You have realized your goals and you want a team to help to get there. Great! So the first question is Talent Agent or a Career Manager? At first these titles seem the same but they aren’t. Each has its own pros and cons.
What is a Talent Agent?
A talent agent is a representative that presents opportunities to their clients. Sounds a awful lot like a manager right? But it isn’t, some persons have both or just a talent agent. The best way to explain these titles is to show the difference.
A talent agent is considered a licenced professional that is recognized by the State. The licencing process is a long procedure that involves providing a $50,000 secured deposit to the state. This guarantees the payments to the clients. Talent agents ought to have different accounts for client and company charges to avoid co-mingling funds. They must hold the license up to date by renewing it annually. Talent managers are also subjected to a full background check. And finally they are also required to register as or under a LLC.
It is to be noted that because the licences are recognized by the state, Talent Agents are allowed to sign and negotiate on behalf of their clients. Thus the law permits no more than a 20% commission on non- union bookings and half of that percentage for SagAftra bookings.
What is A Manager?
A manager is a person in charge of overseeing or handling a part of a brand or related entity. Thus making a manager the opposite of a Talent Agent. A Career Manager CANNOT negotiate deals or contracts on behalf of their clients because they are not legally granted that right. Thus, no new opportunities can be fostered from a relationship with a manager.
Let’s debunk the popular misconception that managers are the brokers of opportunity. Of course an individual that is knowledgeable can provide great career guidance. But having both a talent agent and a manager can drain a considerable amount of your income.
One of the drastic differences is that managers are not overseen be the law. Thus with no regulated code there is no way to determine the legitimacy of a “manager”.
When at crossroads it is always advisable to do your research. Don’t be ashamed to ask for legal documents to confirm the identity of your talent agent or manager. Keep in mind that talent agents are lawful representatives of talents while managers are career guardians. Both knowledgeable but at a cost. Try to find which is right for you at the time in your career.