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Backstage Experts

6 Qualities of a Great Manager

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6 Qualities of a Great Manager

There are lots of managers out there. Some good, some not so good, and some downright great! These are six things that separate the great from the good, the bad, and the ugly.

1. They have a great eye for talent. A great manager recognizes a talented child and sees where they will fit in the industry. They can look at a child and recognize strengths and weaknesses immediately. I can tell in the first 30 seconds if a child has what it takes to make it in this industry and also what will hold them back.

A child may be perfect for voiceovers, but nothing else. One child may have huge print potential, but is shy about speaking. Another child may be amazing, but have a slight speech impediment that will preclude them from obtaining work until it’s corrected. A great manager is not afraid to tell you what you need to succeed, whether it’s speech classes, reducing your regional accent, better eye contact, acting classes, or simply a haircut.

2. They have a great eye for casting. Casting directors go to school to study as well as intern with established casting directors to develop their skills. Managers, by no means, are qualified to think they come close to CDs, but a great manager can look at a character description and know they have the perfect client for the role. 

Good managers will submit all the clients who remotely fit the specs…a great manager will call, email and pitch to the CD that perfect client who fits the role and then get the client in the door. 

3. They’re respected and liked by agents and CDs. Appointment times are precious things. They are in limited supply. Agents and casting directors’ confidence and trust that the manager consistently provides them with the type of quality talent they seek is huge when it comes to providing appointment times.  

Sending a client who is totally wrong for a project risks embarrassing both the client and the manager.  Great managers will tell a CD or an agent when they call that they have no one who is right for that particular role, instead of just sending out a body in order to get the client out on an audition. This shows mutual respect for agents’ and casting directors’ time as well as the manager’s professional commitments. Being honest when you don’t have the right talent will open doors way quicker when you have that perfect someone to send.

4. They show off recent client bookings. You should be able to look at a great manager's website or Facebook page and see recent successes. Great managers show success stories frequently. Great managers are all about driving success for their clients and are excited to show it!  If the last TV show the manager booked was in the 1980s…it may be wise to move on.  

5. They have good connections. Great managers will be able to direct you to the best people for what you need and not have it cost you an arm and a leg. They should have done the research for you and be able to recommend a variety of acting coaches, headshot photographers, vocal coaches, dance choreographers, etc., who are reasonably priced, therefore giving you the biggest bang for your buck.

6. They’re loyal. Great managers stay with you when you aren’t making money for them. This is a business of peaks and valleys. Great managers stick with you through the valleys. They believe in you and know that your time is coming and continue to put in the work until that happens. On the flip side, if your manager exhibits the type of quality listed above, you should extend the same loyalty back to them as we both are sharing this journey together.

Like this advice? Check out more from our Backstage Experts!

Jackie Reid is a manager, owner of L’il Angels Unlimited, and Backstage Expert. For more information, check out Reid’s full bio!

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