Today I wanted to talk about the difference between an Agent and a Manager, as they can be similar but different, and the line that divides them grows thinner and thinner. I get asked this question a lot and the best way to describe this is:
"Agents are like your Parents and Managers are like your Grandparents" - Terrie Snell.
Meaning, your Parents/Agent will get you out there in the world, tend to you, and work at getting you what will benefit you both. They have many children (clients) and duties, they may not have a lot of time to help root and shape your career but they are constantly looking out for opportunities for you. A Manager/grandparent, will often have a little bit more time on their hands to help shape your journey in this industry, talk to casting to pitch you, sit down and have a glass of wine with you and answer your questions, because they have fewer children (clients) to focus on.
An Agent has a bit more freedom with you as a client. They take 10% of your earnings and can choose to sign you and give you a contract (varying from a year or more), or they can freelance with you while they see if you can actually make them money. This can be great for actor's, this gives you an opportunity to see what this agent can do for you and how well you two can work together, but don't get too comfortable in the freelance world. Something to note, you can have multiple agents. Many clients of mine have a commercial agent, legit agent and a modeling agent, and that's great! Agents vary based on size of their company and can have hundreds of clients.
A Manager is a someone that helps oversee your career. You usually sign a 3 year contract with them (some freelance but be careful with that) they take 15% of your earnings and they will submit you to casting for projects posted on casting sites such a Breakdown or Casting Networks (just like Agents). Managers will advise you on how to run your accounts, keep your calendar close by for bookings and auditions and handle contractual matters when it comes time for it. Managers often have a closer relationship with casting directors and productions companies since they are in constant communication with them. Managers will also help you create your brand, connecting you with people or businesses that make reels, take industry approved head shots, direct you to affordable self tape experts who are working in the industry, they are here to help you make your way. (aka, why I love doing this job)
For those of you who have an agent or manager, I'm sure you are already seeing the overlap here. Some of your Agents may work a little bit more like and Manager and Visa Versa, it really just depends on the person. In the end, we are all here to get each other work!
So which should you get first? Up to you! Feel them out, see who you click with, look to see which friends of yours are being successful with their representation and do your homework. If you were to get a Manager first and wanted an Agent soon after, ask that manager who they work well with and Visa Versa, this way you can be sure that both your Agent and Manager are working well together to get you where you need to be!