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This is the second in a series of articles on how to find agents for entertainers. Read the previous article on “Working with Show Bookers & Agents for Entertainers” here.
Finding agents for entertainers in today’s business environment is not very difficult. You will market to agents with a variety of marketing tools. Your website, video channel, social media, act, word of mouth marketing, networking, PR and direct marketing efforts will all be utilized to get you in contact with agents.
Get recommendations from fellow entertainers that you meet. Most entertainers (of a different art form) are generally helpful and will point you in the right direction and may even recommend you directly to agents that they work with.
A significant number of agents will also find you on their own. Good agents are always on the lookout for new and fresh quality talent that they have not had a chance to work with.
For example, a large percentage of my international work easily comes from agents who find me through my website and YouTube channel. So, it is very important to have a good website and video channel as you will be judged based on these marketing platforms.
Some countries and markets organize showcases where you get a slot to present part of your act to try to impress agents who will then “put you in their books”. If you are new to a market, this may be something you want to consider.
You would want an agent like Ari Gold, from the TV show “Entourage” to represent you.
What You Should Look for in an Agent
In my previous article in this series, I discussed what an agent looks for in an entertainer. There is also the other side of this dialectic relationship. Just as it is important for you to put in effort and work well with agents, I also firmly believe that the agent has to put in the effort and work well with you.
An agent is your industry partner and as mentioned, both parties work together to provide a good product to the end client. You are on the same team.
Both of you are equally important in the team. Without you, the agent has no show to sell. Without the agent, you may not be able to book shows in certain markets.
As such, both parties must work to make your show look good. In fact, both parties work for each other. Some lower-level agents do not understand this relationship. They think they only work for the client and service the client’s needs. In actual fact, an agent also works for you.
A good entertainer, especially one who wants to book Big Money Shows, will have high standards and require (deserve) all the support he/ she needs in order to do a great show. Your agent is supposed to ensure that you get everything you need. That is their job! It is not a favour. They earn a profit or commission off you so they have to work for it.
There are many excellent highly professional and competent agents in every single country. However, just like any industry, there are a couple of bad eggs.
In the first half of my career, I worked with a number of lower-end agents that have very low standards, little professionalism and a poor work ethic. But, I now know that is also probably why they booked me in the first place. They wanted acts that were “good enough”, did not charge a high fee and were “easy to work with”; that is, had no riders.
Obviously, when I was starting out, my show was not a quality differentiated product and I did not have the demands and technical requirements I need now.
However, as I evolved as a Big Money Shows entertainer and improved my standing in the industry, I outgrew these lower-end agents. I required agents that were used to catering to higher end clients and markets. Such agents also had worked with international artistes and understood what riders were and how important it is to provide an entertainer what is needed to do a high-level show.
You are a reflection on your agents so the quality of your show reflects on them. However, the opposite is true as well.
When you first start out as an entertainer, you will and must work with anyone. You cannot be picky and it is part of the learning process. However, as you grow as a entertainer, you must work with agents that have the same standards and desire to present a high quality product to the client and audience.
Here are some warning signs to let you know that an agent may not be fit to represent you. The agent:
- Cannot recognize your value even though you have a quality differentiated product
- Does not respect you and thinks you owe him/ her a living
- Cannot ensure you get proper technical support to do your best show
- Does not think technical support is essential to stage a show
- Tries to make more money than you when selling your show to a client
- Does not make timely payments
- Lies to you
- Lies to the client
For the record, the above are all legitimate reasons why I have stopped working with certain agents. In the event, I really have to work with them, I increase my fee and insist on payment 3 days before the show (for the cheque to clear).
If you found value in this two-article post, check out my book “The Showbiz Master Plan” that is a live entertainer’s blueprint to creating a money-generating brand, making a consistent 6-figure income and setting up for retirement. It also includes a whole chapter on how to price and negotiate Big Money shows.