Best and Worst Gifts for Agents and Casting Directors

Just like that, December rolled around and it’s time to send off some holiday gifts to your industry contacts. Of course, we all want to acknowledge our hard-working agents and managers, and who could forget about the casting directors who called you in over and over again this year?

I get this question from actors all the time: what is an appropriate gift for my agent/manager/publicist/that awesome CD who booked my first co-star role?

So, I decided to go directly to the source and ask some of my industry contacts what they enjoy receiving as gifts during the holidays. Check out their comments below for some great ideas!

The Agent Says…. 

“God bless the actors, they always bring us such lovely gifts of cupcakes and cookies and popcorn, etc. But they ALL bring us that stuff! So if 30 actors bring us a dozen cupcakes for the 5 people who work in our office… we’re in trouble. We hate seeing all those goodies go to waste!”


This agent suggested that actors consider bringing in sustainable, healthy products that won’t go to waste.

My Tip for Agent Gifts… 

Every agency is different, but I’ve heard across the board that sweets for the holidays aren’t really the best gifts. If you’re close with your agent, think about something personal you can get him or her that would really mean something and make an impression.

For some more creative ideas, check out Secret Agent Man’s 2012 column in Backstage Magazine (roller derby tickets, anyone?):

The Casting Office Says…

“Everyone is aware that a casting office is made up of more than one person, right? My advice is to treat the office like they are individuals, not a unit; give them gifts that can be split up! It’s terrible to get one bottle of wine as a thank you. The sentiment is WONDERFUL, don’t get me wrong, but what? We’re supposed to have a bloodsport trying to claim it for ourselves? Or drink it during lunch? Individual bags of cookies, boxes of candy, individual coffee cards, etc. Or just many bottles of wine.”

This casting associate added, “At our base levels we are all crack fiends and throwing one tiny bag of crack at a pack of us will NEVER. END. WELL.”

My Tip for Casting Office Gifts… 

If you booked this year or even got called in several times, why not send something celebratory? I love mini bottles of Prosecco (check them out here.) Or get them on sale at Target!  Put a big bow on each bottle and voila! Now you have “mini bottles of wine”! (Get it?)

The Manager Says… 

“Alcohol, pens and notepads. Maybe that’s just me – I’m stupidly obsessed with office supplies. I also like weird, quirky things; past favorites include panda slippers and personalized coffee mugs filled with little trinkets. Treats are obvious and always appreciated but we get SO much of it that we have to give most of it away.”

My Tips for Managers… 

If you know your manager well, what about a beautiful leather journal or notebook that he or she can enjoy writing in? At least this is a gift they could re-gift if they didn’t really like it (but hopefully they’ll love it!).

My favorite is The Five Minute Journal.

Remember, gifts are meant to come from the heart. If they don’t, what’s the point? Have fun selecting your gifts and sharing the season with your team. What gifts are you giving this season?

Drop a comment in the area below to add your ideas!

Happy Holidays,

Courtney Rioux

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