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A talent agent, or booking agent, is a person who finds jobs for
actor An actor is a person who portrays a character Character(s) may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''Character'' (novel), a 1936 Dutch novel by Ferdinand Bordewijk * ''Characters'' (Theophrastus), a classical Greek set ...

actor
s,
author An author is the creator or originator of any written work such as a book A book is a medium for recording information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it answers the question of "What an entity is" an ...

author
s,
broadcast journalist A journalist is an individual trained to collect/gather information in form of text, audio or pictures, processes them to a news-worth form and disseminates it to the public. The act or process mainly done by the journalist is called journalism. ...
s,
film director A film director controls a film's artistic and dramatic aspects and visualizes the screenplay (or script) while guiding the film crew and actors in the fulfilment of that Goal, vision. The director has a key role in choosing the Casting (perfo ...
s,
musician A musician is a person who Composer, composes, Conducting, conducts, or Performing arts, performs music. According to the United States Employment Service, "musician" is a general Terminology, term used to designate one who follows music as a pr ...

musician
s,
model In general, a model is an informative representation of an object, person or system. The term originally denoted the plans of a building in late 16th-century English, and derived via French and Italian ultimately from Latin ''modulus'', a measure. ...
s,
professional athlete Professional sports, as opposed to amateur sports Amateur sports are sport Sport pertains to any form of Competition, competitive physical activity or game that aims to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing ...
s,
screenwriter A screenplay writer (also called screenwriter for short), scriptwriter or scenarist, is a writer who practices the craft of screenwriting, writing screenplays on which mass media, such as films, television programs and video games, are based. ...
s,
writer A writer is a person who uses written words in different styles and techniques to communicate ideas. Writers produce different forms of literary art and creative writing such as novels, short stories, books, poetry, plays, screenplays, telepl ...

writer
s, and other professionals in various entertainment or broadcast businesses. In addition, an agent defends, supports and promotes the interest of their clients. Talent agencies specialize, either by creating departments within the agency or developing entire agencies that primarily or wholly represent one specialty. For example, there are modeling agencies, commercial talent agencies,
literary agencies
literary agencies
, voice-over agencies, broadcast journalist agencies, sports agencies, music agencies and many more. Having an agent is not required, but does help the artist in getting jobs (concerts, tours, movie scripts, appearances, signings, sport teams, etc.). In many cases, casting directors or other businesses go to talent agencies to find the artists for whom they are looking. The agent is paid a percentage of the star's earnings (typically 10%). Therefore, agents are sometimes referred to as "10 percenters". Various regulations govern different types of agents. The regulations are established by artist's unions and the legal jurisdiction in which the agent operates. There are also professional associations of talent agencies. Talent agents are considered gatekeepers to their client's careers. They have the ability to reshape and reconstruct their client's image. They are dealmakers and assist their client by orchestrating deals within the entertainment industry, more specifically in the Hollywood entertainment industry. In California, because talent agencies are working with lucrative contracts, the agencies must be licensed under special sections of the California Labor Code, which defines an agent as a "person or corporation who engages in the occupation of procuring, offering, promising, or attempting to procure employment for an artist or artists." Major talent agencies include Endeavor,
Creative Artists Agency Creative Artists Agency LLC or CAA is an American talent and sports agency based in Los Angeles Los Angeles (; es, Los Ángeles; "The Angels"), officially the City of Los Angeles and often abbreviated as L.A., is the List of cities and t ...
,
United Talent Agency United Talent Agency (UTA) is a global talent agency Talent has two principal meanings: * Talent (measurement), an ancient unit of mass and value * Talent (skill), a group of aptitudes useful for some activities; talents may refer to aptitudes t ...
, Agency for the Performing Arts,
The Gersh Agency The Gersh Agency (also known as simply Gersh) is a talent and literary agency established in 1949 by Phil Gersh, based in Beverly Hills, California and New York City. The Gersh Agency is the sixth largest talent agency in the United States. Histo ...
and
Paradigm Talent Agency Paradigm Talent Agency is an American full-service talent agent, entertainment agency with offices in Los Angeles, New York City, New York, London, Chicago, Toronto, Monterey, California, Monterey, Nashville, Tennessee, Nashville, Berkeley, Califo ...
.


Types of talent agents and agencies


Sports agents


Literary agent


Broadcast journalist agencies

Some talent agencies specialize in the representation of television news broadcast journalists and television news magazine hosts. The journalists and hosts represented by these agents primarily work at television stations in local markets or at networks. There are many job titles for broadcast news journalists such as anchors, reporters, weathercasters, sportscasters, correspondents and hosts.


Commercial and theatrical agents

Actors may be interested in working theatrically (stage, film or television) as well as in commercials. Some agents will handle all types of acting work, while others may specialize in a particular area. Some agents work only in the field of television, or only in film and television. Typically, the larger the agency, the more specialized the agents within the agency. An agent has two sets of clients: the "talent" (actors, models, voice-over artists, etc.) and the "buyer". The buyer can be a casting director, advertising agency,
production company A production company, production house, production studio, or a production team is a business that provides the physical basis for works in the fields of performing arts, new media art, film, television show, television, radio, comics, interactive ...
, photographer, or direct client if the client has an "in-house" production staff. Agents promote talent to the buyers, submitting talent who have the appropriate age, race, sex, look, talent, etc. that the buyer is seeking for his/her project. Usually, an agent submits the actor's
head shot A head shot or headshot is a modern (usually digital) portrait A portrait is a portrait painting, painting, portrait photography, photograph, sculpture, or other artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is pred ...

head shot
or the model's
composite cardImage:kimfisher zeds.jpg, Comp cards A comp card (also called composite card, Z card, zed card or Sed card) is a marketing tool for actors and especially Model (person), models. They serve as the latest and best of a model's Career portfolio, portfo ...
or
portfolio Portfolio may refer to: Objects * Portfolio (briefcase), a type of briefcase Collections * Portfolio (finance) In finance, a portfolio is a collection of investments To invest is to allocate money Image:National-Debt-Gillray.jpeg, ...
to the buyer. After the buyer has made choices, the agent then arranges an audition (or for models, a "go-see" or open call). After the buyer has met the talent, the buyer will contact the agent if any of the talent will be hired. The agent will coordinate the details of wardrobe, directions, etc., as well as negotiate the contract or pay. Note that the agent's job is to get the talent auditions; the talent is the only person who can get the job. For their work, agents take a 10 to 20% commission of the gross, depending on whether the job is union (such as SAG-AFTRA) or not. Union jobs are paid per negotiated guidelines, but in non-union jobs the pay is sometimes delayed. A well established agent will have networks upon networks of contacts. Also, agents have access to professional casting services. Many of these casting resources are not available to the general public. Although most of the successful agents are private individuals unknown to the public, some are celebrities in their own right. Notable current and former talent agents includes
David Begelman David Begelman (August 26, 1921 – August 7, 1995) was an American film producer, film executive and talent agent who was involved in a studio embezzlement scandal in the 1970s. Life and career Begelman was born to a Jewish Jews ( h ...
,
Ari Emanuel Ari Emanuel (born March 29, 1961) is an American businessman, Hollywood mogul and the CEO of Endeavor, an entertainment and media agency Media agencies advise companies on how and where to advertise, and on how to present a positive picture of the ...
, Freddie Fields,
Johnny Hyde Johnny Hyde (23 April 1895 – 18 December 1950) was an American talent agent who developed the career of Marilyn Monroe. Early life Hyde was born to a Russian Jews, Jewish family as Iván Haidabura in Russia and moved to the United States ...
,
Irving Paul Lazar Irving Paul "Swifty" Lazar (March 28, 1907 – December 30, 1993) was an Americans, American Casting Agent, talent agent and dealmaker, representing both movie stars and authors. Early life and education Born Samuel Lazar to a American Jews, Jewish ...
, Sue Mengers, Quincy Sims,
Lew Wasserman Lewis Robert Wasserman (March 22, 1913 – June 3, 2002) was an American talent agent and studio executive, described as "the last of the legendary movie moguls" and "arguably the most powerful and influential Hollywood titan in the four decades ...
,
Jadin Wong Jadin Wong (May 24, 1913 – March 30, 2010) was an American singer, dancer, actress, and comedian. Early life Wong was born in Stockton, California Stockton is a city in and the county seat of San Joaquin County, California, San Joaqui ...
and The Handbook.


Modeling agencies


Music agents

In the music world, booking agents are different from
talent manager An artist manager (also known as an talent manager, band manager or music manager) is an individual who guides the professional career of artists An artist is a person engaged in an activity related to creating art, practicing the arts, or dem ...
s. Booking agents are the people who actually book
shows
shows
for the artists they represent. These agents make all of the arrangements with the promoters of the shows. The booking agent presents the promoter or producer of the concert with a
performance agreement
performance agreement
, which stipulates the artist's requirements. Items may include
lighting Lighting or illumination is the deliberate use of light Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation within the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visual perception, perceived by the human eye. Visible light is usua ...

lighting
, sound, meals, hotel accommodations, and transportation. For concert buyers, they work to find the artist who will fit in the need and available budget. Many of the major booking agencies refuse to represent clients who are not already signed to a major
record label A record label, or record company, is a brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Brands are used in business, marketing, and ad ...
and have national distribution of their music. Because of this, artists on
independent record labels An independent record label (or indie label) is a record label that operates without the funding of major record labels; they are a type of small to medium-sized enterprise, or SME. The labels and artists are often represented by trade associ ...
often seek representation with an independent booking agency. Bars and nightclubs that specialize in presenting live music on a regular basis often employ an individual to assemble the schedule of events. This individual is the venue's buyer, and should not be confused with the booking agent, who presents a roster of available acts to the buyer. Booking agents may also have contacts known as free-lance promoters. These are individuals who agree to produce a concert by locating a venue, providing a sound system and assembling a staff. Producing a show in this manner, at a location rented out for a single evening, is called "four-walling", as the process entails renting a venue and receiving no additional services or technical equipment other than the space itself. This has often been the only available option for underground musicians lacking enough popular appeal to gain access to more conventional performance venues (see:
Punk rock Punk rock (or simply punk) is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, ...
), but is also used among the genre of
rave A rave (from the verb: ''wikt:rave#English, to rave'') describes a dance party at a warehouse, club, or other public or private venue, typically featuring performances by Disc jockeys, DJs playing electronic dance music. The style is most asso ...

rave
s and various DJ-related events. The cost factor of having a booking agent must be weighed against what the agent can do for clients and buyers alike. Some agents represent several different types of artists, while others represent artists in one main area/genre. Some music agencies deal exclusively with
cover bands A cover band (or covers band) is a band (music), band that plays songs recorded by someone else, sometimes mimicking the original as accurately as possible, and sometimes re-interpreting or changing the original. These remade songs are known as co ...
, listing exclusive and non-exclusive artists on their rosters. In addition, some agencies will also work with a third-party company to build specific bands using their own database of vetted musicians, whilst other cover band agencies work with
session musicians Session musicians, studio musicians, or backing musicians are musicians hired to perform in recording sessions or live performances. The term sideman A sideman is a professional musician who is hired to perform live with a solo artist, or w ...
, that provide a 'flexible' line up for each act.


Cruise ship industry

Booking agents are also used for the cruise ship industry where several different categories of entertainers are needed. These can include individual musicians to be part of the ship's orchestra, small bands and ensembles as well as variety entertainers such as singers, instrumentalists, magicians, comedians and acrobats. Artists looking to work on cruise ships will sign an employment contract with the cruise line and a separate commission contract with the booking agent. The agent will usually be based in the country of origin for the artist.


Music managers

A music manager (or band manager) handles many career issues for bands, singers, record producers, and DJs. A music manager is hired by a musician or band to help with determining decisions related to career moves, bookings, promotions, business deals, recording contracts, etc. The role of music managers is extensive and may include similar duties to that of a press agent, promoter, booking agent, business manager (who is sometimes a
certified public accountant#REDIRECT Certified Public Accountant {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
), tour managers, and sometimes even a personal assistant. Responsibilities of a business manager are often divided among many individuals who manage various aspects of a musical career. With an unsigned act, music managers must assume multiple roles: booking agent, graphic designer,
publicist A publicist is a person whose job is to generate and manage publicity In marketing Marketing is the process of intentionally stimulating demand for and purchases of goods and services; potentially including selection of a target audience; s ...
, promoter, and accountant. As an artist's career develops, responsibilities grow. A music manager becomes important to managing the many different pieces that make up a career in music. The manager can assist singers, songwriters, and instrumentalists in molding a career, finding music producers, and developing relationships with record companies, publishers, agents, and the music-loving public. The duties of an active music manager will focus on developing a reputation for the musician and building a fan base, which may include mastering and launching a demo CD, developing and releasing press kits, planning promotional activities, and booking shows. A music manager will gain access to a recording studio, photographers, and promotions. He or she will see that CD labels, posters, and promotional materials appropriately represent the band or artist, and that press kits are released in a timely manner to appropriate media. Launching a CD with complementary venues and dates is also a music manager's responsibility.


Online voice talent agents

With the advent of the internet, established and new talent can have a thriving career in the voice over industry through online casting websites. Whilst there are sites that allow any person to join, a new wave of 'professionals only' casting websites is emerging. In an industry where radio and television voice overs can be recorded in home studios because of technology becoming so affordable, high paying jobs are no longer sourced exclusively through traditional voice talent agents.


History

Since the decline in viewership in theaters, from the 1950s to 1960s, a monumental shift occurred in how studios produced films and reduced the cost of exclusive and expensive actors. After the shift, actors and actresses were working for the studios but were not owned by one major studio entity, and so were able to work with other studios. This shift has meant that agents were now seen as a necessity instead of an option. Agents became third parties who negotiated between studios and clients, making the need for the agents' services an imperative for each party. In the 1980s new agencies were established to compete with the "Big five." In 1991 Bauer-Benedek merged with Leading Artists Agency to form what became United Talent Agency. These agencies were Traid Artists and InterTalent. Traid Artist would eventually be sold to
William Morris Agency The William Morris Agency (WMA) was a Hollywood Hollywood is a neighborhood A neighbourhood (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, ...
in 1992, and InterTalent would diminish when its partners dispersed between UTA and ICM in the same year. Hollywood's four major talent agencies are
Creative Artists Agency Creative Artists Agency LLC or CAA is an American talent and sports agency based in Los Angeles Los Angeles (; es, Los Ángeles; "The Angels"), officially the City of Los Angeles and often abbreviated as L.A., is the List of cities and t ...
(CAA),
William Morris Endeavor Endeavor Group Holdings, or simply Endeavor, formerly known as William Morris Endeavor Entertainment (WME or WME-IMG), is an American holding company for talent and media agencies with its primary offices in Beverly Hills, California, United St ...
,
United Talent Agency United Talent Agency (UTA) is a global talent agency Talent has two principal meanings: * Talent (measurement), an ancient unit of mass and value * Talent (skill), a group of aptitudes useful for some activities; talents may refer to aptitudes t ...
(UTA), and
ICM Partners ICM Partners is a talent and literary agency with offices in Los Angeles Los Angeles (; es, Los Ángeles; "The Angels"), officially the City of Los Angeles and often abbreviated as L.A., is the List of cities and towns in California, larg ...
. Except for ICM, each agency has its own affiliated production company, which may hire the agency's clients. In 1989 the three major agencies were William Morris, ICM, and CAA. During the 2000s, the majors were known as the "big five" or "top five". In 2009
Endeavor Talent Agency The Endeavor Talent Agency was a Beverly Hills-based talent agency founded by Ari Emanuel, Rick Rosen, Tom Strickler, and David Greenblatt. It was launched in March 1995 and went on to represent a wide variety of acclaimed film and television stars ...
and William Morris merged.


Difference between agents and managers

The difference between the roles of agents and managers has become smaller and more blurred. A frequent definition of the role of a talent manager is to "oversee the day-to-day business affairs of an artist; advise and counsel talent concerning professional matters, long-term plans and personal decisions which may affect their career."MusicBizAdvice Q&A
January 2008
Considerable overlap exists as talent agents may opt to fill exactly the same roles for their clients out of a financial interest in developing the careers of their talent and currying their favor. Various state laws and labor guild rules govern the roles reserved to agents, as well as specifying certain special rights, privileges, and prohibitions. In the state of California, the labor code requires licensing of talent agencies and includes regulations such as criminal background checks, maintaining separate operating accounts and client trust accounts, and limits total commissions to twenty-five percent, among other regulations. In contrast, management companies are described as "often unregulated." Agents also have certain privileged powers in situations of verbal agreement and can legally agree to a binding employment offer on behalf of their client. A prominent difference between agents and managers under California state law is that licensed talent agents and employment agents are the only entities legally allowed to seek work on behalf of their clients. This legal distinction has enabled artists such as the Deftones, Pamela Anderson, Nia Vardalos, Freddie Prinze Jr., and others to break contracts with their managers and avoid commissions owed according to those contracts by proving "unlicensed procurement" in court.
/ref> Because the enforcement against talent managers procuring work is largely carried out through civil litigation and not criminal penalties, managers directly seek out work in defiance of state laws, as clients out of self-interest will seldom object to them doing so and cases alleging illegal procurement are infrequent. The Writer's Guild, Screen Actor's Guild, and Director's Guild, among labor guilds, strike agency franchise agreements that specify certain regulations and privileges reserved solely for agents including setting maximum commissions at ten percent of a talent's gross earnings. Managers do not face the same restrictions.


See also

*
Talent manager An artist manager (also known as an talent manager, band manager or music manager) is an individual who guides the professional career of artists An artist is a person engaged in an activity related to creating art, practicing the arts, or dem ...
*
Entertainment lawEntertainment law, also referred to as media law, is legal services provided to the entertainment industry Entertainment is a form of activity that holds the attention and Interest (emotion), interest of an audience or gives pleasure and delig ...
*
Literary agent A literary agent is an law of agency, agent who represents writers and their written works to publishers, theatrical producers, film producers, and film studios, and assists in sale and deal negotiation. Literary agents most often represent noveli ...

Literary agent
(writers' agents) *
Modeling agency A modeling agency is a company that represents model (person), fashion models, to work for the fashion industry. These agencies earn their income via commission, usually from the deal they make with the model and/or the head agency. The top agen ...
* Music law *
Sports law "Unprintworthy" redirects are redirect pages on Wikipedia that aid online navigation, but would have little or no value as pointers to target articles in a hard-copy book. The name of a redirect may be unprintworthy for a number of reasons, incl ...


References


Further reading

*Passman, Donald S. ''All You Need To Know About the Music Business: 6th Edition'' *Kerr, Judy, ''Acting Is Everything: An Actor's Guidebook for a Successful Career in Los Angeles'' *Callen, K. ''The Los Angeles Agent Book'' {{DEFAULTSORT:Talent Agent Arts occupations Entertainment occupations