You’ve been working with a coach you like. You’ve maybe made the decision to keep your eyes open for a manager, but to wait on committing to anything just yet. The next point of trust should be the agent.
Your agent is a business partner who stands to gain directly from your success and is equally motivated to make your dreams come true. The agent makes a living based on commissions, which will range from 10% to 40% depending on the type of work. (Regulations vary by job, state law, and governing contracts.)
Other than perhaps your mother, your agent is the only person on the face of the earth who actually wants to see you succeed as badly as you want it yourself. That means that your agent’s advice is the only advice truly based on your sole best interest. Every other person in your network circle may or may not be giving you solid information and is going to be motivated by their own goals and purposes.
There are jokes, movies, and comic strips about the heartless agent, but most of us have feelings, dreams, hopes, and loved ones, just like you. And although we are another example of a breed set apart in how we function, the agent fills a gap for the talent that is crucial to success. The talent may take home the larger portion of the paycheck, but the agent’s work in achieving the paycheck was just as important as the talent’s creative abilities. A partnership is not meant to be mutually exclusive, so the most successful talent are the actor/model who have the most complementary relationships with their agent.
Again, like a marriage, there are going to be those rocky moments. Each side is going to bring the baggage from prior situations that the pair will have to choose to work through together. It involves compromise, an open perspective, listening, communicating, and a bit of trial and error. You won’t always get along with your agent, but that isn’t cause to jump ship, make rash decisions or use harsh words. In good times and in less than desirable situations, the best way to approach an agent is with understanding and mutual respect. Agents aren’t always right, but we are always trying to advance our talent’s careers. Keep that in mind and support the team effort – set yourself up for a lasting partnership and career!