Choosing The Right One
The right Agent can be an actor’s greatest champion, strongest supporter, and wisest counsel. The SAG-AFTRA Union “franchises” Talent Agents throughout the United States. A franchised Agent is someone who has entered into an agreement with the Union setting forth certain terms and conditions of a SAG member’s relationship with an Agent.
So when seeking an “Agent,” it’s ideal to look for a “SAG Franchised Agent.”
Although Agents primarily seek out work opportunities for actors, they often do much more. The right Agent becomes a friend and partner in nurturing a successful career. So choose wisely before signing with one.
Many performers also work with managers. The Manager’s main function is to provide guidance. Some Managers will also help their clients get auditions.
Managers are neither franchised nor regulated by the Union. And they are rarely regulated by state law.
While an Agent works for a Talent Agency that is licensed by the state, Managers do not have to be employed by a management company. They can work on their own.
Here is a basic breakdown of the difference between an agent and a manager:
- Should be franchised under the SAG franchised agency agreement
- Generally licensed by the state as employment agencies
- Primarily focused on obtaining employment and negotiating contracts.
- May have a small or large number of clients
- Generally limited to charging a 10% commission
- An agency must work out of an office.
- Not licensed by the State, or franchised by the Unions.
- May counsel, advise and provide general career direction.
- May assist an agent in securing employment for their clients (In CA, they are not permitted to obtain employment without working with a licensed agent).
- Generally has fewer clients than an agent.
- Generally charges 10-15%.
- A manager can work from anywhere, including the local Starbucks.
Since they are not franchised, and often unregulated, it’s important to fully understand the terms and conditions of the Manager relationship. You should always have an attorney review a management contract before signing.
~ Backstage Advice / SAG-AFTRA