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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Researching Managers

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I received an email from a concerned parent about whether to take a meeting with a manager who had mixed reviews on some of the industry message boards:

Hello! I have been reading your messages on Backstage.com and the whole thing about JTG/Midwest.

My daughter is 16 years old and has submitted to Midwest NYC with a video, resume, and headshot, and now [they have] invited us to the office this coming Saturday saying she would like to sign my daughter. My daughter is working with an agency, but a very small one and we feel as if a manager could really help take things to the next level. After reading all the posts and opinions on Midwest on Backstage, I am confused? Should we go ahead and take my daughter in to there office just to see what happens? Or should we stay away?

What would be your best advice? If you could help me out that would be great. Thanks!

Hi, there. Thank you so much for your email, and I want to applaud you for doing your research. I think it couldn't hurt to see what happens. This management company seems to be legitimate, though they are brand new to the NYC market as of late 2008 or 2009. My concern is that a new management company may not have the contacts/reputation to make the impact you are looking for.

Keep in mind, managers advise and coach clients on their careers, and introduce their clients to other folks in the industry (agents, casting directors, producers.) But legitimate managers do NOT schedule auditions, not do they negotiate contracts when an actor books a role. According to the Talent Managers Association,

"A manager, by nature, does not seek employment for a client, but rather council, market and network on their behalf making it easier for the agent to secure employment. A client, manager and agent should function as a team."

Often, new management companies get clients by promising that the manager will "get actors work." But since this is not the manager's job, you'll want to take a look at what exactly it is that you want from a relationship with a manager before you sign any contracts. 

Again, there is no harm in going to the meeting and seeing what they are all about. Just don't sign anything on the premises- take the paperwork home before signing. If you have any friends or colleagues in the industry, I would also suggest showing them the contract and getting their feedback. You could also run it by a contract or entertainment attorney.

Hope this helps- good luck with the meeting!


Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. To learn more, check out http://www.theactorsenterprise.org.

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