The entertainment manager or ‘talent agent’ is a figure that comes with many different stereotypes and preconceptions. We have become used to seeing this role played out onscreen, in movies and television shows, so we all think that we know what it entails. In reality, however, the job is less about swagger and more about hard graft.
It takes a very special person to be a successful entertainment manager. This individual needs to be a mentor and a guide. They need to be able to make quick decisions based on an intimate knowledge of their client and their needs. To be a skilled entertainment manager, you have to be thick skinned, cool under pressure, and happy to take a background role.
If an entertainment manager is not honest with clients, booking jobs becomes difficult for both parties. While it can be tough to hear that you are not right for a role, an agent needs to be willing to make decisions which best serve the interests of clients. If their accent is too strong for speaking parts, a manager may need to recommend elocution lessons. If a client could be more bookable with a haircut, they need to be able to express this is a tactful way.
Ultimately, casting is the responsibility of casting directors. However, they rely on entertainment managers for advice and referrals. A truly skilled entertainment manager is not afraid to take a proactive approach and push for the inclusion of clients that they know are ideal for certain jobs. They are willing to call, email, and promote these clients until they are satisfied that they have been given a fair shot.
Whether they are filling roles in a movie, a dance performance, or a choir, casting directors put their faith in the discretion of entertainment managers. They have to be able to trust that these experts won’t make poor choices simply to appease clients. Casting appointments are limited and they can only run smoothly if suitable talent is selected. A good entertainment manager is trusted and respected by casting directors.
The best entertainment managers are able to direct clients towards acting and voice coaches, headshot photographers, choreographers, and more, because they have taken the time to build up a network of great connections. They know which experts are perfect for which clients and they can source services for all kinds of budget. They are able to make high quality choices, on behalf of clients, because they know the industry inside out.
by: Antony Hampel