These are the folks who have worked with some big-name clients but are still available enough to take a chance on a mid-career actor with several notable roles under their belt. From A3 to Hyperion, these are the top nine acting agencies in Los Angeles for working actors.
The breakdown: With a diverse roster of talent ranging in age and career status, A3 Artists Agency is an excellent resource for actors who already have a solid résumé.
A3 (previously Abrams Artists Agency) offers representation for film and TV, commercial, voiceover, digital media, alternative programming, literary, and theater. Its approach to signing talent follows a more relaxed and collaborative process, implementing the motto “No boardroom necessary.” Notable actors represented at A3 include Iain Armitage (“Young Sheldon,” “Big Little Lies,” represented by Jamie Pillet), Jaren Lewison (“Never Have I Ever,” also represented by Pillet), Peter Facinelli (“Twilight,” “Nurse Jackie,” represented by Todd Eisner), Beverly D’Angelo (“National Lampoon’s Vacation,” “American History X,” represented by Fatmata Kamara), and Robin Lord Taylor (“Gotham,” “John Wick: Chapter 4”).
On what an actor can expect from being represented by an A3 agent, executive Adam Bold told Variety: “We will always be on the cutting edge of what will be most productive for our clients today, as well as whatever comes next.” Actor Milauna Jackson (“How to Get Away With Murder,” “Animal Kingdom,” represented by Sharon Paz) tells us that A3 has helped forge her career in entertainment on her own terms. “Whenever I’m presented with auditions or offers, they respect my decision to say yea or nay no matter the opportunity,” she says. “They’ve been supportive team players.”
A good way to get someone’s attention at the agency is to invite them to a performance, says agent Richard Fisher. It doesn’t have to be at a major theater, but a postcard with a thoughtful invite is a good way to get an agent through the door to see your work.
“I just want somebody to come in and be themselves,” he says. “I don’t really want to sit down with somebody that, you know, the lights come on and they just start performing and they’re not who you’d hope they would be. So just be yourself and be natural.”
The breakdown: Buchwald was founded by an actor, so its ethos is based on catering to the everyday working actor while still wielding enough power to broker some of Hollywood’s biggest deals.
An agency with name recognition, Buchwald offers representation for commercial, print, digital and branded lifestyle, film, TV, theater, literary, social media influencers, sports, and voiceover. The agency represents stalwart Hollywood names including Blythe Danner, and it has helped grow the careers of O-T Fagbenle (“The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Black Widow,” represented by Julia Buchwald), Shanola Hampton (“Shameless,” represented by Ryan Martin), Rachel Nichols (“Continuum,” represented by Grace Stuart), and Kimiko Glenn (“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” “Orange Is the New Black,” represented by Leslie Zaslower).
Founder Don Buchwald and daughter Julia have been working to expand agency representation to include newer forms of media.
The breakdown: For actors looking to harness the power of a team of agents instead of a single agent to collaborate with, CESD has a lot to offer.
Actor Claudia Gilani told us that she feels supported by her team at CESD, where actors are represented by multiple agents who work together to pitch their clients, as opposed to having individuals focusing on their own rosters. It offers representation for on-camera and voiceover commercials, theatrical, film and TV, digital, print and fashion, comedy, dance, and digital.
CESD was the first talent agency Jennifer Lawrence signed with before moving on to CAA, and the agency is currently representing young powerhouses such as Ella Jay Basco (“Birds of Prey,” “Grey’s Anatomy”), Cara Buono (“Stranger Things,” “Mad Men”), and Deborah Ayorinde (“Them,” “Harriet”).
Boasting an impressive roster of celebrity voiceover talent ranging from Darren Criss to Jennifer Grey, CESD also presents a fantastic opportunity for mid-career VO actors to expand their presence in the industry.
The breakdown: If you care about having a “name” agency, Gersh is an established and trusted agency known for connecting talent to powerful parts.
A few stars represented here are Haley Lu Richardson (“Five Feet Apart,” “The White Lotus,” represented by David DeCamillo), Winona Ryder (“Stranger Things,” represented by Daisy Wu), Francesca Reale (“Stranger Things,” “Do Revenge,” represented by Mark Herzberg), and Elizabeth Olsen (“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Love & Death,” represented by Rhonda Price).
Though signing with Gersh represents a major step in a working actor’s career, the agency is known for repping actors before they’re household names. If you’re a Zazie Beetz before “Atlanta” or a Nico Tortorella before “Younger” (i.e., an actor familiar with the business with solid professional connections and demonstrable talent), Gersh may be the agency for you.
The breakdown: The House of Representatives (HoR) is “boutique-y” in spirit but has gained major traction in the industry based on its growing, successful clientele.
This agency is a great option for working actors interested in representation for commercial, digital, and branded content. Its smaller size affords a more hands-on approach to actor representation—and HoR also represents directors and editors, meaning better chances of landing roles and getting other opportunities.
Clients include Jason James Richter (“The Little Things,” “Last Call”), Brynn Thayer (“Blue Jasmine,” “Ray Donovan”), LauraLee Bell (“Family Dinner,” “The Young and the Restless”), and Michael Rhys Kan (“Sorry to Bother You,” “Blindspotting”), all represented by Denny Sevier.
The breakdown: Fresh-faced actors who have tallied some impressive credits gravitate toward Hyperion.
Hyperion is a fantastic stepping stone for the working actor on their way to exploring their career options, as it specializes in discovering and fostering talent, as evidenced by the actors it represents. Formed in 2017 by veteran talent agent Ryan Bartlett, Hyperion is a small but prestigious agency offering clients representation for film, television, and commercial work. Shailene Woodley (“Big Little Lies,” “Divergent”) followed Bartlett to Hyperion after his exit from UTA. A former colleague described Bartlett as “one of the hardest working and most personable agents I’ve had the pleasure of working with—a high-end boutique agency is a breath of fresh air!” Hyperion’s president of branding, Anthony Hillsburg, called Bartlett “an innovative leader” who shares a similar passion for “strategically servicing talent.”
Hyperion currently represents Natalia Cordova-Buckley (“The Mosquito Coast,” “Coco,” represented by Austin Leshay), Ashton Sanders (“Moonlight,” “Captive State,” also represented by Leshay), and Xochitl Gomez (“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” “The Baby-Sitters Club”), to name a few.
The breakdown: With a growing roster of big-name clients, Innovative has lived at the top of the agency list for decades, yet it remains intimate enough for working actors to access.
Innovative Artists is a full-service, trusted agency offering representation for film, television, literary, voiceover and commercial, broadcast and hosting, and alternative and unscripted. It handles representation for Ashleigh Murray (“Riverdale,” “Katy Keene,” represented by Jaime Misher), Britt Robertson (“Girlboss,” “About Fate,” represented by Abby Bluestone), and Amanda Seyfried, as well as commercial work for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” Emmy winner Rachel Brosnahan. Jim Parsons and Ashton Kutcher were repped by Innovative before moving on to CAA.
The breakdown: For the working actor looking for representation for the first time, Osbrink offers an established list of agents who specialize in discovering fresh talent.
The Osbrink Agency offers film, television, commercial, voiceover, and print representation. Though technically considered a boutique agency, Osbrink is a major industry player that specializes in young performer talent, having discovered and represented both Elle and Dakota Fanning before they moved on to bigger agencies. Other clients include Lisseth Chavez (“Chicago P.D.,” “The Rookie”), Rory Culkin (“Under the Banner of Heaven,” “The Expecting”), and Elisha Williams (“The Wonder Years”).
The breakdown: While it works with actors of all ages, TalentWorks might be an especially good fit for a child actor with a few notable credits on their résumé.
The agency offers representation for film, television, theater, alternative, and literary. “We were the first agency to establish a youth division within an adult agency,” founder Harry Gold said of the agency’s thriving youth division. “James Franco, Zac Efron, Leonardo DiCaprio, Hilary Swank, and countless other young talented actors began their careers at my agency.”
Max Greenfield (“New Girl”) and Constance Wu (“Crazy Rich Asians”) were repped by TalentWorks before moving on to WME. Current stars represented here are Holly Curran (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” represented by August Kammer), Betsy Brandt (“Breaking Bad,” represented by Brandy Gold), Michael Gladis (“Mad Men,” “Penny Dreadful: City of Angels,” also represented by Kammer), and Adina Porter (“American Horror Story,” “True Blood,” represented by Sue Wohl).