By the end of this article, you'll know the biggest differences between agents and managers, plus which one you should get depending on where you're at in your career.
If you want to get an agent, check out How to Get an Acting Agent: The Ultimate Guide.
Agent vs. Manager
Martin Bentsen (author of this guide) is an actor marketing coach who uses “outside the industry” thinking to help actors book more work. He’s helped over 6,000 actors with their careers and actor headshots since 2009 and his photography studio City Headshots is ranked #1 on Yelp. He’s spoken at NYU, The New England Theater Conference, The Actor’s Green Room, and other venues.
Want to book more acting work by thinking different? Start with his free Actor’s Toolkit to create new opportunities right away, or visit his website at www.martinbentsen.com.
Can an agent also be a manager?
Legally, agents can be managers. They CAN make recommendations of who to go to for headshots and other services but they are NOT allowed to take a cut. They can also advise their clients on how best to grow their career. The reason most don't is that financially it doesn't really make sense because it's not an effective use of their time.
Can a manager also be an agent?
Legally the talent manager job description does NOT allow them to be an agent. Unless they receive an agent's license (but still call themselves a manager), they are not really supposed to submit their clients for work. That being said, many still do, but most of the time the work they find is through normal casting websites that the actor would have access to. Unlicensed managers cannot access Breakdown Services, Ltd., where network-level roles are posted.
What is the difference between a manager and an actor?
A manager is someone who helps an actor grow their career. A manager is not an actor themselves.
What can an agent do that is illegal for a manager?
When to comes to agent vs. manager, an agent can legally submit an actor for work and negotiate contracts on their behalf. A manager cannot legally do this, though many do it anyway because it is rare for the government to crack down on them.