Are Talent or Model Managers a Waste of Money?

Comments by Nina Blanchard when she was the top Los Angeles talent agent

"In addition to agents, some superstars may have a personal manager, an attorney, and a business manager. The personal manager helps to make the decisions about properties that are submitted and their suitability for his client. . . . Strictly speaking, a manager [in California] is not allowed either to solicit work or to negotiate contracts for an actor, a situation which often results in friction (to put it mildly) between agent and manager.

"The agent works for ten percent and the manager may make anywhere from ten to twenty-five percent, and both parties may feel the other is not needed. A very big personal manager, who shall remain nameless, said, when I asked him to give me a quote: "Actors don't need managers; they just need a good agent."

"A few further thoughts on managers. Sometimes actors whose careers are not doing too well think that a manager can make the difference. He can't. New people, who have never done anything, are not even guild members, and tell me they have a "manager," are a joke. If you are an actor who has reached a level of success where you have properties submitted to you as possible star vehicles for you, and there are two or three TV specials that are under consideration, there is a lot of money coming in, and what should you do with it? Everybody is approaching you with a deal and your fan mail is enormous. THEN you might need a manager, someone to advise you on legal problems.

. . .

"A manager who finds a unique talent, spends time, gives advice, and supports that talent both financially and emotionally in the bad times is rare. A lot of so-called managers sign up every talent prospect they come across, and may have as many as sixty people signed to contracts. It doesn't cost the manager anything except the few dollars to print the contracts. These "managers" hope that one of these people will make it. They call us about representing their people because as managers they are not allowed to solicit work for talent.

"Be wary of the "manager" who approaches you when you are still a complete unknown. Ask around about him first. If he is reputable, well known, and handles some important people, he may think you are something "special" and might be of help to you. Avoid the others. You don't need them."

Nina Blanchard, How to Break into Motion Pictures, Television, Commercials, and Modeling (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1978), p. 120-121.

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