My friend and client, Paula, has an issue with her current management company. Here’s what she wrote:
I could definitely use your help w/ something. I have more than a year left on my contract w/ a management company–but am dying to get out of it. Nine months w/ them and nothing to show for it. I have been hustling and working on my own through my own connections, yet they can’t even get me a meeting w/ an agent. I had better luck w/ my previous manager who didn’t have half the reputation and credibility that this current firm does. They congratulate all of my self-bookings and still proclaim to be fans, but obviously, this relationship isn’t working. My biggest fear now is booking something big on my own and having to give them a cut. Any help you can provide on this matter would be much appreciated.
I wrote her back, and offered this advice:
Why is that a fear?
That’s your agreement – and you shouldn’t think twice about it.
In fact, if there’s a motivation issue, money can solve that. Booking clients seem to get more auditions and work than non-booking clients – I wonder why??
Our business goals as actors and VO performers, when working with agents and management, are not about giving the process over entirely to representation – it’s adding their efforts to our arsenal, in addition to all of the other ways we get work.
Look at it that way, and you’ll feel less anxious about giving them the 10%.
If you really want to get out of your contract, look for language in the contract that allows for that. There’s usually a non-performance clause, often “no work or auditions for 90 or 180 days.”. If you don’t have a clause like that, then that’s a lesson learned for your next negotiation.
Hope this helps.
Thank you so much for this. There is always a lesson to learn with advice given.
Having been both an agent and a manager, sometimes with rather famous people I was always amazed when they brought us a booking. I was also pleased to put it altogether in a way that assured them they would have what they needed to perform at the highest level and be properly rewarded monetarily.
I was thought to be naive, and perhaps I was, but I only did business on a handshake. we were rarely burned. I felt that we were not meeting or surpassing their expectations we did not want them enough to be able to keep them
David’s advice here is practical, ethical and most importantly, will prove to be successful over time.
I know that when I book something without a rep I will have to take whatever is offered dealwise, which won’t be to my advantage without a rep’s negotiating skills. Performers usually have zip negotiating power.