Generally speaking, it’s safe to say that talent are emotional beings before they are logical. The constant scrutiny, subjective judgments, and grey boundaries can cause significant confusion for the working actor or model. The partnerships a talent creates can be important to their future and success, but can also become a source of frustration if the purpose is not kept clear. On the talent’s team are the agent, the manager (usually in larger markets), the coach, and the family support structure. So what should the talent want and expect from each partnership?
First, the family structure is what the actor or model’s home life looks like. Family can be blood relation or simply close friendships, but these are the people who know it all and still love you for who you are at the end of the day. Some may be individuals who are so close, they can tell us what we don’t want to hear and still maintain their value. Some are the individuals who pick the talent up after being torn down on a rough day. And others are the individuals in whom a talent knows they can always find rest and encouragement. Family may be any number of other people, but they are always the fail-safe through the rough times. Be thankful and show appreciation to your family on a regular basis by letting them know that you will be there to support them as well.
The coach is another source of encouragement, but holds a higher sense of accountability and is able to challenge the talent in their craft. Although the talent may not interface with the coach as often as family, the coach can provide a safe environment to expand the talent’s skill set, give feedback to challenge that growth, and offer reassurance to build confidence. The coach should always build up an actor or model’s sense of worth.
The manager is a fine balance between professional partner, friend, and motivator. As a professional partner, the manager may not always give encouragement. A manager is the secret weapon that keeps a talent focused and minds logistics, but they can also have the place of providing feedback and launching discussions into issues that might cause pain, but ultimately pay off in growth. A manager may be involved in more than the professional life of the talent by being a part of their personal life and mingling with the other entities involved in a talent’s long term career, such as agents, coaches, and family. The manager can take on the responsibilities that have not been fulfilled in other positions, which means their place can look vastly different depending on the individual needs of each talent.
The agent is the talent’s professional partnership. Agents should not take on more than promoting, organizing, pitching, and negotiating for the talent. This means that the agent is more than likely a personality that can handle conflict as a daily part of their partnership. Agents fight for their talent to be given audition times, to reach the maximum of their earning potential, to book the job when things are shaky. The agent shares feedback from auditions, callbacks, or sets. Unfortunately, this information is not always positive, but the agent’s responsibility is to be sure the talent knows the feedback in order to grow in the future. An agent is someone who may have a more brash demeanor, but who would you want in your corner during a good fight – your sweet Aunt Sally or your agent? Exactly.
Showing value to each entity of your professional team is a large part of being a successful talent, so don’t overlook any one partnership as less valuable. And don’t expect Aunt Sally to act as anything other than your sweet aunt. Allowing each partner to fulfill their place is ideal to moving your career forward.