Clients recently booked Two and a Half Men, Cold Case, Big Love
It is imperative! There is no possible way I could represent actors I didn't care about deeply, from an artistic love of their craft to who they are as people. The stronger the attraction I have to the person, the more I find myself working for that person. The manager-client relationship is very personal and is built on trust and faith. That trust and faith can only be achieved by getting to know one another and finding out we like each other. Over time, the care and attention deepen and solid relationships are formed. It's at that point when true partnership is achieved.
So what makes a likable person? It isn't simply the one who brings me baked goods or compliments my shirt. Actors have to start with themselves first; you have to be happy and healthy in your own life long before you sit in my office. This is about living a healthy lifestyle, enjoying hobbies, establishing solid friendships, having many cultural and community interests. It's about creating a well-rounded, likable person.
I want so much for my clients, but my desire alone can't generate success for an actor. My long hours, endless meetings, multiple pitches, and constant networking are what create opportunities for my clients' success. My job is hard. My job is stressful. My job doesn't end at 6:30 p.m. on a Friday. I work as hard as I do because I love to do what I do for the people I choose to do it for. I get to choose my clients (and vice versa), and that makes my job cool. Of course I'm going to choose people I like. That likability transcends my relationship with the client and aids in getting my clients jobs. I hear often from a CD that my clients are "a pleasure to work with, enjoyable, and easygoing on set." Talent got my client the job; likability will get them rehired.
I am not best friends with all my clients. It would be impossible and, quite frankly, impractical. But I can honestly say I'm proud that my list looks the way it does. In the end, my reputation is reflected in the clients I represent.
Seth Greenky, Green Key Management, New York
Clients recently booked Gossip Girl, Mad Men, Observe and Report
Some people love going to work each day. Others loathe it. Usually I love it. I better love it, because I'm usually working, or available, 14 hours a day. Emails never stop.
In most employment situations, a good working environment makes your job so much nicer. A lot of that has to do with your co-workers or your employer. Do they make the day more pleasant and give you a sense of being part of a team? Or do you have a boss who makes you cringe? Since a personal manager works for the client, you as the artist are, in effect, the boss. And a good boss knows that an office runs best when the boss is respected by his charges. Now, in an office environment, not everyone gets along with all their co-workers all the time. You have lots of intraoffice politics and such. But with actors, managers, and agents, there are very few people you have to interact with on a frequent basis. The dynamic is smaller and more within your control. It stands to reason that if you as the boss are difficult, temperamental, unappreciative, or unreliable, you may not get the most out of your working situation. If you have a personal manager, why wouldn't you want that person, whom you hired, to want to do the best for you, to go the extra mile?
I've found myself in situations where I'd prefer to work for someone who's less talented but who works as hard as I do and makes the effort to improve and have a great attitude than someone who has loads of talent and a bad attitude. It seems that many of the artists with the longest careers are genuinely nice people with a good attitude who've also stuck by those who stuck with them when things were tough. Mutual respect leads more readily to success.
Michael Katz, Michael Katz Management, New York
Clients recently booked Mamma Mia! on Broadway, Law & Order, As the World Turns
It's very important. As a boutique management company, I must truly love the talent I represent. To develop a close and effective professional working relationship, we must operate as a team. We must like each other; we must believe in each other; we must trust each other. If we like each other, then the work is actually fun. If we like each other, then nurturing and developing my clients as actors and counseling them as professional artists is easier. As colleagues, creative and career growth flourishes in an environment of friendliness and likability.
My agents, casting directors, and producers will perceive the likable, talented actor as more open to taking direction and therefore more bookable. Because work begets work, long-term marketability generally increases with both great talent and warm, positive qualities. The buyers will continue to trust my taste if they also both love the actor's talent and like him or her as a person, someone they can enjoy working with. Being labeled "difficult" by the marketplace can sabotage an actor's career. Therefore, I firmly believe that more often than not, working actors are not only the most talented and directable, but also the most likable.