Okay. Talent Agents, Booking Agents, Managers...What they can and can't do and why they aren't lawyers.

Very Generally,


As an actor or model you are a sole proprietor or business entity and should treat yourself as such. Just like lawyers you are selling your time and delivering your craft. However, the transfer of goods and services is the same whether you are selling plate lunches or your ace performance.

Hawaii is the wild west when it comes to licensing for managers, talent agents, booking agents and the aforementioned agencies.


A talent manager, also known as a "manager", is one who guides the career of artists in the entertainment business. The duty of the talent manager is to oversee the day to day business affairs of an artist; to advise and counsel talent about professional matters and personal decisions which may affect their career.


A young model or actor will often start with a manager because agents are reluctant to sign untested talent.


A talent agent on the other hand.

Stands in the Actor’s shoes and is their representation

Negotiates contracts (see why aren’t they lawyers below)

Books the assignment on the Actor’s behalf

May do the invoicing and distributes payment to the Actor.


An actor or model may have several agents but should only have one manager. Most importantly the agent has apparent authority. Meaning, the law may hold the actor liable for the acts of the agent done on their behalf unless the actor notifies the other parties of a termination in the agency relationship.


Usually an agent specializes in a particular market, such as commercials because that is their primary client base. Yet an actor might be interested in acting in feature films. A good manager promotes the entertainer in all the areas where the actor has an interest and locates or has relationships with agents that specialize in that market.


Casting directors are hired by the producers and directors to audition talent for roles. Their job is to find, screen and get the best talent to the producer and director for the final hiring. They also know how to negotiate and finalize the talent's contracts (see why aren’t they lawyers below), however, they are not representing you and they are not your agent. This is an area where many actor’s have problems. Because of their relationship with a casting director they may assume the casting director is representing them. The casting director is representing the producers and directors. It is your agent's and your duty to get your photos and resume in front of casting directors.


Booking agents work in the middle ground between artists and their fan base. For example booking agents for actors arrange for that actor’s appearance at certain venues, events, meet and greets, product endorsements, etc.

In the industry manager, talent agent, casting director, booking agent are often mixed and matched and there is even a trend that shows many agents are labeling themselves as managers in an effort to circumvent onerous and restrictive agency requirements and licensing.


So...Why aren’t all these persons lawyers?

The number one reason why Talent Agents, Booking Agents and Managers aren’t lawyers is because lawyers are pessimistic people. Agents, Casting Directors and Managers are happy optimistic people. Lawyers are trained from the time they are little Keiki lawyers to look for everything that can and will go wrong. Others in the entertainment business are looking at everything that is going to go so right, like your big break and the $$. There is no area of law where pessimism is more important than Contracts law. In fact, the entire area of Contracts law is focused on what will happen when everything goes down the tubes. Unfortunately, there is antediluvian language like force majeure, liquidated damages and impracticability used to describe what happens when things go down the tubes and that is where pessimistic lawyers come in.


That leads us to our second reason:

If you want to test the second reason why Talent Agents, Booking Agents and Managers aren’t lawyers just ask your agent or manager to describe to you the six (6) legal elements required of every contract. This may be a wake up call for the both of you. However, ask yourself: How can this person be negotiating or relying on a document when they are unaware of the most basic elements required to make that document a legally binding contract? This is not meant to be an unattractive assessment of agents or managers. God forbid everyone become an awful lawyer.

Hope this helps to inform for your next gig! ALOHA

Views: 50

Replies to This Discussion

Very informative and helpful posting. I hope everyone reads this. I know I just when through a Sisyphean task of cutting ties with a very bad agency here in Hawaii and getting my contract with them canceled. Crawling from Kona to Hilo would have been easier and less painful. Now I fear they're badmouthing me and "blacklisting" me to former clients.
I truly appreciate your honest assessment of the different roles these entities play in an actor's or entertainer's career. I agree that everyone should read this posting and learn the truth. Again, mahalo!


Hawaii Actors Network hawaiiactors@gmail.com Text/Phone 808-971-1553

Welcome to HAN




Trending In Hawaii's Film Industry

  • Add Photos
  • View All

Casting Announcements

Hawai Film Industry Pinterest

Find some of Hawaii'

Find some of Hawaii's amazing talent. #Hawaiihastalent FilmingInHawaii.com

Welcome with Aloha |

Welcome with Aloha | Follow HAN Hawaii Actors Network on Facebook

Keep working on your

Keep working on your dreams and you will find success.

Hawaii's Film Industry Favorite places

Hawaii Film Industry Social Connections

                  O Magazine

Hawaii Community Media


Olelo Community Media

Join Us In Celebrating National Volunteer Week On April 21st-27th

“Volunteerism is the voice of the people put into action. These actions shape and mold the present into a future of which we can all be proud.”  ~ Helen Dyer Volunteerism is what ‘Ōlelo Community Media is built upon. For nearly 24 years,  ‘Ōlelo Volunteers have dedicated thousands of hours assisting with community production work, mentoring […]

Youth Xchange Marathon: A New Record, 658 YXC Entries Premiering This Weekend

Gather your students, get your popcorn, sit down and be prepared to be entertained by this year’s ‘Olelo Youth Xchange Video Competition’s  658 amazing entries presented by Sony.  The time will fly by as the students demonstrate their creativity and express their views of the issues facing our state. This year’s record number of entries, […]

‘Olelo Kaimuki Community Media Center Grand Opening

Come see our newest community media center (cmc) at Kaimuki High School on Wednesday, February 27th. This cmc replaces ‘Olelo’s facility at Jarrett Middle School and represents an exciting new partnership with Kaimuki High School and DOE TeleSchool Branch. We hope you can join us in celebrating this new chapter in our service to Oahu […]

Mayoral Inauguration LIVE on ‘Olelo, January 2nd at 10am

‘Olelo Community Media will cablecast the historic joint inauguration of incoming Mayor Kirk Caldwell and newly elected Honolulu City Council members Ikaika Anderson, Ann Kobayashi, Ron Menor, Kymberly Pine and Joey Manahan on Wednesday, January 2nd. The one-hour ceremony will air live on ‘Olelo Channel O‘AHU 55 starting at 10 a.m. It will also be […]


‘Ōlelo Community Media will cablecast LIVE the public viewing of Senator Daniel K. Inouye as he lies in state at the State Capitol on Saturday, Dec. 22 from 5pm through midnight. According to Governor Abercrombie, at the request of the late Senator Inouye’s family, the cablecast will be aired without commentary. TV Broadcast: Saturday Dec. […]

Tweet Hawaii Actors


© 2018   Created by Hawaii Film Industry.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service