What Can a Manager Do for You in New York?

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Kim Pedell
Brilliant Talent Management, New York, and Sherman Oaks, Calif.

In New York, talent can freelance with multiple agents, theoretically allowing for more casting opportunities. The manager's role in New York is very diverse. On any given day, managers are pitching to casting, answering client questions, consulting with agents on casting opportunities, and grooming or supporting their talent. Strong and well-connected managers help to develop actors by guiding them not only to appropriate agents but also coaches, classes, casting workshops, photographers, and all the educational resources that are available in New York.

Often actors benefit from a manager early on in their careers and then again when they are seeking to transition to the next level. On both coasts, we represent youth who are at various stages of development. Aside from the fact that New York operates primarily by phone, fax, and hard-copy submissions, and L.A. is mainly electronic system–based, there are no real differences in day-to-day operations. Strong managers help push their clients toward the appropriate castings, especially when agent rosters can be full of similar types of clients in a particular age range or skill set. Managers also have direct relationships with casting directors and can obtain feedback, which can help the actor advance more quickly.

We are committed to the business long term, understand the sacrifices families have to make—especially with the arduous and complicated process of Broadway and national tours that employ youth—and we are willing to learn. We look for potential clients with skill, tenacity, and family support on both coasts. Finally, we make it our business not to duplicate types on our roster, so our clients experience a supportive, developmental atmosphere in New York and Los Angeles.

Marilyn Glasser
Glasser Black Management, Cedarhurst, N.Y.

Our job is to guide our clients to effectively use all of New York's vast resources to grow their careers within and beyond New York's borders.

We evaluate strengths, help modify weaknesses, and set goals. We open doors to agents, producers, network and studio executives, and other business professionals. Through our long relationships with the casting communities on both coasts, we enhance the work of our clients' agents.

We scope out well-written, high-profile, fully financed feature-length or short films with the potential to further careers, and we believe in paying close attention to student films from emerging talents. Scenes from one such film, winner of the 2001 Academy Award, remained a cornerstone piece of a client's demo reel for years, closing deals for a lead in a studio feature and a pilot.

This same philosophy applies to the theater, where we actively explore plays slated for New York's many fringe festivals, staged readings, and Off-Off-Broadway productions.

Roger Paul
Rogue Talent Group, New York

New York City managers are the toughest and most involved managers in the industry. A manager can do a lot or very little, which is why finding the right manager should be key to all artists seeking representation.

A manager's first job is to assess the current status of their clients and determine where the client needs to go. New York managers are especially overprotective of their client's careers. Compared to L.A. managers, New York managers play many roles to protect their clients. A real manager does not create a new person but instead enhances the strong attributes and qualities that are already present. Between deciding on headshots/pictures that honestly represent the client and editing résumés to intrigue casting directors, a manager's job is never done. New York managers are also very hands-on, which means they are particularly creative in setting up face-to-face meetings with casting directors, production companies, etc.

Arthur Massei
Massei Management, New York

I don't really see any difference between what managers do in New York and what they do in Los Angeles. The job is the same: guidance, advice, and support. The basic functions of a manager are assisting artists with selection of photographers, acting classes/coaches, and finding an agent. Managers should supervise every facet of an artist's career and assist with short-term and long-term goals.

Actors will eventually need a reel to submit for film and TV roles. I tell every actor I meet to subscribe to Back Stage and submit weekly to the student-film castings they find there. Once they have several clips from different projects, we will go ahead and create a reel.

Emotional support is very important, as artists will be vulnerable throughout their careers. The manager needs to have empathy to help the artist remain enthusiastic, stay focused, and make sure they are utilizing all their skills to advance their career.

Managers also set up meetings with producers, casting directors, and film directors. We represent the artist in dealing with any labor unions and contract discussions with studios or independent film companies. Managers should also discuss the potential of other mediums, such as YouTube and Facebook. Several Web series have been picked up and made into TV series, making this another option for artists.

Once the artist is recognizable, they will receive offers to read for roles. The manager and artist will each read the script and discuss the role and project. Then the manager will offer advice about whether or not to accept the role.