Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Thanks, Bianca!

I'm one of those people who likes to put people together, so it's always fun for me when you guys identify yourselves. I hope that you are also taking the time to link through to one another's profiles and blogs and commenting and building a community through this whole Blogosphere thing. It's worked well for politics (look at Kos and the rest of them), and I think it can work for filmmakers as well. Plus it's free. A big factor for indie filmmakers.

Anyway, my opinion of Bianca's comment:

My writer friend is now under consideration at the management firm. Is
getting a manager easier than getting an agent? Is it beneficial in the early
stages of one's career?

This is a purely subjective thing and depends on how and what your friend writes. Having a manager can help because you don't have to do the relatively hard work of sending out samples until an agent will sign you, and your manager acts as a "friend of the court" in introductions to agencies, giving you an edge over folks sending in samples cold. The flip side is they take about 10-15% of your gross income and with the agent taking another 7-10% and the attorney getting 5%, plus taxes at around 36%-48% (after commissions, thank god), you realize a little less than half of any payday you "earn." An uptown problem, but one that most writers don't consider before signing a 5-7 year term.

Now, if the manager is someone who is going to take care of you, meaning develop your material in-house, introduce you around, and in general plan your career, that's value. Some managers attach themselves to their clients' material as Producers and either double-dip (they count their commissions against any unrealized producing fees) or hold the material hostage against their fees and credits. I know many managers who actually make money off their clients' work whether or not the client does, (e.g. talent managers who get a "reading" fee or producing fee just to get their client to read the script) and some who actually make more as producers than their clients' writing services are worth, so they hold up deals while they negotiate a good producing package for themselves.

I also know some really great managers who genuinely care for their clients, don't want to make a million dollars a month on the backs of poor writers, and who have excellent story sense.

I don't know if that answers your questions, but I hope it helps. And I'd love to hear how it all turns out.

P.S. I have a manager who I use like a development executive for my story ideas, but I also spend a fair amount of time planning my own career.


wcdixon said...

I've only ever had an agent, and the limited exposure I've had with friends who have all three (agent, manager, lawyer) has mostly led to muttering of too much commission coming off the top...however, as someone said 25% of something is better than 100% of nothing.

A friend who's opinion I value greatly finally ended up with an agent and a lawyer. The agent to bang on doors, set up meetings, send out materials, etc. (and helped that this was a prominent agent at one of the big 3 A's), and the lawyer to negotiate and fine tooth the contracts...10% + 5%...he saw managers more beneficial for actors/singers or multi-talented types (or not so talented but had their fingers in a lot of different stuff where PR was important.

For what its worth.

bianca said...

Thanks for your responses Film Diva and Will. I'll keep you posted on my friend's progress.