Agents and Managers – most people are starting to learn the difference but if you don’t know let me fill you in on the basics.
Firstly some people, at a certain level have both. That can work very well but it’s only for those who have a lot going on including development of their own projects.
A manager helps you fix your work so it gets to a place where its sellable. They can, with an attorney sell your work and they can set up meetings and get your work out there. They cannot by law actually make the deal for you. A manager is a partner, so make sure you are on the same page. They are going to be the one’s who give the final OK to the script and keep track of where it’s going and if they work as I do, they make sure what it’s going to people who are going to respond. No random mass mailings – this takes a plan. A manager has a plan.
Agents tend to be overwhelmed with clients and working for their agencies other client as well. A manager can get on a call with the same producer or executive as an agent and spent 5 minutes talking only about you and why you’re right for their open assignment. An agent has an obligation to pitch for the whole agency. You need a manager if you want to break through the heavily guarded door of entertainment. You need someone who will go to bat for you, who understands you and who believes in your now and for the future.
I make a deal with my client that if I don’t like a script I will not send it out until we have worked together to make it better. That’s where the massive amount of story experience I have comes in handy. I know how to make material better. If we come to a place where you’re anxiety is too much for the wait to improve the script, we need to take a break and see where we’re at. You must have trust with the people who have beholden to take on your work and act on your behalf.
When you have an abundance of material and want to start packaging and selling in many difference mediums and you are READY to do so, bring an agent is is a good job but having a manager is a good start. They give you the attention you need and they understand you. You have someone helping you achieve the best you can instead of an agent who is just waiting for the finished project to go out and sell. A manager works for the glory of the development paying off. I became a manager though I trained in agencies because I could not blindly sell people for a project who I didn’t know or respect. I wanted to be able to go to bat for one of two people and know what I could bring to their table.
It’s a wonderful job, it’s creative and satisfying and it gives one the ability to be really creative as as well as a salesman in a industry that thrives on money only. Without the creativity there is no money to be had.
I am happy to answer any further questions on managers – see who represents who and make a concerted effort to reach them actively sell them on you. Do as they say, you have hired them for a reason It’s a hard world out there – rewrites and criticism and changes you don’t want to make because they take away your favorite part of the scene. Trust your manager. You have a partner out for your own good. Embrace that.