Like a parent, coaches are there to equip you with the knowledge and skills in which they individually excel. You will likely have many acting coaches in the lifetime of a talent career. Treat those relationships with respect and continue to invest in the value they shared – you will likely want to keep them handy to revisit from time to time.
Unlike your acting coach, there are other people around you who have a vested interest in your success but may not be short-term relationships - one such entity is the talent manager. Managers are amazing assets for the talent on the rise. They are the business mind that keeps the momentum moving while the talent is able to focus solely on the creative craft. Managers should not be taken for granted or chosen lightly.
Joining forces with a manager is like a marriage. They complement what you already have going as a talent. They organize, network, follow up, keep books, make calls, trouble-shoot issues, set goals, and handle day to day administrative needs. A manager can pick up the slack where anyone else is lacking. Some managers even make pitches if the talent does not yet have an agent or handle press releases before the talent has a PR division. Managers are multi-faceted, multi-tasking, and everywhere at once. They work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year – and it’s worth going as far as to say that they work hard!
In a large market, a talent does not need a manager until they have substantial success. Frequently, talent are not able to pay the manager prior to filling up a busy calendar of bookings. (The manager makes a living based on whatever agreement the two of you set forth, which can include commissions or regular payments.) Once you are on set enough to not have time to keep smooth lines of communication between all of your agents, keep accurate records expected of any business, network within the community and dig for new work, and are receiving hateful messages about having stood friends or dates up (you forgot – how can you be everywhere at once!) . . . it’s time to find a manager. The key here, though, is that you are this busy because you are making money. Needing someone to keep you organized is worth the pay out at that point.
In small markets, the agent may choose to take on some of the tasks associated with management. PR becomes a joint effort between yourself and your agent. Bookkeeping is your responsibility. Setting goals and aiding with direction are functions that the agent will find mutually beneficial, though. In this case, your agent becomes the multi-faceted, multi-tasking, and everywhere-(s)he-physically-can-be at once person. The agent may not make you their sole focus, but if you are working successfully in a small market, you don’t need to spend the extra investment of having a manager just yet!