10 QUESTIONS ENTERTAINERS MUST ASK BEFORE SIGNING A TALENT MANAGEMENT CONTRACT
There is no gain stressing the significant role Talent Managers, Agencies, and Management Companies, play in the careers of talented individuals in the entertainment industry.
Every Michael Jackson, Lionel Messi, Denzel Washington, Kenny Blaq, and other known successful cultural icons need equally excellent supporting casts that can help chart a progressive route to growth, profitability, and longevity. At the core of this supporting cast is a Talent Manager.
In simple terms, Talent Managers organize and advance the careers of talented individuals. They are important in the scheme of things, as they are known to possess an eye for talent and an ability to create bankable stars, which may include actors, artists, musicians, or athletes. They are responsible for seeking job opportunities for clients and representing your clients’ interests during the negotiation of contracts.
In view of the above, talents in the creative industry, entertainers, filmmakers, record producers, and others, must seek answers to certain pertinent questions before surrendering their careers to a talent manager.
Here are 10 questions entertainers should ask before signing a Talent Management Contract.
- HOW LONG WILL THIS RELATIONSHIP LAST?
For a new relationship, the shorter the term, the better. Most Management Agreements come with an initial term (one year), with an option to extend duration if both parties find the relationship mutually beneficial. If during the initial term, all or most expectations were met, parties can negotiate for extension. Talents must ensure that there is clarity on the duration of a management relationship. This will help them avoid being stuck in a lengthy unfavorable contract.
- IS THERE A PROBATIONARY PERIOD?
The Talent/Manager relationship is an intimate one. As such, parties must maintain the enthusiasm and passion needed to make the relationship profitable. It is advisable to agree to a trial period during which time the parties will commit to exploring the depth of the newly established relation on a personal note, creative-wise or with respect to business.
If at the end of the trial period the enthusiasm has been deflated, or the expectations crushed, parties may decide to terminate the relationship. It is advisable Talents insist on a probationary period in their talent management contracts.
- WHAT IS THE EXPERTISE OF THE MANAGER?
What a Talent expects from his manager is largely dependent on where he is positioned as Talent in his industry and his level of relevance and notoriety.
As there are different types of talents with diverse areas of strength and weaknesses, same applies to Managers. The expertise a Manager possesses is central to achieving set objectives for the benefit of the Talent.
- WILL THE MANAGER DOUBLE AS PUBLICIST?
The management contract should give clarity as to whether the manager would go beyond the call of duty to double as a publicist. By virtue of experience, some talent managers can help manage relationships with the media, arranging interviews, charity events, media parleys and public appearances. For a new talent with limited budget, it is advisable to agree on whether the manager would serve in both capacities or if it is clear cut that a publicist should be hired.
- WHAT PERCENTAGE OF MY EARNINGS GO TO THE MANAGER?
A standard management fee ranges from 10% – 20%. However, the rate is open to negotiation and will depend on the stature of the parties, and other variables. There are many channels of revenue (tours, album sales, label advances, licensing and merchandising) from which a manger may earn. Therefore, there must be clarity on the remuneration of the Manager.
- GEOGRAPHICAL REPRESENTATION.
Every Talent wants globally dominance. This could cause strategic building of relationships that could help actualize this. If Talents want representation covered in different interested markets, it is advisable to negotiate contracts specific to such territories. This means Talents must find managers who have knowledge and mastery of the preferred markets, and can properly represent their interests.
This point should be given utmost consideration when negotiating and executing a management agreement.
- WHO RECEIVES PAYMENT FROM BUYERS OF SERVICES?
Many managers do not want to collect the money and be required to prepare and tender accounting statements to an artiste. The artiste in turn may feel completely comfortable relying on the manager to collect such monies. This should be agreed upon by both parties.
- HOW LONG SHOULD THE MANAGER CONTINUE TO RECEIVE COMMISSION?
It is important to agree on when a manager stops receiving commissions after the expiration of the management. While some may stop receiving commissions after the expiration of contract, others might intend to continue to receive commissions on transactions brokered during the duration of a work relationship. Parties should make sure there is mutual understanding on this point.
- IS THERE ANY PROVISION FOR A POWER OF ATTORNEY?
An artist management contract will often contain a provision which seeks to grant the artist manager a power of attorney. The purpose of this is to allow the manager to sign documents and contract on behalf of the artist, as if he or she were personally signing the document. It is advisable for an artiste to grant only a Limited Power of Attorney; while talents don’t want to hinder their manager’s job, they can control how this power of attorney is wielded by adding a clause to the contract that stipulates that for certain types of transactions, the manager must obtain written consent before any such transactions or decisions are made.
- HOW WILL THE MANAGER’S EXPENSES BE COVERED?
An agreement should be reached on how expenses will work. Talents don’t have to pay for manager’s phone costs or office costs or business trips, or they might have to.
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