You Know You Have a Manager
When You Have a Manager!
“If you have a good manager, you’ll feel like you have a best friend.”
–Andy Rooney, Manager/Midwest Talent
I remember someone telling me, after I was going through a “relationship breakup,” You’ll know when you’re in a relationship when you’re in a relationship. I had to stop and think, What was I in, if it wasn’t a relationship? Over time, I understood the profound meaning of this statement. A true, healthy relationship is a trusting partnership, it’s a give and take, it’s not about me, me, me, that’s not a relationship, that’s a battleship!
Andy Rooney, my manager, says it best, “I have a 100% trust when I sign a person. If we work great together, that trust stays at 100% otherwise it starts to decline. Trust can be redeemed, but if it doesn’t, then it’s not worth it and I have to drop the client.”
Before I chat with Andy, let me share how we met. After I returned from being an HSN Host in St. Petersburg, Florida, I received a text, out of the blue, from Andy Rooney asking if I would be interested in working with him. I have never had a manager seek me out. His excitement and professionalism made me instantly say yes and within a short time I was in San Diego doing a photo shoot on the beach then being flown to the East Coast to shoot a commercial in the snow! I worked on the TV shows, Murder Book and Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall, without even having to audition! Andy Rooney is by far one of the hardest working managers I know, he is not only kind, caring, and a team player with a great sense of humor, but, get this…he picks up the phone!
Here’s my conversation with Andy.
Me: Hi Andy, I first want to say that I never knew what it meant to have a manager until I had you as a manager; you manage my career. Being with agents most of my career, I never really understood the difference.
Andy: A manager is more like a good friend you have in the industry, helping and guiding you. When I sign a client I have a big picture of the person I bring on and I work really hard for them. I work one on one with my clients, getting to know them personally by brain-storming, making suggestions, taking a hands-on approach when it comes to getting the best photographer, headshot, and any other tools my client needs. I set up my talent’s profile, submit or pitch my talent. My goal is to get you the audition, then it’s up to you to book the job. We work as a team and get to know one another really well. I also use “Whatsapp” which is a great way to stay in communication. There are managers that work by themselves, but, it helps to have an assistant. At Midwest Talent, I have a great team behind me.
Me: I can relate to that, I would get a call from my agent only when I booked a job. Speaking of agents, I wanted to get a commercial agent and you set up an appointment for me and now I am signed with a top commercial agent. That’s another benefit of having a manager.
Andy: Yes, I will do whatever I can to work with my client and get them work.
Me: Lets talk about work. I pay you 15% commission, whether you got me the audition or if I self-submitted. I know actors that try to get away with not paying or telling their manager they booked a job. What are your thoughts about that?
Andy: Actors have a way of justifying why they shouldn’t pay a manager. I work for free, until my talent books a job and I still don’t get paid until my talent gets paid. Imagine you are the owner of your business and you hire a manager to help your business grow; you would pay that manager, but in acting, the talent doesn’t pay the manager until they get paid by the client. I like to compare a manager to a Real Estate broker, they show homes all day long, imagine, after working really hard for their client, their client decides to go straight to the broker? All that work the Real Estate broker did was not compensated. So, when you do book on your own or through a friend, there is that relationship that you’ve created with your manager and it’s good karma to pay your back office, so to speak.
Me: I believe a poverty mind set will keep actors exactly there. Every actor should intern for just a week with a manager to understand all the work that goes on, behind the scenes, on their behalf everyday, without their manager getting paid
Andy: I started off as an intern with Midwest over 10 years ago. It taught me the business, the breakdowns, the submissions, the pitches, consultation, getting the tools together. There is so much work that is invested in the talent before they walk into that door.
Me: I love that you are a big fan in promoting your talent. You have a facebook page with over 5000 followers, including casting directors and industry folk. Whenever I or any of your clients booked a job, you’ve blogged about it.
Andy: It’s about visibility. It’s good to blog, it keeps my talent seen, accessible and working, which brings on more work.
Me: Besides being a manager, you also have another business called Exact Digital, tell us about that.
Andy: I got a degree in photography and digital imaging. I worked in Atlanta and Miami as a photographer for an advertising company before moving to LA where I worked for ISGO for many years and then transitioned out and started my own Retouching and Printing company. So, I know what the industry is interested in; I know what headshot will work. Through my company, Exact Digital, I retouch and print headshots at a good cost to actors, knowing what labs are charging.
Me: Do you have to be a client to use your services?
Andy: No, any actor can contact me for these services at Exact Digital.
Me: Over the years, what have you seen as one of your biggest obstacles?
Andy: Trying to get the tools to represent my clients. I have to do a lot of asking which is a lot of time wasted. When I know my clients need fresh new headshots, they come up with so many excuses. One client told me he would get new headshots when he booked a great job? Your headshot is your calling card, if I don’t have that, then it will take that much longer for you to book that great job. The faster I can get your tools, the quicker we can all make money.
Me: That makes sense, I know I have used money as an excuse before, but, like you mentioned earlier, if I am the owner of my business and you are my manager, then we need to work together as a team. I need to trust you 100% as you did the moment you signed me on as your client.
By the way, can an actor contact you if they are looking for a manager?
Me: I just have to tell you, I know what it feels like to have a manager, because I have a manager. Thank you, Andy!
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