Top positive review
7 people found this helpful
Valuable Information on an Interesting Occupation
on December 18, 2011
My boyfriend has been in a classic rock band for longer than the 16 years I've been with him. I've always been interested in how agents find gigs for their clients and how they build their network. Tom's book, "So You Want to Be a Talent Agent?" goes through this process step by step. In fact, he started for the very same reason - he was fond of a particular singer, and he wanted to help her out. The rest grew naturally.
I was absolutely thrilled that this book maintained a focus on doing this task ETHICALLY. Tom repeatedly says to be scrupulously honest, to believe in your acts, and to treat even complaining clients with patience. His point is that in the long run your reputation is your most valuable asset, If people believe in you, they will use you over other options. If you honestly believe in your acts, your enthusiasm will shine through and get you that sale. If there's an act you just don't believe in - because you feel they're overcharging or because they're extremely unreliable - he recommends you drop them. It's just not worth the angst.
Tom is sure to give you the hurdles and issues to watch out for. Being a talent agent isn't for everyone. You have to be nurturing with your acts, supportive of those who are unsure, and patient with clients. You have to honestly enjoy people interactions. You have to pay attention to detail - getting the spelling of an act's name wrong, or the date on a contract wrong could cause a lot of trouble. You have to follow up after each gig to keep the line of communication open.
There are a wealth of great details in here. So many other books will say "OK now you have to do step X - but I won't tell you how to do that." With this book he gives you real life examples, explains how the task works, provides sample contracts, and everything. You can really hit the ground running.
He gets into some details about the musical world - how ASCAP works, how recording cover songs works, and so on. However, it's important to note that this is a GENERALIZED guide - it has to be, otherwise it would be 800 pages thick. So it does NOT have detailed notes about how to manage actors, for example. It provides the outline of managing a variety of acts including jugglers, bands, and so on. You then apply that to the specific sub-industry you choose to work with.
Are there any down sides here? The book was last updated in 2010, and I found the information fairly up to date. Exact prices for business cards etc. are always going to vary, of course, and that's fine. He gives rough estimates for you to work with. I did find it funny that he recommended paying for self publishing when there are now numerous free options out there that work fantastically well. I don't think there's any reason to pay someone $600+ just to self publish a book. But maybe that's my personal bias. He should have at least mentioned that there are quite high quality free options out there. He talks about getting social security numbers from acts - but I never give that out. I always give out an EIN number, which is a social security alternate, and safer to distribute.
Those are minor complaints, though, in a book chock-full of valuable information. Highly recommended.
I purchased this book with my own funds.