In week three of The Business of Representation class, we had a manager from a top management company come talk to our class. He has an amazing client list and really had an interesting perspective on things! Here are some of the things we talked about...
How did you get into management?
Well I actually started out in music management. I got a job in the mail room at Capitol Records...and managed a few people on the side. I managed to get a job at a small management company...it only had 4 people, but then it grew. Its a different path than I'd recommend.
How do managers differ than agents?
Agents can't produce, managers can. Managers are also technically not supposed to find employment, but that is a rule that I break nearly every day. You would be crazy in this day and age not to have both a manager and agent, the more people you have out there pitching for you, the better. Its a tough business and you want to have lots of people in your corner. With Agents, everyone has a speciality, some work in concerts, corporate shows, commercials, literary, TV, movies, etc. Agents specialize. While Managers, on the other hand, they have to know about a lot of different areas. Most of his/her clients do different things...if you can't get David Spade on TV , you try to get him on the road, etc. It takes longer to be a manager and its a harder road because you ahve to learn a lot. The talent will really look to you to explain everything to them and you are often doing multiple things at once.
Who do the studios call first, the Manager or Agent?
It really depends on who they have the best relationship with...but as soon as they call me, I'll immediately call the Agent...and vice versa.
What do you do if the client doesn't agree with you?
My rule of thumb is to always tell the client the truth, first and foremost. Its worth losing a client, to tell the truth. There is a movie coming out soon that I begged my client not to do, but she was friends with the Producer and they convinced her to do it.
How do you find clients?
Well if you want to be a good manager, you really have to be resourceful and go to the places that no every manager is going to. You have to find the really bizarre places. Sometimes kids in the office will wonder why they aren't getting promoted and I'll tell them--its because you need to be out there every single night at the alternative comedy places and clubs, seeking out prospective clients, you need to read the trades, and constantly be searching for the next big talent...you gotta read and go above and beyond the call of duty.
What do you do when you produce a show as a manager?
Well first of all, I will never take a credit on a show just because my client is on the show...I only take a cred if I am actually going to be a hands on producer...this is not the case with all Managers though. When you are working on a show, you really have to pick and choose your battles though, and its tough at times. On one of my client's shows, I constantly had to back my client and sometimes I would back him to his face and then do what was right for the show. My obligation was to his career, first and foremost, and sometimes what is best for the show is a better idea than backing what he wants. Actors often make decisions based on emotions and its your job to see through that and look out for their career.
What advice do you have for someone hoping to go into the representation business?
Well I think the best and smartest way to get into representation, is to get a job at an agency, go into the trainee program. This will teach you what everyone's job is and what people do. You really learn the business and how networks work. If you are smart and resourceful, you build relationships...it really is all about relationships in this business. My value to clients is that Bruckenheimer and Katzenberg will take my calls--this is so important. Or that you have someone in the office who has a relatinoship with that person to call. Its a great idea to intern at UTA, CAA, or Endeavor.