PUBLICISTS generate and manage publicity for a company, brand, or public figure. Publicity is needed to grow name awareness of the client. Publicity cannot be paid for, in turn, the client pays a publicist a monthly retainer. The publicist will secure media appearances, such as TV and radio; or write ups, mentions or feature stories also known as editorials, in publications such as magazines, newspapers, blogs. They also handle any private appearances that may be requested, such as keynote speaking engagements, just to name a few.
AGENTS work for a talent agency that is licensed by the state and in some cases, franchised by the union. That gives them the legal right to solicit employment for our clients. It also allows them to negotiate contracts on their behalf.
MANAGERS sole function is to provide guidance, training, grooming. Managers are not allowed to set up auditions or negotiate contracts, but they can work alongside agency’s, agents and publicists.
That’s the letter of the law, but the real world doesn’t work that way. Any manager who wants to keep their clients happy will do their best to get auditions, and paying jobs to build their clients career, as they are not legally required to belong to a union, they are allowed to do this. While they won’t work on contracts directly, they will be actively involved in any and all negotiations. So in many ways, both agents and managers perform the same function.
An interesting difference is where we perform that function. By law, an agency must work out of an office. A manager can work anywhere.
The average talent agent represents anywhere from 125 to 150 clients. A manager’s list is much smaller. The best ones work with less than 20 talent. In theory, that allows them to give their people more personal attention.
Agents are not allowed to take more than 10 percent of their client’s earnings, but managers don’t suffer from the same restrictions, which means they take 15 percent of your earnings up to $50,000 during a one-year period, but the commission drops to 10 if you make more than that in a one year period, and they are also allowed to charge a monthly retainer.