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Topic: Agent etiquette
Message: Posted by: bsears (Jun 6, 2005 05:45PM)
I was working for an agent when another agency approached me and said they'd like to start working with me too.

My contract with the first agency states that I am required to send all performance enquiries back through them. The second agency thought this was ridiculous in this case, as it would add another set of fees and result in a second "middle man." Although I agreed with that point, I decided to do the right thing and call the first agency to feel them out on the matter. I figured agency #2 would be impressed with my integrity, if nothing else.

So I called the original agent to explain things. He was impressed with my desire to be honest and above-board, but insisted that any gigs booked through the second agency go through them too, fees included. They told me this "sub-sub contracting" was not uncommon.

We (the three of us) are in the process of negotiating a fee/commission structure that would allow everyone to get a piece of the pie while (hopefully) keeping the pricing competitive.

I've been working for talent agents for 18 years, yet this is a new one to me. Anyone else doing this or have any additional info as to how common this is?
Message: Posted by: Kevin Ridgeway (Jun 6, 2005 06:05PM)
Bsears...
I assume then that you signed an exclusive with the first agent? If so, then yes this is normal and what you must deal with. However, they will sometimes work together as it seems they are.

If you are not aware that you signed an exclusive, then I would take out your contract and look at it again.

Best wishes

Kevin
Message: Posted by: Allan (Jun 7, 2005 09:53AM)
If the second agent saw you on a job that you were doing for the first agent, then the new job should go through the first agent. If they saw you elsewhere, then you should be free to book yourself to the second agent unless you have signed an exclusive contract with the first agent.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Jun 7, 2005 10:00AM)
I essentially agree with Kevin. For many years I owned an agency. There is a world of difference being the exclusive agent and just an agent. If the relationship is just "an agent of _______", it is a one piece of paper at a time deal. You can have all the agents you want.

Exclusive agency means that for a stated set of purposes. It may cover all magical performances or be limited to "Any performances except for ______", stage shows only, only bookings paying over $_____ per show, only weekday performances, performances 200 miles from _____, etc.

My experience has been (since the late 1950s) that along with exclusive agency come stated responsibilities for the agent too. The most common in mine was the guarantee of forty weeks work a year at a given level of revenue and check points every six months. (Very common in union contracts) That one item kills the desire in most agents to have an exclusive agency agreement unless they are good at it.

With an exclusive, going through other agents is possible but it does still flow through the exclusive agent. (They should actually be handling it totally.) In my experience, the exclusive agent aggressively represented the act to other sub-agents. It did not change the agency commission the act had to pay. The exclusive agent paid the sub-agent. For a guide, look at real estate agency sales agreements.

I like having an exclusive agent. Currently, I do not. But it is my preferred method. If you look at my public website, you will see that I expect references from agents. Good ones usually have good ones. Even a bad history is better than No history. Experience you don’t have to pay for is worth something. If they have no “aged” and “established” contacts, they have very little to offer you at any price. Good secretaries are much more effective than mediocre agents. And they work only for you. Handling it all by yourself makes you a part-timer. That may be good enough. If it isn’t, don’t seek amateur help. It’s too available!

Back to your specific problem. "Show me the contract!" This sounds like smoke to me.

Good Luck!

Bob
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: bsears (Jun 7, 2005 11:04AM)
Sorry, let me clarify. This is not an exclusive agent. My per-show contract stipulates that any inquiries about my services be directed back through the agency and that I am not to provide, in any manner, a method for contacting me by other means.

This is usually not a problem, but I am concerned, in this case, about having too many fees and too many people invloved for my rate to stay competitive and for the communication to the client to remain clear and timely.

I spoke to the first agent about an hour ago, and he is going to talk soon with the second agent to begin working out some details.
Message: Posted by: Kevin Ridgeway (Jun 7, 2005 11:09AM)
This sounds more like a situation where any contacts made or inquiries created from a specific show with that agent must go thru that agent.

That is normal. Anyone that saw you there and liked what you did only saw you because of the first agents gig. They should be justly compensated for any contacts made during that gig.

They should not be compensated for anything outside of that gig.

Kevin