Booking agents work in the entertainment industry, discovering talent and booking groups or bands for venues or events. To become a booking agent, there is no required set of college courses or career path. Booking agents must be enthusiastic, driven, and self-starters. They should be passionate about the entertainment industry and willing to navigate their own way through it.
To become a booking agent, an individual can either work at a booking agency or start their own. To start a new agency, first review state labor laws for employment agencies. The booking agency must be registered with the Department of the Treasury, and a tax identification number must be obtained from the Internal Revenue Service. The business name should be published in a newspaper for four weeks in a row to get the word out. The person who establishes a booking agency must go to court with proof of publication, and both publishing and court fees must be paid.
To become a booking agent by starting a new establishment, it’s important to find an appropriate venue, such as a bar, nightclub, theater or hall. Look for information on the location online, and contact the owner, stating that you would like to work with their venue for your booking agency. Finding a band is the next step, and a booking agent should have about ten bands that he or she regularly works with. Again, the best way to find these is by researching on the internet; check out all their websites and social networking sites. Finally, promote the show either on your own or with a public relations group by using fliers, advertisements, and anything else you can think of.
For those who wish to become a booking agent at an already established practice, a good way to start is by interning with a talent agency to gain experience booking small talent, interviewing actors and managing small tasks around the agency. In addition to gaining valuable experience and building a contact base, booking agent jobs may become available at this location. The intern can also work as a promoter to build up actors and entertainers by taking care of public relations duties. This will give the person wishing to become a booking agent greater familiarity with certain markets or demographics.
Before a person can become a booking agent, he or she needs a license, which can be obtained from the Labor Department. The procedure and paperwork involved with this license differs by state. Once a person is licensed to hold a booking agent job, it’s a good idea to join a group such as the Association of Talent Agents (ATA), an organization comprised of current and former booking agents that offers valuable resources. The booking agent can then begin to build a client list by holding casting calls, placing an ad in an industry magazine or using referrals. A booking agent salary is based on commission, and most agents get between 10 and 20 percent of the talent’s earnings.