Entertainment agents and managers, sometimes known as talent agents, promote the careers and manage the business affairs of performers and other professionals in the entertainment industry.
You could represent actors, singers, musicians, TV presenters, writers or speciality performers such as lookalikes or voiceover artists. Clients can range from new acts to major stars (who are usually handled by large international agencies).
As an agent, it would be your responsibility to secure the best work for your clients, for the best fee. You could also play a wider role and run all aspects of a client's business affairs, although the two roles can be combined.
Your job may include:
•arranging auditions and bookings for clients
•negotiating contracts and fees
•organising tours and booking venues
•helping artists make career decisions, such as advising actors which roles to audition for
•arranging publicity and promotion
•winning clients and scouting for new talent
•handling media enquiries, fan mail and requests for personal appearances
•dealing with travel arrangements and work permits
•staying in regular contact with clients.
You would be in contact with a range of people in the entertainment industry, including promoters, venue managers, TV executives, lawyers, PR managers and accountants.
What qualifications and experience will employers look for?
You could take various routes to become an entertainment agent or manager. In this industry your experience (paid or unpaid), enthusiasm and ability to make contacts are more important than academic qualifications.
One way in could be to start as an administrator or assistant in an agency or artist management company, and work your way up as your experience grows. Contacting agencies directly to ask for a work placement is a good way of building experience and contacts in the industry.
You may find it useful to have a background in one or more of the following areas:
•accounting and administration
•media or performing arts (particularly if you are applying to work in a larger agency)
Foreign language skills and knowledge of contract law could also be helpful.
Alternatively, you could become an agent or manager after having been a performer yourself, or by managing friends’ careers – this is especially common in the music industry.
What further training and development can I do?
At the start of your career you would learn on the job from established agents or managers, and develop your skills as your experience grows.
As an established agent or manager you could join an agents' trade association. This would give you professional recognition and access to advice on areas like pay, contracts and running an agency. Organisations include:
•The Agents' Association (Great Britain)
•National Entertainment Agents' Council
•The Personal Managers' Association.
As the manager of a band or solo music artist, you could join the Music Managers' Forum (UK) for training and networking opportunities.
Where can I go for more information?
Get Into Theatre