Thursday, 13 October 2011

Who Does What? #2: The Manager

The other day I debuted a new feature where I will explain the jobs behind the titles you keep hearing about in showbiz news reports and in the credits of movies and TV shows.  The first time I gave you The Agent, today we will look at the other side of the representation coin.... THE MANAGER.

What is a Manager? you might ask

Well, a manager is sort of, kind of, similar to an agent, but different.

Does that make any sense?

Anyway, let me give you long-winded and yet still very superficial answer.

Both agents and managers exist to represent their client's interests.  Except while agents are responsible for obtaining specific jobs and negotiating specific contracts for their clients, the manager's job is coordinate all aspects of their client's career.  This includes such things as:

  • Finding their client an agent to represent them, or if an agent isn't working out, firing that agent, and getting a new one.
  • Helping their client make contacts within the industry.
  • Helping their clients pick their jobs, if they get past the "beggar" stage of their career. 
  • Creating a plan for their client's career, including goals, and how to reach them.
  • Managers can also get involved as producers of their clients' movie and TV projects, while agents are legally forbidden under California law to do so.

Once all these other things are done, managers can then charge a commission of 15% on everything their client makes, while agents in Hollywood can only legally charge a 10% commission.

My own manager Mr. Fluffles hard at work.
As you can see, managers deal with the "big picture" issues when it comes to their clients and their careers.  This means that managers are much more involved and invested in their client's careers than agents.  

While individual agents may have a lot of clients on their roster at any one time, individual managers tend to have a lot fewer clients on their roster.  On the flip side, clients may have many agents, representing the different aspects of their careers, and will more than likely change them over time, sometimes frequently.  Meanwhile most of these same clients tend to only have one manager, and stay with that one manager over a much longer period of time, sometimes entire careers.

Now there are some things managers are not allowed to do.  They cannot, under California law, negotiate contracts on their client's behalf.  For that they will need to get an agent and/or an entertainment lawyer to do it.

And that's the gist of what Manager's do, so let's call it...


  1. do managers just work with agents? Or do they also work with writers, producers, directors, etc.? Most of what you mentioned here seems to be actor-oriented.

  2. They will work with anyone that needs a manager, and can earn them a decent 15% commission. You don't need to be an actor to need or get a manager.