A common question a lot of actors have is “what’s the difference between an agent and manager?”
So let’s break this down...
A talent agent represents you and helps to procure you work. They sort through breakdowns and submit your headshot and reels to ones that are the right fit. Once you go in and nail the audition, and the casting director wants to cast you in the project, your agent would be the one that would handle the contract negotiations. Agents are also required to be licensed in the state of California. They have to adhere to the Talent Service bond with the state, and that is a great thing! That bond is put into place to protect talent from anything scammy. A common contract length with an agent is one year. If you are a nonunion actor, agents can take up to 20% commission from any work you have booked. If you’re a union actor, they take 10%.
A talent manager’s job is well, in their job title. To a certain extent, they “manage” your career. They can help you with your image/branding, selections for your marketing materials like headshots/demo reels, they can help you find the right acting class, overall just give advice to help shape your career. One thing to note is that managers are not held to the same legal requirements that an agent is, so that is something to be aware and cautious of. For example, a manager can help advise you on contracts for employment, however legally they are not allowed to negotiate anything for you. Managers also take a commission from work booked. That can vary anywhere from 10-15%.
It’s okay to have an agent and a manager. The most important thing to remember is to make sure to surround yourself with a good team. Which may include: an agent, manager, publicist, and entertainment attorney.