Monday, November 06, 2006

Why Management?

Finally, by popular demand Part 1 of the Managers post!

This post covers much of the same ground as John Roger’s entertaining post about the different roles his manager and agent play in his career.

As I mentioned before in the agents post, the agency world is about making deals. Projects are talked about like trading cards, and agents spend the majority of their working day, supporting and advancing the agency’s agenda. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and I’m in no way disparaging the work of agents in the process of getting movies made.

For a manager, it is about making careers. Typically management agencies are also production companies. This arose out of the transitioning of several agents out of the agency world in the early 90’s as those agencies became more and more deal driven. I was just a wee little hottie (not yet a full-on Diva) back then, but over the course of about 5 years a slew of agents were forced out, jumped out, or otherwise ended up at these start-up management production companies. They scooped up actors, directors and soon-to-be hot young writers left and right and then commenced to “build” each one of these “talents” (and I mean those quote marks) into “brands.”

Managers are typically looking for clients who have raw talent, dramatic ideas, good work habits, and fast turnaround. This isn’t very different criteria than what an agent is looking for, managers are (usually) just willing to work with folks in earlier stages of their careers, and will spend time on less developed ideas. The biggest difference between a manager and an agent, is that a manager will take you around town to meet with executives, producers and directors when there isn’t really a job at stake.

Having a manager is increasingly important in Hollywood today because of the fragmentation taking place in the business. As has been pointed out in a number of places, the industry is moving towards a more "entrepreneurial" model of filmmaking. In my opinion, this move from the patronage system of the early movie studio model, to the free market financing that's starting to take place is a sort of balkanization, if you will, pitting artists against one another for the resources to make films.

All that to say, management can act like your own production company, providing in-house development, strategic planning and production capabilities. For most folks who want a career that lasts longer than 10 years, this is vitally important.

1 comment:

Jutratest said...

Man I gotta move to L.A. In Toronto they don't recommend you get a manager until you have at least five sheep and an ox.

And even then, you need to find a manager with a second skill like teeth pulling or knot tying.