A Breakdown Manager…isn’t a Manager!

Did the title get’cha? Did it make you mad? Did it make you think, shit wait, is that “my manager?” My thought is I kinda hope so, probably and yes…it is more than likely. 🙂 No, I’m not making fun of or laughing at Managers in ANY way. And no, I’m not poking fun at you or your rep…not at all. I am however, at this time in Hollywood, finding it really really necessary to draw a DISTINCT line between “real Managers” and ManaGENT reps. Huh?WTHell are you talking about Kevin? ManaGENT reps? That’s me guys, creating another new “hybrid” word in this business. I know that we define representatives by two names, Agents and Managers, but what we’ve lost is where technology and contracts have brought us. You see back when the ATA ended their long standing agreement with SAG / AFTRA (at the time) things REALLY began to change. In addition to that in 2000 within 3-4 years you finally had digital technology really having an affect on production and control. When you marry all of that together what you’ve got is a REAL change in representation.

I titled this Blog the way I did, for a reason, and it is because MOST of you who have a quote unquote “Manager” today…really have simply…a Breakdown manager. So with that said, allow me to define what I mean by that, so you don’t go and lose your mind over it. A “breakdown” Manager isn’t BAD or LOUSY…but they are “not a Manager” by what Managers have always been defined, they’re folks who have clients and submit them. Now aside from the FACT (legally) that Managers are NOT allowed to actually submit or attempt to procure work for their clients (actors) NOR are they legally allowed to “negotiate a work contract” for you (the actor) we all KNOW that they indeed…do both of these actions.

So with that said ask yourself this question: Well if Managers now need to be split up into two categories and they are breaking the law by submitting and negotiating…what the HELL is a manager? Easy answer! Managers (Personal Managers) as they called them back in the 50s/60s were meant to be more like what we would call a “professional closely trusted friend with Hollywood business savvy and/or a filter for career and personal decisions.” THAT is what a Personal Manager has always been…up to about the mid-90s. Back in the mid-90s companies like Brillstein-Grey for example began USING the law to their advantage by realizing that they could create/produce projects for their clients. (See the Gary Shandling Show). And ironically, agents were NOT allowed to produce or own any part of the shows or projects their clients were hired in. That all changed in May 2000.

So when Agents finally had the ability to “invest” in their clients projects, be given the latitude to use a GSA boiler plate contract versus a SAG-AFTRA contract etc. etc. you have had 13 years of a “shifting” protocol in what it means to be an Agent or Manager or PERSONAL manager. So just understand that today, most (I’d say 85-90%) of people who are “Managers” are really just folks who don’t want to be bound by an office or a typical agency structure but they “like” representing actors. So they take on 2-10 times MORE clients than the “typical” successful personal manager and they basically go about their business on a daily basis of pitching, submitting and fielding/booking auditions…JUST like all of the agents do. Again, doesn’t make it awful it just makes them a representative.

If you really WANT a real “personal manager” then this is someone who “constantly” discusses your career, helps you through maybe a difficult personal time, perhaps fronts some actor expense for you until you can pay them back, walks your dog, books or assists with booking travel, and also spends time trying to make YOU (as a commodity) more well known amongst Agents and Producers. Sure, can a manager be helpful with perhaps, getting you an agent or agent meetings? Yes, but it should not (in my opinion) be the sole reason you choose to be represented by them.

To wrap this up, just be sure NOT to be thrown off by the title, cuz that is what this is really about. If you have someone whose company/business is “set up” as a manager and they call themselves a manager…that is FINE. But what they do on a day to day basis and what they “cover with you or engage you in” really TELLS you whether or not you have a real “Personal Manager” or if you just have a breakdown manager that submits you. I’m not judging either I just want you to KNOW and be CLEAR what you have…so that you’re not busy “expecting” something from them based no their title…that they’re not going to do.

Always, always on your side. @theKevinE