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What Comes First: Agent or Manager?

Photo Source: Jordan Sondler

Q: Is it unrealistic to get a manager before I have an agent? —@itsleesaashley

Not unrealistic at all! Every actor is different and in a different stage of his or her career. If you find yourself without an agent, that doesn’t mean you are new to the business. For several reasons, any actor can find themselves without an agent during their career: a falling-out, a direction change, a location change, even the I’m-taking-a-break-from-acting scenario.

It is totally fine to seek a manager even if you don’t have an agent. That said, you must have realistic expectations of having a manager versus an agent before acquiring your first (or next) agent.

Managers will advise you on your career and image related to photos, social media, website, and general day-to-day planning and strategy to help you gain your foothold in the industry. Agents are the ones who gather casting opportunities and negotiate the deals and contracts on your behalf.

A good manager can help you get an agent so your career is a team effort and you feel the most productive in pursuing all of what you want to accomplish in your career as an actor.

For new actors, it may even be a better fit to start with a manager instead of an agent to get a sense of what you want in an agent and what your goals are.

A manager will assess your current skill set and encourage you to add certain elements to your list of skills so that you’re better equipped to be cast in more roles. They can advise you on various workshops or coaches, adding more dialects to your résumé, and stepping outside your comfort zone by being more well-rounded in areas you’re currently lacking.

More often than not, having a manager can assist with your perspective of the business and give you a realistic vision based on where your aspirations are with your career, so it’s totally your call.

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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,

and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

Tammy Hunt
Tammy Hunt is a Los Angeles–based talent manager and owner of The Natoma Group. She has been working in the entertainment industry since she graduated with a degree in design, and has worked with a number of television shows and indie films in wardrobe and costume design.

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