What Does an Actor’s Manager Do?

An actor’s manager does so much more than book auditions

So you want to become an actor, but you have no experience and no idea where to start. While you may dream of hitting the big screen or following in the footsteps of your idols, getting to that position can sometimes feel like an impossible dream.

From audition tapes to acting classes, networking to building a portfolio, it can be an incredibly overwhelming undertaking for anyone that is new to the industry. Where do you even start?

Thankfully, that’s where the actor management services of a professional acting agency come into play. Yep, we’re talking about the actor manager, what they bring to the table, and why they are so very important to the success of your career.

What is an actor’s manager?

Let’s start off with the basics.

Some people say that an actor’s manager is different to an acting agent and in some ways we’d agree. We’ve seen the difference described as an actor’s agent is concerned about getting you jobs now whereas an actor’s manager is more focused on your career as a whole. While that may be true for other agencies, it’s not how we see things at Hunter Talent.

For us, there is no distinction. But perhaps that’s because we, as an agency, are in it for the long haul and hope to see our actors grow into their career and develop with Hunter alongside them every step of the way.

With this in mind, and for the purpose of this guide, we’re treating agents and managers as one and the same.

An actor’s manager or acting agent will most likely work for an agency. They will have more than one actor on their books which may seem a little odd at first to an up-and-coming actor, but this is simply the way the industry works. Acting agents and managers promote and represent multiple actors.

What are an actor’s manager’s responsibilities?

Okay, have you heard the old saying ‘how long is a piece of string?’ Seriously though, an actor’s manager wears so many hats that it’s sometimes hard to keep up. But let’s take a look at the key responsibilities of every acting manager on the planet.

They promote you

This is the biggest one for sure. An actor’s manager with solid experience in the field will have dozens of industry contacts that they can call on or that call on them from time to time. It’s this network that is the manager’s secret super power because this allows them to get your acting portfolio or casting profile in front of the people that matter. We’re talking casting directors, producers, directors — all the major decision makers in the film industry.

The value of this network of contacts really can’t be understated. For example, an actor’s manager with a good working relationship with a major casting director may get the inside track on an upcoming production. In fact, the casting director may opt to initially send the work brief to only them before releasing it to other agencies and managers. This means that with the right actor’s manager, you could audition for a role before much of the competition even knows about it. That’s not saying that you will get the role, but it’s certainly a good head start.

They negotiate on your behalf

While minor acting roles and extra work tends to have standard rates of pay across the industry, the pay for bigger roles can vary wildly depending on the production and its budget. As an actor, it’s not your job to understand just how far you can push the client in terms of pay, that’s the job of an actor’s manager. They’ll make sure to negotiate a fair rate of pay based on the work involved and the type of production.

But it’s not just about pay. An actor’s manager can also help you negotiate the terms of your contract making sure that you are treated fairly. They will also ensure that there are no unusual or unreasonable requests or conditions that you might miss in your haste to sign a career-changing contract. This is everything to an actor as it’s incredibly easy to miss out important details in a contract that may come back to haunt you.

They look after all the finer details

It may not seem that way at first, but once your career as an actor gets rolling, it’s a never-ending cycle of auditions, classes, and work. And when you land that first role or find yourself busy preparing for auditions, you’ll have little time for anything else. Looking for opportunities, arranging auditions, collecting all the necessary information for work assignments — these are the finer details that an actor’s manager will look after. They’ll contact you, tell you where to go and what to prepare and you just need to worry about acing that audition or killing that role.

They advise you

This is perhaps where that distinction between actor’s managers and actor’s agents comes into play at other agencies. But as we noted earlier, there’s no such distinction at Hunter Talent. As far as we see it, an actor’s manager or agent should be 100% focused not just on booking you work but also on helping you develop your career. This could be through simple advice on the types of roles that are best suited to your skills or it could be helping you to identify the areas where you need to improve if you want to take your career to the next level.

They are focused on your long-term career success and will do whatever it takes to help you achieve your goals. In many cases, the actor’s manager will do just as much work, if not more, than the actor themselves.

Do You Need a Manager to Be An Actor?

Time for some refreshingly honest truths about actor management. No, you don’t need an actor’s manager to work or succeed as an actor. That said, having one will make life so much easier and help you to fastrack your career trajectory. Imagine having to look for opportunities, arrange auditions, negotiate contracts and work all at the same time. Where would you even find time for attending classes or practising your acting techniques at home?

Then there’s the small matter of your manager’s network of industry contacts. With this, a manager can help you go from someone knocking at the door of the industry, occasionally to be let in as a guest, to someone who’s constantly invited to the party. Sounds wonderful, right?

If you’re looking to improve your reel, improve your aesthetic, improve your reputation, improve your headshots, and improve your prospects, a manager can help you do all that and more. So while you don’t need one, it will certainly help your career if you do have an actor’s manager.

How to Choose an Actor’s Manager

This is where you need to get out the smartphone and start doing some good old fashion research. An actor’s manager should have extensive experience in the industry and if they do, then it should be pretty easy to find out about them and their clients online. But don’t worry if you can’t find too much about them as people tend to leave bad reviews more than they do good reviews. Son in some cases, no news could be good news.

But we’re not going to just assume they are a good choice. You need to jump onto industry forums and find out if anyone has any experience working with this particular actor’s manager. Trust us, someone will have some advice to impart. However, remember that it’s the general consensus you want to pay attention to and not just one or two bad reviews or comments. It’s only when those bad reviews become the norm that it becomes a true red flag.

You should also speak to the manager in person because you can learn a lot from a person based on how they treat you and whether or not they seem to have a genuine interest in your career development. A good actor’s manager will always be able to make time to have a chat with you.

When you do speak with them make sure that you ask them about their success stories and previous clients/productions they have worked with. They should have no trouble at all sharing some of their successes with you although they may not be able to speak too freely about productions that are still ongoing.

An actor’s manager will ask you what your career goals are and how you hope to achieve them. You should always answer honestly, but don’t be afraid to flip the question and ask them how they are going to help you achieve those goals.

Now, a quick word of warning. If an actor’s manager asks for any money up front or if they want to sign you up without actually meeting with you either in person or over the phone, this is a major red flag. This type of manager is clearly trying to beef up their book of talent or worse, take money out of your pocket. They likely won’t represent you in the right way and this could have a lasting impact on your career as an actor.

This is why it’s crucial to do your homework and make the right decision the first time around. And yes, trusting your gut can be a good idea in some cases. If you get a bad feeling about a manager, trust your instincts and walk away. There are plenty of other actor’s managers in the sea!

The right actor management service

Now that you know an actor’s manager does, the next move is yours. And that move could be checking out our actor’s management service or perhaps just getting in touch with Hunter Talent today. You can even apply to join us right now if you feel that you are ready. Whatever your decision, we hope to hear from you soon!



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