The debate over managers versus agents is age-old in Hollywood. When you're trying to break-in, how do you choose and do you need both?
When you're working in Hollywood, it can be tough to break in and sustain a career. There are people who get paid to shepherd you along the way. Those people are agents and managers. Each of them takes 10% of your earnings, but what do they actually do? Today we're going to look at what agents and managers do, what makes them different, and what makes them similar.
So let's dive in!
What's an agent?
An agent is someone who belongs to the ATA, and is licensed by the State to represent clients like writers, directors, and actors. To get licensed, an agent has to put up a $50,000 bond to the state guaranteeing payments to clients. You have to keep this certification up to date and they have to keep all their bank accounts separate. They also have to register their business with the State as either a Corporation or an LLC.
Agents are the only people allowed to negotiate or sign a contract for a client to work on a production.
What are the big agencies?
Want to learn how to find an agent? Start by looking where they live. The largest talent agencies are:
- Creative Artists Agency (CAA)
- William Morris Endeavor (WME)
- United Talent Agency (UTA)
- International Creative Management Partners (ICM)
- Agency Of The Performing Arts (APA)
What does an agent do for their client?
Agents submit, pitch, and negotiate work on their clients' behalf for commercials, voiceover, television, film, digital series, and streaming work. Agents usually help set the clients quote, which is the minimum a client can be paid for a certain job. They also read the deal, work through the details, and even have the authority to sign your name on the contract.
Agencies can also be the place where your checks come, so they can garner their commission from your wages.
What is a manager?
Managers are like a paid best friend. They focus more on you, developing your ideas, giving notes, and introducing you to people who they think can work well with you. They are not licensed or regulated by the State. Anyone can open an LLC and call themselves a manager. So when speaking with managers, make sure you do your research.
What are some big management companies?
- Anonymous Content
- Zero Gravity
- Circle of Confusion
- Echo Lake
- Kaplan / Perrone
- The Gotham Group
- Untitled Entertainment
- Management 360
What are managers allowed to do?
So, here's where it gets tricky. If you're a director or actor, managers CANNOT negotiate your deal or sign your contract for you. Since writers are in a dispute with the ATA, the WGA gave managers the power to negotiate recently. Managers offer general career guidance, and advice that helps shape the next steps in your career. Most managers make 10% off of their clients.
What's the difference between managers and agents?
The main difference is who can and cannot negotiate deals, but I'd say the other is that a manager is involved with personal decisions and is a sympathetic ear. Agents are usually all business. And that's okay. You want them out there hustling and negotiating. My manager will listen to a bad day, a bad script idea, and a bad meeting.
So which do I need?
If you're just starting out, I think you probably only need a manager. Agents really only come in handy when you're booking a lot of gigs and want to make the next leap. But that's my view. If you don't think you need advice or development help, having an agent is an excellent way to only pay out 10% and to get your ideas across to the right people.
What's next? Learn how to get an agent!
You’ve just finished your screenplay and now you’re thinking “I need an agent.” We all know that to get big writing assignments in Hollywood you’re going to need an agent. But how can you accomplish this if you’ve never done any writing assignments in general?
You need to learn how to get an agent, and today we’ll show you.
Click the link!