For actors, this is an easy question to answer. After you get a few projects on your own, you get an agent. Once you start booking with an agent, you start looking for a manager. Managers have to put in a lot of time and effort with each client so a REPUTABLE manager will not take someone on unless the talent is already making money. I will repeat this: a REPUTABLE manager will not take someone on unless the talent is already making money. Every once in a while, if the person has a very specific look or special talent, a manager will take them on because of their niche and the prospects of making a profit off of it.
For singers and musicians, it is a little bit different. Many times early in a singers career they need to have someone manage all the moving parts of tours, contracts, shows. There are no agents to do this like actors have. But still, a REPUTABLE manager will not take someone unless the talent is already making money. If you don’t have a huge social media following and have at least 50 people showing up to your concerts and you get approached by a manager, chances are they will get you for a lot of money in the long run.
They will tell you how wonderful you are but you need new pictures, or you should get a new video or produce new music. They may even get you some gigs that are pay to play. You can bet the farm that this “manager” is managing to get a kickback on all the dough you’re shelling out.
In my 25 years of teaching, keeping the sharks away from my clients has been the hardest part of my job. Unfortunately, these type of people tend to be master manipulators and prey on the dreams of performers and their families. My former business partner, a retired FBI agent in charge of political and mafia corruption once told me show business was absolutely dirtiest business he’d ever been involved in.
How do you know who’s safe? How do you know when you’re ready?
Once your making a bit of cash and are ready to share the 15 to 20% the manager takes for his or her services, there are several websites and resources you can go to to find a reputable one. Once you find someone you’re interested in, then you need to check out their references. Don’t base your decision on a website or who they say they’ve worked with. Anyone can make a great website nowadays.
When you do find the right manager, that relationship will become one of the most important connections in your career and will hopefully take you to the next level.
Hope this helped. In my next blog post, I’ll talk about the different types of agents and managers.