Mediabistro is partnering up with IF Management for a series of TVSpy posts. IF Management, a TVSpy advertiser, is a New York-based on-air media talent representation firm. Each month, IF’s agents and executives will share thoughts, advice and observations about the industry from the perspective of a top talent agency. Got an idea for a topic? Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The most common question from on-air media talent in mid-size markets is “How do I know if I need an agent?” The answer is surprisingly complicated.
It is beneficial to have an advocate, facilitator and negotiator in your corner as you try to move up the ladder in the business. But it’s equally vital to consider if an agent can actually help you in smaller markets — and at what cost?
There are plenty of potential advantages to having an agent. The more knowledge, preparation and connections you have on your side as you move forward in your career, the better. Good agents have experience and knowledge in nearly every area of the industry, from what employers look for in reels or interviews, to the ins and outs of negotiations, to how you should handle yourself online.
But before you enter into an agreement, you should think about what you really need.
The proverbial “end goal” will always be continued growth, whether you’re in market 7 or 207. In the mid-size markets, it’s important to hone your craft and build a solid foundation for your future, rather than placing a primary focus on getting to a bigger market. As long as your agent is helping you do that, you’re getting value from the relationship.
If you’re considering finding a new agent, here are a few tips for finding the right fit for you.
- Meet any agent you’re considering in person. If that is completely unfeasible, set up a video call. Ask a lot of questions to try to get a feel for the agent.
- Get two or three references for the agent. Do your due diligence.
- Sign an agreement without having an attorney review it.
- Rush into an important decision like this. If you feel like you are, take a step back and consider the reasons.
There are many good agents in the industry, and with some patience, homework, and effort, you will improve your chances of finding the right one for you and your career. And just as important, entering into an agreement that makes sense for you now and in the future.
For more from IF Management, find them on Twitter @IFManagement.