“How do I get a manager?” is a question that I often receive.
When I answer the question, I can only talk from my experience. I wouldn’t want you to think that I’m an expert, but I do know a thing or two about it. The most important thing I know is that a manager is not something ‘you go and get,’ :)
The first rule of signing up with a manager or agent in the film industry is never to sign anything. A contract between talent and management is verbal and is sealed with a handshake (always).
My tips and thoughts on how to get a manager are as follows. Put your electric pickup truck in rear gear and stack it with a grain of salt.
I have had the opportunity to work with three different managers in my career. The first one was satisfactory, but they tried to keep me in a contract when I wanted to end it. The second manager was excellent, then after ten years I recently switched to a new management company. My experiences with these managers have been varied and have taught me the importance of finding a manager who aligns with my goals and values as an artist. But I would also be the first to admit, that my goals have been vague and ever-shifting over the years, hence not making the manager’s life easy.
In this case, when I’m talking managers, I’m referring to the ones that reside in Hollywood. There are also great management companies in Europe, but I don’t know them too well.
The answer to the question, of how to find a manager comes in two answers.
The first answer, is a vague one, but should be encouraging, is to not worry about it and focus on your craft. By working on your skills and building a strong portfolio of work, you will naturally attract the attention of potential managers. Instead of actively seeking out a manager, let your talent and dedication to your craft speak for itself, and opportunities for representation will come to you.
The second answer is more practical — it is complicated to find a manager, but you can do it with some precision and focus on the parts that you control.
If I was out there today, wanting to get my work to a manager. I’d focus on identifying places where managers look for material, managers are always looking for something that has ‘heat’ (a number of eyes watching it/awards & prestige):
- A-list festivals (if your film gets selected for one, that’s a sign of quality).
- Create a kick-ass short film, browse for short film festivals to see if it can win awards, and gather some ‘heat.’
- Make a short film, or a concept sequence (pre-trailer for a concept, scene from my script) and focus on getting as many views on it on social media to generate heat.
Sidebar on documentaries: it is rare to get a manager from making a documentary making unless it gets into an A-level film festival (Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Sundance, Toronto, etc).
The first rule of signing up with a manager or agent in the film industry is never to sign anything. A contract between talent and management is verbal and is sealed with a handshake.
So, the takeaway suggestion here is; focus on your craft and artistic voice — that’s what you’re going to wake up with, and die with — how much you developed your talent through life. Actively looking for a manager is like social media, spending too much time there can distract you from developing your talent.