How To Get A Talent Manager

On November 9th, 1961 a well dressed man went to a night club in Liverpool to watch an unknown band play. The man was immediately struck by their music and humor on stage—and their charm, when he met the young boys shortly after. When he called the bands previous manager, the ex manager said, "I wouldn't touch them with a f***** barge pole." The suited man replied without hesitation, "I think they're tremendous!" Two months later Brian Epstein proposed the idea of managing The Beatles. The rest is history. 

Tiny Tweaks To The Product

The band previously wore jeans and leather jackets, and would smoke and swear on stage. It wasn't until Brian Epstein—concerned with their image—encouraged them to wear the iconic matching suits and haircuts. Sealed with a synchronized bow at the end of their show, The Beatles became a cultural phenomenon. 

                                                                                                                           Image of SUCCESS!

                                                                                                                          Image of SUCCESS!

Epstein had the wherewithal as a manager to assess his talent, and with relatively slight changes, was able to rebrand a product that was both relevant and innovative. Would the Beatles have been as famous without Brian Epstein? Probably, but their manager accelerated their success.  

Develop A Loyal Relationship

 Photo by  rawpixel  on  Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

A manager has the ability to guide actors on their day to day journey and therefore, in many cases, develops a stronger and closer relationship to the client. Unlike an agent—who's legally bound to book jobs for an actor and negotiates contracts— a manager not only assists in getting you work, but adds that extra sauce to elevate your career.  

Build A Strong Foundation

 Photo by  Jeremy Thomas  on  Unsplash

Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash

Managers are a huge help in the beginning of your career especially with head shots, suggesting classes, and even helping you find an agent. As you get further along in your career, a manager can help you choose roles that will increase your visibility and image in the industry.

So, now that you see how important it is to have manager. Lets focus on how to go about obtaining one, or move up to a higher ranking one if you are looking.

Step #1 - Finding A Manager

One of the best ways to find a manager is by referral. This can be a recommendation from a friend, colleague, agent, producer, or casting director. The possibilities are endless, but make sure that the referral comes from a person in good standing with the manager you are seeking. Keep in mind, that you are asking someone to put their reputation on the line for you, so make it a no-brainer by providing for them, high quality material.

If you need to cold email a manager for whatever reason, say you are new to the city and don't know anyone yet, then go for it! If cold emailing a manager is in your gut the best thing is to follow that instinct.

I would check out their client list on IMDb Pro to see if they are a right fit for you. For example, clients age range, roles their clients have booked and in what genres, and if they represent clients like you.

Girl typing.jpg

Secret Tip: It is better for the person who is referring you to send the first email, because the manager already recognizes their name and email address, he/she is more inclined to open and read it.

Step #2 - Setting The meeting

E-mail requests work for most people, especially if talking on the phone isn't your forte. I prefer email because its a way to keep a record of who you have spoken to and how the conversation went.  

Here is my sequence for emailing a person for a referral:  

Subject: Friendly Request

Hi (name),

{get right to the point} I hope you are well! I am looking for new management at the moment and I saw that you were repped by (name of manager) at (name of company). Would it be possible if you could set up some initial contact for me with him/her via email? 

{encourage/simplify} I think it would be much stronger coming from you than if I tried to blind email him/her myself. I will send you a link to my IMDb below that you can pass along to him/her.

{thanks} Let me know what you think. Have an awesome day! 

{sign off} Best, Eddie

{link} http://www.imdb.me/eddieramos

 

Once, that initial email is taken care of, allow your referral person a few days to reply. You can send a follow up email to a close friend or colleague reminding them about your previous request, however if they don't respond to you, its not time to stalk them! Figure out another way to connect to that manager.

Be careful of sending a reminder email to a casting director, or producer. These folks are extremely busy and you may want to take their initial silence as a sign that they don't have the time or don't want to cross that professional line. Just move on.

Hopefully, you receive an email confirming that a referral was sent on your behalf! If you have the right stuff, the manager should reach out separately soon after. 

  THIS IS THE FEELING YOU GET WHEN YOU GET THAT INITIAL RESPONSE!

 THIS IS THE FEELING YOU GET WHEN YOU GET THAT INITIAL RESPONSE!

Here's how you should conduct the email with a manager:

Subject: "Management" or Hello from [Your Name] 

Hi (name),

{thanks} Thanks for getting back to me so quickly! 

{confirm, keep it casual} I am in fact looking for new representation at the moment and would love to meet you and discuss possible partnership over coffee if you'd like? 

{set the right time for you} I am available to meet next Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday at any time.

{fulfill the task they might ask for} Linked below is my Demo Reel, Resume, Clips from (previous show, etc.) and headshot. 

{positive valediction} I look forward to hearing from you soon.

{sign off} All the best, Eddie

{links} 

 

Step #3- The Meeting

Success in a representation meeting does not differ very much from a job interview. You should have a solid foundation of knowledge on the company and it's clients. I can guarantee, that he/she will have done the research to learn more about you, so you should do the same.

Have the materials they requested ready to go. A manager may ask you to perform a monologue if you are new to acting, it tends not to happen as much for established actors. Remember, that if a manager asks you to perform a monologue they are not casting you in a role, but are testing your audition skills.

The best way to go about the monologue is to remember that you are not performing in front of a 500-seat theater. It's recommended to keep the performance grounded and connected. Pick a monologue that best shows who you are. Make sure the monologue is one-minute or less.

Another key to success is preparing responses to expected interview questions. A manager will ask you questions to gain further insight into your past, present, and future career. So make sure to give them answers that reveal as much about your acting ability and business of acting knowledge as possible. Most often it is not the best actor who gets signed, but the person who best responds to the interview questions and proves why they are the best fit for the company... and ultimately the industry!

Instead of thinking you have to "sell yourself" like a sleazy con artist, replace the word "sell" with "present." You are at this meeting to present your potential manager with a product that you have worked hard on and one that has the ability to be a massive success. 

Put yourself in a position of power by using the right body language. Such things as good posture and eye contact conveys to a manager that you are a confident artist. 

"Do you have any questions for us?"

All of the representation meetings I have gone to end with the question above. It's one last chance for you to ask a question about the company or gain some clarity on a topic that was brought up. Here is a list of questions to ask a manager?

  • How many clients do you have and are any clients like me? 
  • How old do you think I can play?
  • What kind of roles do you see me playing?
  • How do you like to communicate with your clients? 
  • Are you bi-coastal?
  • I was really impressed with your client (name). Can you tell me how you guys got him/her to where he/she is today? 
  • How do you feel about me submitting myself for projects?
  • Do you recommend any classes, photographers, agents (if looking)?

Most—if not all of these questions—may be answered throughout your meeting. So it's ok not to ask anything, if you feel like you got all your answers and are happy with how the meeting has gone. This is always going to be a thing that actors will beat themselves up over after a meeting, but trust me IT DOESN'T MATTER.

Contracts are usually left till the end of most manager meetings. However, it is important not to peter out at the end or leave this topic to one or two sentences. Make sure to get a full understanding of the contract if your manager offers one.

  • How much commission will they charge on your projects?
  • How long does the contract last for?
  • If they don't require a contract, have them explain why they don't.
  • Do they have any contracts with any of their clients? 

Wrap up the meeting courteously and with gratitude. The way you entered the meeting, thanking everyone, is how you should exit. Writing thank-you emails and notes shortly after the meeting will certainly give you an edge over the competition.  

 

Conclusion

The word "manager" denotes higher rank in other fields of industry. Yet, in our industry it is crucial for you to understand that you are the CEO of your company. You are the product and a manager is enlisted as a partner to help further your career. Managers do have more knowledge of the inner workings of the industry than the average actor, but you know more about yourself than they do. That is why it is important to take a manager's guidance and work together. It's a partnership.

Sustained practice equals sustained results, therefore I suggest taking as many manager representation meetings as possible before you make a final choice in who you're going to sign with. As long as you remain professional in the process, the experience an actor gains from meeting managers is invaluable. 

Finding a manager takes time and determination. If you remain authentic, focused, and patient, the right manager for you will appear. Make their decision to work with you easy, by being a great and informed actor. Honing your craft, updating your demo reel and headshots, are great ways to staying proactive and sustaining a positive relationship with your new manager. 

"An informed actor, is an empowered actor!" -SAG-AFTRA Motto