A talent consultant works as a go-between, brokering deals between performers and production companies. Along with brokering working contracts with movie, record and television studios, the talent consultant also negotiates a pay agreement for the performer. Typically, the talent consultant provides a photo, called a head shot, or a demo tape to studio representatives in an attempt to get a casting call or audition for clients. The talent consultant maintains contact with the client and the studios and attempts to keep the client's name in front of industry movers and shakers.
In the show business industry, there are different levels of talent consultants to handle performers who have different levels of talent. Identified informally by the letters A, B and C and so forth, the level of talent represented by the corresponding letter begins to drop after the A level. An A-list performer usually is represented by an A-list talent consultant because of the A-list consultant's ties with the highest level of studio owners. The performers at the A-level typically do not need to seek out talent consultants, because consultants will seek out performers at this level. Conversely, C-list and D-list performers often find it difficult to get an appointment with worthy consultants.
The best consultants are familiar with all of the elite people in the specific entertainment industry that is being represented. The key in most entertainment businesses is in knowing the right people. The consultant often charges a fee according to how many people he or she knows in the industry. This practice of hiring the best consultant that the performer can afford places the client's name, photo and demo, if applicable, in front of the most powerful people, bettering the performer's chances of landing a deal.
A well-connected talent consultant makes it a priority to be in attendance at the most important parties, dinners and reviews in order to have the best opportunity to present a client's information to an executive in the business. The motivation for the consultant to work diligently at this task is the fact that most consultants are paid a percentage of the talent's wage on any given project. This also adds to the limit that a consultant will set for an uninteresting client. The client typically will be dropped to a lower-level consultant if the client does not show signs of becoming hired. To be productive and profitable, the talent consultant cannot devote too much time and attention to a client who shows no promise of being used.