CHOOSING A CAREER / JUL. 25, 2014
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How to Become an Entertainment Agent

Also known as talent managers, entertainment agents play a significant role in bringing great performances, songs and scripts to the public. They use their well-developed business sense to market and support the careers of singers, stunt performers, poets, TV presenters and actors. If you are a competent negotiator with excellent interpersonal skills, it is high time you learnt what it takes to become an entertainment agent!

The Work

The main focus of entertainment agents’ is to secure the best-paying work for their clients. They do this by;

  • Maintaining contact with key industry professionals, including promoters, venue managers, lawyers, TV executives and PR managers.
  • Negotiating contracts and collecting fees, commissions and other payments for their clients
  • Keeping records and preparing financial statements periodically for their clients
  • Working on work permits and travel arrangements for their clients
  • Advising clients on financial and legal matters, such as tax remittance and contractual rights and obligations.

Apart from attending to the needs of their clients, entertainment agents also spend time marketing their own services to win more clients, as well as staying up to date with industry trends.

Work Environment

Entertainment agents are mainly office-based, where they work from 8am to 5pm, holding meetings with clients and contacting prospective employers. Agents representing foreign performers need to be flexible, since they may have to stay up late or wake early to contact clients in other time zones.

Entertainment agents also travel a lot, especially when they need to hold face-to-face meetings with clients.

Salary

Entertainment agents usually charge between 10 to 25 percent of the total worth of the work they secure for the clients. Therefore, established agents with many clients have a higher earning potential. On average, entertainment agents earn the following amounts annually:

Career level

Annual pay

Beginning agents

£15,000 - £30,000 or more

Established agents

Over £100,000

Source: National Careers Service

Entry Requirements

There are two common routes of entry into this profession.

You could start as an administrator in an entertainment agency or artist management company to gain the necessary experience and contacts needed to make it on your own. To secure an administrator’s position, however, you will need to earn a postsecondary qualification in any of the following areas.

  • Accounting and administration
  • Media or performing arts
  • Event management
  • Business management.

Alternatively, if you are a professional performer, you could draw on your experience of being managed to break into entertainment management.

Important Skills and Abilities

To be a successful entertainment agent, you should have;

  • A good business sense and negotiating skill to secure profitable contracts
  • Excellent communication skills – you can learn one or two foreign languages
  • Strong organizing skills to deal with clients’ details effectively
  • The ability to make contacts and positive working relationships with people
  • A keen attention to detail to handle information coming from different contacts
  • A strong interest in the media entertainment industry.

Career Development

As an entertainment agent, you would usually begin by working for entertainment agencies and artist management firms. After developing professional networks, gaining sufficient experience and saving enough capital, you can move on to establish your own agency.

To gain professional recognition, you can join agents’ trading associations such as;

Entertainment agents managing solo musicians or music bands can join the Music Manager’s Forum to access its training schemes and network with other industry players.

Job Opportunities

There are two ways to work as an entertainment agent. You can find a job in an entertainment agency or artist management company, or venture into self-employment.

Useful Links

Success Tip

In this industry, a good reputation is worth more than your academic qualifications. It is important to engage in honest and straightforward deals. This could help you grow your list of clients.

Image Sourced: The New York Times

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