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Interview with Talent Manager Annet McCroskey

May 20, 2015

Interview with Talent Manager Annet McCroskey of Artistic Endevors
Published in LVLten Magazine Issue 2 * Winter 2014/15

How long have you been a manager and what inspired you to become one?

I have been a manager for over 10 years. Prior to managing, I started coaching kids in the 90’s at The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, Young Actors Studio (both under Jeff Allen-Lee, who was interviewed in your last issue) and The Studio For Young Actors. We usually referred the really talented kids to agents and saw their careers flourish. I wanted to play a bigger role in their lives and guide their careers more closely. So I switched to  management and never looked back.

What are the main differences between a manager and an agent? Can an actor have both?

When you check IMDB.com, you will see that the vast majority of actors have both an agent and a manager. A manager guides your career, and can help find the best agent for you. They will work hand in hand with your agent in order to strengthen your team. A manager looks out for projects that you are interested in, has relationships with casting directors and producers, and refers you to coaches. We answer the many questions you have every day and make the best decisions as a team. Most importantly, they are  always in your corner looking out for your best interests.

An agent negotiates the contract (with your manager’s input), brainstorms and submits with us. We both get auditions for you. Agents have many more clients – most have hundreds, so it is easy to get lost, especially if you are not a big booker yet. A manager has a lot less clients, so we can focus more on you. Usually you see a big increase in auditions when you add a manager to the team.

Talking percentages, what does a manager receive versus an agent?

A manager receives 10-15% of the gross amount. We usually start a new client at 15% since it is a lot of work to get them into the door. When they renew the contract with us, and they have booked nicely or booked a series regular role, we reduce it to 10% at times. An agent receives 10% for union and 20% for non-union, print, and music.

When does an actor typically need a manager?

I recommend an actor having a manager from the very start. That’s usually when you have a lot of questions that your agent simply does not have time to answer. Your manager will hold your hand. Often agents don’t push a new actor who has never booked anything, since they have to concentrate on their bread and butter clients who book a lot first.  A manager might take more of a chance with you.

What should an actor look for in a great manager how do you find one?

First, check with your agent and see who she likes to work with. Ask other actors who you see at auditions how they like their own manager. Google them, check IMDB - look what their clients book and if they have a track record. Which agents are their clients are signed with and check their website.

Remember anyone can call themselves a manager. There is no licensing or a required background check. Just because someone calls themselves a manager, does not mean they are any good, ethical, or that they have any relationships. Also make sure they have the new Child Services Permit, so that you know they have passed a background check.
Do your research.

Check www.talentmanagers.org for managers who have agreed to work with a code of ethics. You’ll find lists of bios on managers and pictures.  Best way is to talk to current clients and ask them. Most of my clients I get through referrals by current clients, agents, and casting directors.

What do you look for in the clients that you decide to manage?

I look first if they light up the room. It’s the “IT” factor. Are they likable? Do they have a range in their acting ability? Are they unique? Do they give back to the world, and are they givers or takers? I want to see who they are as people - not just actors.

How do you encourage your talent to be proactive in their career?
  • Keep your headshots current every year on the dot. Look like your headshot. Get new ones if you change your haircut, color, or change your weight.
  • Have a valid passport at all times.
  • Get coached before every big audition. Be it guest star or series regular.
  • Take improv classes - I can’t tell you how big of a difference this makes.
  • Attend casting director workshops so they get to know you. You will be much more comfortable going into the room for real auditions when you are familiar with them.
For teens and adults: Intern or be a reader in a casting office. It will give you a whole new familiarity to help get over being nervous. You’ll get the whole picture what casting responds to.

In what ways do parents sabotage their child's career?

Oh vey. All the time!  Not returning phone calls, emails, or texts. Not confirming auditions, and being a no show for auditions. When they turn down huge auditions “Because we have other stuff going on today” but they have not booked out, and can’t seem to say what the other stuff is. “What were you thinking sending us an audition for 5pm on a Friday in Santa Monica? Why would you do this to us?”  One time I asked a little boy who came in to interview (without any credits or reel at all, brand new but I loved his look) to do a monologue or script for me, (as agents and managers usually do, since we need to know if they can act!) and his Mom’s response was, “If you would have any eye for talent you would know that he is a Super Star! He does not have to show you anything!” – Needless to say, the interview was over at that point.

What are some Dos and Don'ts for a healthy actor-manager relationship?
  • Most important is clear communication. Ask when you have any questions- Don’t ever assume.
  • Book out in advance - not 5 minutes before you are supposed to be at an audition.
  • Always have your cell phone on you - and do answer it.
  • Do treat this as a business, not as a hobby.
Remember we believe in you and work for you for free until you book. Keep us updated about any classes or workshops that you are taking. We want to know how you have grown as an actor and any new skills you may have acquired. It helps with pitching.

If you are from out of town, you need to come to LA for several weeks at least once a year. If you never show up for the job, how do you expect to climb up the ladder?

LVLten is a bi-monthly publication available in both print and digital versions, geared towards young performers and their parents.

LVLten is packed full of great celebrity features which include full page fashion editorials , Exclusive LVLten interviews with top teen celebrities where they talk freely about their craft, giving insight into their careers and things they have learned along the way. PLUS Industry-Pro interviews, Q&As and articles with today's top agents, casting directors and more where they discuss everything from dos and don'ts when submitting, how to keep a great agent/client relationship, what to do when you get into the audition room, and much, much more! From acting teachers and other industry veterans, you'll learn the  secrets of the trade from the very best.