Distinguishing Between an Agent & a Manager

In the entertainment industry, it is common to hire a talent agent or a manager to advance one’s career. Many aspiring actors are unsure of the differences between these two roles and which professional service is most beneficial for them. This article will clarify the distinctions between agents and managers and their roles and responsibilities.

Key Takeaways

  • An agent serves as a middleman who represents a pool of talent and seeks work opportunities for them, primarily focusing on earning their 10% commission.
  • A manager takes a more invested approach by providing advice and guidance to their clients, working to promote their careers, and charging a 15% commission.
  • Agents need a license to work in their state, while managers do not.


An agent is a contractor or middleman who represents a group of aspiring actors and actresses. They receive casting notices, or casting breakdowns, which are sent to approved and licensed agents rather than actors directly. Agents often have connections with prominent producers and directors in the industry, and when they secure work for their clients, they receive a 10% commission of the actor’s fee. Agents are primarily focused on their commission and do not take an active interest in their clients’ activities.

Many successful actors, such as Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Denzel Washington, have found success with the help of talent agents.


A manager is more like a personal advisor for their clients, providing guidance and advice in addition to securing work opportunities. Managers work to promote the careers of their clients, focusing on aspects such as preparing their profile and resume and mentoring them on how to navigate the entertainment industry. Like agents, managers have connections in Hollywood and receive casting breakdowns. They charge a 15% commission from their clients, which is paid after the actor receives payment for their work. Elvis Presley’s manager, for example, took 50% of his earnings.

What is the difference between Agent and Manager?

  • An agent is primarily focused on earning their 10% commission and is not as invested in the career development of their clients as a manager, who charges a 15% commission.
  • Managers promote their clients’ careers by providing advice, working on their strengths, and guiding them through the industry.
  • Agents work for talent agencies and present their pool of talent when casting breakdowns are received, while managers take a more personalized approach to their clients’ careers.
  • Agents arrange auditions for aspiring actors, who pay when they are signed by a producer or director.
  • Agents require a license to work in their state, whereas managers do not.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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