Entertainment Agents

RULE #1: If an Agent names themselves “(anything) ENTERTAINMENTS walk away! There’s no ‘S’ in entertainment!!

To All Those Entertainment Agents…

  • That work with me – I love you all, thanks for the loyalty.
  • That have never worked with me – Give me a call,  over 2000 satisfied clients, over 20 years and no complaints.
  • That no longer work with me – My career and reputation continue to flourish without you.

CHEAP AGENTS

Today I was contacted by a new (unfamiliar) agent, asking for my ‘Best Price’ for a peak-date job. I normally hang up at this point, but it had been a while since I spoke to a bottom-feeder, so I entered into a discussion with him about prices. He told me that he likes to keep the client happy by offering a cheap price; “That way they always come back to me!” was his theory. I countered with “If you sell a monkey as a professional, then the client will never use you again!”

It was at this point that I realised why I disagreed with many agents. His phrase “…keep the clients happy” was neither endearing nor true. He should be wanting to keep his artists happy, by paying a decent wage! Agents only book cheap acts for two reasons;

  1. because they have cheap clients,
  2. because they can add a huge commission and feed off both clients and artists!   This practice does no-one any good. It rips off the clients, it rips-off the artists and makes the agent look like an asshole.

I declined his job, maintained my integrity and left him to deal with the amateurs and skin-flints he was accustomed to!

I am proud to be represented by a few good agents, who sell me to a discerning client base, who want style, talent and a dazzling professional to entertain their guests. Money is rarely a part of the negotiation, just as it should be.

IMAGINE:

If football agents promoted only the cheapest players… Football would be unwatchable!

If casting agents promoted only the cheapest actors… Movies would be unwatchable!

So why on earth would an entertainment agent promote the cheapest, crappest artists?

NEW Agents

Had a call from a new agent yesterday, who called me because they needed a ‘Table-Hopper’ and of his 23 Caricaturists (Rosta) I was the only one described as a this!  The agent honestly believed that his 22 remaining artists all sat at an easel and waited for guests to sit down for ten minutes. This either shows that the agent has no clue or that his rosta contains 22 Caricaturists that don’t have a clue!  Is this the new generation we want to represent us??  Lets all just get a second job, pack our bags and move to the nearest pier, where we can peddle away our miserable lives now if that’s the case!

Agent’s Promises
Don’t you just love it when an Agent makes promises on your behalf? Especially when you turn up to a 3 hour booking and the client says “You will of course draw all 70 of us? The Agent said you would!”
Just had a confirmation call from an Agent regarding a gig this evening, at the end he told me “There’s only 50 guests, client wants them ALL drawn. Bye!”  I’m due to finish at 11.30pm in London, so there’s NO chance I’m gonna stay longer to draw the last few drunkards (who have been hiding all evening). I’m afraid the Agent will have to deal with the Client’s complaint on monday…. though of course its ME who will be the villain! I lose again. Thanks Agents everywhere.
…or am I just being “Awkward”?!
Contd…
Oh yes and to all those Agents who have used my services for their own promotions, own weddings or charity events at vastly reduced rates “AS A FAVOR” in return for promised work… I’m still waiting! The Entertainment Directory take note!

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Online Agencies

These are my opinions, based on 20 years experience and the reports from fellow artists:

Intro: Online Caricaturist/Entertainment Agencies (for those who don’t know) are blanket websites set-up by individuals who know very little about the art of caricaturing, to corner a market in order to make money from the talents of others (artists). These sites encourage shoppers to “COMPARE THE ARTIST” looking primarily at an artist’s published price, then location, before even looking at how good they may or maynot be at their job. These agents clearly show no loyalty to their individual artists, as they list dozens of artists, side by side (regardless of ability or experience), then pitch enquiries to a few who have to bid against each other in order to secure a booking. Such Agencies will be reluctant to tell the Artist how much they are charging the client however. This is a generalisation which I have found to be true.

 

 ***1C

Just been talking to a very distraught colleague, upset after being undercut by his close friend and colleague, via 1C. Its bad enough that a colleague should step on another’s toes by bidding for a job on another’s doorstep, but it is business after-all. However, when an agency encourages the market to drop its prices in order to win a job, then it becomes a brawl.  The winning artist was allegedly paid less than £230 for 3 hours entertainment!! Well done 1C, another artist underpaid, another client sold the cheapest. This story is all to familiar today and thats why I do not deal with 1C, because someone needs to show integrity round here!

…Cont’d

Last weekend three carix worked together at a gig. Two were booked via 1C and allegedly being paid £300 and £200 for the same hours. When prompted, the client boasted of having paid £1000 to 1C for the two artists… Now my maths isn’t great, but if true that’s a commission of £500 or 100% on both!

One of the carix was a newbie and told of how 1C had allegedly paid them just £200 for a 5 hour booking recently and how they were pressuring them to work at a low wage, exclusively or risk being struck-off their books!  That verges on slavery!

If these reports are true, then 1C really have sunk to a new all-time low! This agency really should not be teaching new artists bad business practice and the sooner we (the Artists) boycott them altogether, the better!

***WB

Now these were a nice bunch of guys, new to the scene, handing out random gigs. Then they decided to monopolise the caricature market by building a Super-market style online agency and publish artists’ prices. Unfortunately they don’t like their artists also being visible online and so started sending petty emails regarding ‘trust issues’… it seems I am “AWKWARD”! I am proud to say they are added to my list of online agencies that no longer list me as one of their slaves! You guys can kiss ass and let them run your business for you, I’m gonna concentrate on running my own.

***MM

Just had an appalling report from a carix who alleged he was promised £200 from a booking, to find the client had reportedly paid £350 to the above agency for his services!  Whilst MM claim to “always try to do the best for our team”, this complaint came from one of their team who was clearly not happy with their treatment of him. I am merely the reporter!

I would suggest they pay their artists what they are worth and charge the client appropriately, rather than profiteering from both… But this is just the Editor’s opinion.

The same agency recently approached a colleague, caricaturist of over 20 years experience and asked for his details. On providing his fees, he was told that MM would not be using him as their ‘team’ rates were just £200 – £250! So the seasoned professional was turned away in favor of newer, cheaper acts… That cannot be good for the clients surely? Its certainly not good for an artist who has supported agencies all his career, but that’s loyalty for you!

Addendum

From Artist Dave:

“Here’s an honest account of some of my experiences with MM, which is true to the best of my knowledge and experience. I’m happy for you to pass this on to any potentially interested parties. I have emails from magical memories confirming these accounts are true: –

On several occasions, they have persuaded me to take a drop in fee because their client is on a ‘tight budget’. On one of these occasions, I accepted a drop from £300 to £200 to secure the booking. At the booking, I noticed the client’s written budgeting figures which simply read ‘caricaturist £350’. When I challenged MM, I was told this fee also included ‘other services’ but they did not specify what these were. Unlike most agencies, they do not display their own fee as part of the contract, and do not allow an entertainer to see the client’s direct contact details, or to discuss fees with clients. They also threaten entertainers with a £1000 fine if they provide their own contact details to a client.
On another occasion, I quoted £225 for a 2 hour booking as I believed this was reasonably competitive – only to discover they had charged the client £850. To fulfill my moral duty, I felt I had no choice but to take the work home and spend an extra 4 hours fine – detailing it for him, before posting it back at my own expense. MM refused to pay me a penny more than the £225 contracted fee, which covered my work and 500 miles travel expenses.
On a third occassion, they told me a client was dissatisfied with my work, and was refusing to pay, not because of the quality of my work, but simply because I had had a pint of beer, which is in breach of their own zero alcohol clause, and the fact that I had accepted 2 tips totalling £15 (I had worked 15 minutes overtime to get everyone finished). I phoned the hotel hospitality manager who told me that to her knowledge the client had been entirely happy with everything that evening. MM refused to allow me to contact the client directly, and ignored my requests to see messages to or from the client discussing this dispute. When I threatened them, they later conceeded the client had ‘since’ paid up, and paid me.”
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In Defence…
In defence of MM on this occasion, I must say that the Artist is partly at fault here. The artist accepted the fee offered by the agency and so should not moan at being paid the amount he asked for, also he really should not be fraternizing with or contacting any clients regarding fees paid. In this respect, the Agency has not ripped off the Artist, only the client. As for alcohol, tips and overtime; always stick to a contract and avoid alcohol if asked, never work overtime unless paid by the agent, but always keep tips, as these are no business of any Agency!
A good head for business comes after many years of dealing with Agencies, contract, clients and grey areas. Once you have discovered your worth, you should ask for a proper fee in the first place, then stick to the contract, avoiding grey areas and all will be happy!
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Exclusivity

Funny how I’ve had 20 years of Agents bending my ear, insisting that I am exclusive to THEM only (while offering no loyalty in return), even had one online agent (Warble) asking to use photos that NO-ONE else had seen. Then when I tell them I have cropped my agent rosta and am now more or less exclusive to them, they call me ‘POMPOUS’!  Oh well, I can’t win! LOL

Ditching the chaff

Following a recent dispute concerning online agencies and my relationships with them, I decided to have an online clear-out. I have effectively severed ties with all online agents on my rosta, namely those that list me online but don’t use me… thats goodbye to 86 sleeping agents. Only 7 agencies have passed work my way over the last 12 months and so these deserve my undivided attention. To them I owe a debt of gratitude and I look forward to working with them again soon.

I wish all artists would follow suit and ditch the Chaff that benefits from their images on site, but never pays a wage.

Never let it be said I am a hypocrite; I choose not to appear on price comparison websites and anyone now displaying my work or my fee is doing so against my wishes!

PS:   Had two bitchy agency responses to my decision, but several positive responses from happy agents who understood my stance and were happy to work with me. Some agents just have huge chips and want to project them onto me.

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BAD FOR BUSINESS….

It has come to light in 2012 that one Entertainment Agency in particular has decided to insult it’s artists by paying fees so low, only students are willing to accept them. In fact, this Agent by-passes its qualified, talented, experienced artists entirely and chooses to conscript students by running Caricature Competitions at Art Schools, then awarding the winner a highly paid professional booking; for £80!! This is insulting to all professional artists and clients alike, as I’m sure the Agent would never admit to a cash paying client, the true fee for the amateur they are being sold!  I for one will be boycotting this Agency and call on all other artists to do likewise. I cannot name these Shameless Crooks, but the Slimey Charlatans are well know within the industry for Shafting Caricaturists and I shall not Sleep Calm until their artist rosta is dry and they are Suitably Chastised!!

Addendum: A well established artist recently alleged that the above agent SC had paid them just 1/3 of what they had charged the client (£1000). Some may say this is good business, but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, when an agent is underpaying an artist and overcharging a customer… Unless both artist and customer are happy of course, then the fault lies with themselves!

Again I suspect SC are choosing their cheapest artists in order to make the maximum profit, while convincing the client they are getting ‘top of the range’ artists. Despicable.

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Comments
  1. karl says:

    Merry christmas and a have a great new years from a fellow caricaturist.

  2. karl says:

    hey george, karl again! just want to know if the caricature agency is good or not to apply too..? Also i am based in West London to answer your previous reply 🙂

    am still looking for reputable work but am going in low for quotes, ie wedding invites and parties etc and think my prices are putting people off! any pointers on prices etc as i got asked for some thank you cards and said £45 a day which i think is too cheap but reasonable but no replies back.!

    cheers for the help, am very grateful

    cheers

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