July 14, 2024

Behind the Curtain: navigating the turbulent terrain of the Entertainment Industry

Written by Terence Rodia, the Director of YOU Management

In recent years, the entertainment industry has been somewhat ‘turbulent’.  Following a global pandemic which saw various restrictions from physical contact to limitations on audience size and the requirement of face masks; the world of performance both live and recorded, faced a series of setbacks.  According to UK Music, the fallout from COVID-19 resulted in a staggering 35% drop in employment within the industry, wiping out 69,000 jobs between 2019 and 2020 alone.

As the world gradually recovers, a wave of eager performers, fresh graduates and aspiring artists, are now poised to step into the limelight in hopes of pursuing their careers. However, according to 2023 figures supplied by the UK Government, there has been a major drop in job roles within performing and visual arts, [311,000 to 276,000 between April 2022 and March 2023], resulting in a loss of 35,000 positions in music, performing and visual arts – an 11.3% year-on-year decline.

It is therefore, of little surprise to find out that a large majority of performers are out of work, with 85% of actors remaining unemployed at any given time, leaving only a slim 15% with full-time positions in their chosen profession, as reported by GITNUX MARKETDATA REPORT 2024.

With fewer jobs and an ever-expanding talent pool, performers need not only the drive but the knowledge, and expertise to beat the masses and become one of the few. As such, aspiring performers must explore new ways to open the doors to the industry and uncover the benefits and exclusive opportunities that can come from talent management.

Getting your foot through the door!

The term ‘it’s who you know’ has long been connected to the industry, but is there some truth to it?

Through their many years of industry and marketing experience, talent agents bring to the table a treasure trove of established connections with casting directors and audition panels, making access to decision-makers more accessible.

Having cultivated these strong working relationships, casting directors like to work closely with certain agencies that they recognise as maintaining a high standard of reputable talent and will even go directly to the agency before deciding who to invite for an audition.

This means that securing representation can serve as a literal foot in the door to an audition and unlock exclusive opportunities that might otherwise remain out of reach.

Security and support

Professional talent representation offers performers invaluable support and security.

Acting as intermediaries between clients and the industry, talent agents handle all aspects of their clients’ careers. This expertise is particularly crucial during contract negotiations, where agents leverage their knowledge and negotiation skills to ensure their clients receive the best possible deal.

In addition, Talent agents go beyond just the ‘job description’. In a cut throat industry like entertainment, having someone on your side who is invested in your success can be a major driving force.

Dedicated to seeing you succeed, Talent agents can provide emotional support to help performers cope and offer honest feedback, practical advice, and guidance to help clients bounce back stronger from setbacks.

In an environment where the pressure to succeed is intense, having a dedicated agent can provide performers with the strategic direction needed to build a sustainable and fulfilling career without succumbing to the fear of being sidelined. For instance, many performers are gripped by the fear that prolonged periods out of the spotlight could label them a ‘has-been’. While this fear can drive individuals to either give up or pursue every opportunity that comes their way, a scattergun approach without strategic direction can ultimately harm their long-term employability and personal brand. Under the guidance of a Talent agent with years of industry experience and a genuine investment to see you succeed, can be the guiding light in the right direction.

Showcasing your worth

Serving as a trusted advocate and professional endorsement, by having an established agency behind you can significantly impact perceptions among casting directors. Representation acts as a sounding board to casting directors, underscoring your talent and achievements, and positioning you as a professionally recognised individual, worth their time and potential investment. As such many castings are opened to represented talent only or are filtered through a system on platforms like Spotlight, which enables casting directors to prioritise submissions from represented talent, effectively leaving unrepresented performers in the shadows.

In addition, as a self-represented performer, a lot of downtime is spent marketing and positioning yourself towards castings and opportunities, which can be a relentless and hard task, especially for new graduates trying to show their worthy of the opportunity. By being represented, a talent agent does this work for you and is your biggest cheerleader in showcasing your worth to the industry.

However, it’s essential to note that the value of representation lies not just in having an agent, but in having a competent and reputable one. A good agent not only provides support and guidance but also instils confidence in their clients by recognising and nurturing their potential, serving as a powerful asset in amplifying performers’ visibility and credibility in the entertainment industry.

Finale

To navigate this competitive industry and gain access to exclusive opportunities, invaluable advice, and crucial industry contacts, seeking representation becomes not just advisable, but essential.

A dedicated agent can serve as a guiding force, helping performers cut through the noise, showcase their unique talents effectively, and unlock doors to crucial opportunities. In an industry where connections and visibility are paramount, the right representation can make all the difference between stagnation and success.