1. You only want an agent who is franchised by the actors' unions. This means that they have an official agreement with the union to get you legitimate jobs and to pay you your due. It also means that you can complain to the union if they don't, and the union will help straighten things out. Your agent should be at least franchised with SAG (Screen Actors Guild), and preferably also with AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) and AEA (Actors Equity Association, for theater actors).

2. To get a list of franchised agents, contact your local SAG branch, or visit them on the web, for a complimentary list of franchised agents in your area.

3. Agency lists can also be purchased at Samuel French or from Breakdowns in LA and NYC.

4. If you don't live in a huge city, you can still get an agent in the nearest major city with a SAG branch IF AND ONLY IF you are completely willing and available to commute to that market for auditions with just one day's notice.

5. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Players Directory is a wonderful resource because it is full of actors' headshots with a note as to which agency they are with.

6. Finally, the best way to figure out which agent to target is to network with your flighty actor friends about their representation. Get the scoop on an agency by talking to as many of their clients as possible.

SoYouWanna know more? Check out our full-length article SYW get a talent agent?