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martin ewen 05-01-10 11:31 PM

multi tiered agents
I have a potential microsoft gig. I respect the agent who offered it to me for a variety of reasons. He's upfront, he's working to make my experience streamlined and even secured me another potential gig days later to soften the travel expenses, he has my interests at heart.

My question is. the agent above him, and the agent above him once removed before the client.
What's their point?
Because from my perspective they are simply circle jerk leeches, or clinging little superfluous middle management dingleberries costing the client and costing me and adding absolutely no value whatsoever to the equation.
How does an agent, who has no direct contact with either the client or the talent justify their cut?
How do they add value?

In whose interests, other than their own, do they exist?
Surely the client in the longterm, in whatever corporate consultancy efficiency review which is a standard fixture of the environment has been made aware of this pointless vampirism.

I would rather pay someone to suck their own cock than pay these people, at least I'd get some small measure of value that way.
I'm sure they have a glib justification for their existance.
Anyone heard how these self insinuating middlemen justify themselves?

martin ewen 05-01-10 11:39 PM

I'm not talking about performer/agent hybrids who get double booked and pass on the lesser gig and take a cut. That to me is cool. They provide something to others, an opportunity.
I'm talking about what is self evidently non productive cost increasing or fee reducing hollow commercial entities.

Isabella 05-02-10 12:16 AM

They add value through connections and removing hassle from both ends.

Big Canadian Company hires Party Planner to run event.
Party Planner rents hall, arranges catering, dj, and entertainment - Party Planner takes over hours of labor, and hours are also shorter because Party Planner does this all the time and Big Canadian Company doesn't. Party Planner has a reputation of doing this kind of job with Big Canadian Company or other Big Companies, so Big Canadian Company knows they can be trusted to do the job correctly the first time.
Party Planner hires me to provide acts - I take over hours of labor, and hours are shorter because I know more circus people than they do.
I hire acts - acts are saved having to send out promo packets to many party planners, and don't have to arrange own travel, meals, etc, so can concentrate on doing acts.

So I think part of it is that each level of the "tree" takes care of more things than just their direct next person down, and part of it is that it's easier to delegate to someone who knows the area of planning than to do it oneself.

There are some agents who just book downwards, and in that case the client is paying for connections because they are busy, lazy, or both.

I frequently chuck jobs to my business manager for her to further delegate - sure, I could spend my time finding the third level of people who can get the job done, but I'd rather pay her for her time instead of using my time to make it happen. In the end, the net gain is that I spend more time doing things only I can do - like perform my act - and she spends time doing things that can be delegated.

martin ewen 05-02-10 07:51 AM

would not your business manager be paid via their cut rather than as you say. " I pay my business manager to...'?
A party planner and a casting agent are two different things, 3 casting agents in a tier is I agree about 'connections' the agent in the middle is technically redundant and a financial drain on the process. number three agent knows who number one agent is but the protocol's are such and accepted that 3 has to go through 2.
Thanks for the response though. I would say my rage is mitigated by about 20%.

Evan Young 05-04-10 11:32 AM

3 layers of "agent" seems like too many. I think 2 should be enough. it should be client -> event planner -> agent -> talent. When my agent gets calls from other agencies to borrow talent rosters they split the fee, usually 10/10% from the cost of the show (20% agent cut is fairly standard in my world).

*I don't do much corporate at all, lots of college, so I'm kind of just talking without knowing a whole lot about what I'm saying.

I don't understand the performer/agent hybrid. I have plenty of stuff to do for my own show, why would I spend my time filling out contracts for other shows when I could just pass on a phone number or website, or just send them to my college agent. Frankly, I don't even do my own negotiations most of the time, if I get a contact through my website I forward it to my college agent and she does it for me.... and she usually gets me more money than I would have asked for.
Isabella is right, do the job you're good at and delegate the rest.

elbonko 05-05-10 12:10 AM

2's company, 3's still a gig
Martin, if, in the future, it would make you feel better to do so, you can refuse to take the "3 layer agent" gigs as a protest and then pass them on to me. Hell, take a cut and make it 4 layer. 'Long as I gets my money, it's all good to me.


Isabella 05-05-10 09:28 PM


Originally Posted by martin ewen (Post 57012)
would not your business manager be paid via their cut rather than as you say. " I pay my business manager to...'?

Thanks for the response though. I would say my rage is mitigated by about 20%.

I pay her by the hour :) She handles things like the mailing list and the website, and is learning to book gigs. The delegating thing I mean is when, say, I'd like someone to transfer 40 mini-dv's to dvd. I could go find that person myself - but it's less tedious to ask her to do it for me, I get the result of the job without the hassle of finding someone to delegate it to, and the hour it would have taken me I can spend doing something that is either higher-paying or that only I can do.

And she mitigates my rage about 20%.

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