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Talent Manager

The Real Poop

You don't want to act yourself—goodness no. You just love actors—you appreciate that warm, open, genuine way they have about them—and you want to be surrounded by them every minute of every day. Sure. That's your story and you’re stickin' to it.

If you're a talent manager, chances are that you either tried and failed to make it as an actor yourself, or otherwise worked your way into the business, made some connections, and realized you might be able to make a pretty penny representing the owners of those obnoxious egos you encounter on a daily basis. There's nothing wrong with babysitting these adults—there's the allure of a lot of money in Hollywood, and there are much safer routes to financial independence than trying to eke your way into a small role in the next Miramax picture, that's for sure.

But what in the world does a talent manager do? Well, they don't generally spend their time trying to help find actors work—that’s the agent's job. A manager is more of an actor's second mother—guiding them through the steps of pursuing their acting career, overseeing their daily affairs, and providing counsel whenever needed, on matters personal or professional. Depending on how far they want to go, they may also tuck the talent in at night and read them a bedtime story. Even if that bedtime story is the script for a hot new rom-com.

So what's the day-to-day for a manager like? If you've got a troubled client—say, some drugged out former child star who needs your guidance—maybe you drive him to rehab. Or you're his one phone call and you have to go bail him out of prison (that's okay—he'll pay you back later). When he's ready to talk, you're there for him. You invite him into your home, get him something to drink (non-alcoholic), let him bare his soul to you. Then you take an active role in setting him straight. Hook him up with a great acting class that can help him rediscover his love of acting. Push him into yoga—it's done wonders for you.

Or you may have a client who needs less hand-holding but takes up even more of your time. What if your client is Meryl Streep? Now your job is less about making her feel emotionally secure and more about handling the zillion things she's got her hands in. You set up a signing for her new autobiography. Arrange for an interview. Accompany her to a premiere. Help her sort out her finances or start a budget. You know what an extravagant, reckless spender Meryl is.

Your success, of course, depends on whom you manage. You’re taking a cut of whatever they make, so the better they're doing, the better you’re doing. The potential is good to make quite a nice salary just by riding the coattails of your clients. In fact, if your clients are wearing coattails in the first place, you're probably doing quite well.