What to expect when working with a talent manager

If your career has reached the point where you need a talent manager, you should know what to include in your contract and what to expect from the relationship. Read more to learn the basics of working with your new best spokesperson.

by Belle Wong, J.D.
updated May 11, 2023 ·  2min read

When the time is right in their careers, many professional entertainers find it beneficial to work with a talent manager. Also sometimes known as personal managers, talent managers work to develop your career and your potential as an artist. This means they handle all the day-to-day activities required to manage your career, leaving you free to concentrate on what you do best: your creative work.

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Role of a talent mannager

Unlike a talent agent, whose primary focus is on getting you auditions, your talent manager will be involved in every aspect of your career. In both California and New York, an individual must be licensed as a talent agent in order to obtain work for their clients.

Some talent managers may also be licensed as agents, in which case, they might also work on landing you auditions. However, when it comes to taking care of you as a professional artist, a talent manager performs the following roles:

  • Personal representative. Your talent manager acts as your representative when it comes to business deals and negotiations. When they take these meetings on your behalf, they're on your side and will work towards agreements that are in the best interests of your professional career as an artist.
  • Career adviser. The road to success within the entertainment industry can be a long and rocky one, but the journey may be made easier by having a talent manager. Ideally, your manager has the experience to advise you about upcoming opportunities, potential pitfalls, and even practical matters such as obtaining headshots and shooting demo reels.
  • Promoter. Your talent manager should be your most steadfast advocate. In this role, they handle public relations matters, help you identify your brand image, and market and introduce this image to all the right people.

The personal management agreement

Because you can expect your working relationship with your talent manager to be quite involved, a personal management agreement is essential to help protect both of your interests. Having a comprehensive agreement can help reduce potential conflict by setting out in writing the specific parameters of your relationship.

The ideal agreement outlines both your expectations from the relationship and those of your talent manager. The document should specify the term of your relationship—many talent managers require a three-year commitment—and provide an option for renewal. Other matters covered by the agreement include the scope of your manager's duties and what happens if either one of you wishes to terminate the relationship.

When in comes to compensation, you never pay your talent manager upfront. Instead, personal career-management professionals work on a commission basis. Because of this, your contract needs to set out not only what the percentage of commission is but what part of your income is subject to this commission. Matters such as expenses, whether your own out-of-pocket costs or those of your manager's, should also be discussed.

Having a talent manager to oversee your artistic career leaves you with the time you need to concentrate on your creative work and reach for the stars. With a solid agreement in place, you can have peace of mind that your relationship will get off on the right foot.

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Belle Wong, J.D.

About the Author

Belle Wong, J.D.

Belle Wong, is a freelance writer specializing in small business, personal finance, banking, and tech/SAAS. She spends h… Read more

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of the author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.