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Did you know that agents used to receive breakdowns in an envelope which was slipped under the door to the office before office hours? Or that the first “agents” were actually actors? These are just a few of the historical facts about the business of show business that you will learn from the second edition of my book, ASK AN AGENT, recently released on in paperback and Kindle format.


A lot has happened in the business since the release of the first edition of ASK AN AGENT a decade ago. Namely the electronic revolution! When I wrote the original agents were just beginning to use email in their daily practice and cell phones were not as smart as they are now, used at that time solely for phone calls. Now the internet and the accompanying devices are a way of life and business.  Submissions, pushes, negotiations are done over the internet and while the majority of projects still use the live audition as the method for selecting actors, the practice of actors self-taping themselves if working out of town or even for some initial auditions is becoming more and more a frequent occurrence. Skype, youtube and vimeo, websites and social media have infiltrated the ways and means of doing business. However, in the midst of all this technological awakening, one thing remains the same—the actor-agent relationship.


When I re-entered show business as an agent a few years ago after a brief year and half stint as a magazine editor, I noticed actors were asking the same questions: Do I need an agent?  How do I get one? What will an agent do for me? When is it time to switch agents?  It felt like ground hog day because these were the same questions actors had asked me when I created and wrote the “Ask an Agent” column for Back Stage in the early 2000’s.  That column had led to the writing of the book ASK AN AGENT. Ten years later seemed a good time for an update and with the help of (Amazon’s self-publishing platform) and I am happy to have produced what I think is an informed, updated and highly relevant second edition of ASK AN AGENT.


It’s the view of the industry that actors never see: a guided tour of how the entertainment industry works and of how the actor-agent partnerships keeps the actor working. Here’s what some industry players have to say about it:


Ask an Agent is a must read for any performer who is ready to take their career seriously. With an intelligent, no nonsense approach, Margaret Emory shares her wisdom, expertise and passion. The reader learns about the inner workings of this business relationship and is guided on how to find and work with an agent. —Liz Ortiz-Mackes, casting director/indie film producer


“In a business of flukes and chances where hardly any rules apply, Margaret Emory has written an extraordinarily concise, organized, and informative book about the insanely difficult relationships between actors, agents, and casting directors. Ask an Agent should be a must read for any actor moving to New York.” —Alan Filderman, acting director.


There was a time before the internet where the goings on of show business were shrouded in mystery. I was an actor going about my business trying to get an agent, trying to get work, trying to get inside the inner circle of professional activity. I crossed over the line and found myself on the inside of that circle in the talent management sector. I enjoy being an agent and having come from the actor’s perspective it has always been my mission to share information which helps an actor’s professional journey. I sincerely hope this second edition of ASK AN AGENT will continue to answer the many questions actors have and provide the knowledge they need to work with and within the system for making show business.

Margaret Emory is an agent at SW ARTISTS in New York City and the author of the 2nd Edition of ASK AN AGENT, available at


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