Ever heard these names ̶ Halle Berry, Taraji P. Henson, or Julie Benz? If so then meet successful talent manager, Mr. Vincent Cirrincione, the man responsible for guiding the successful careers of these award winning leading ladies of film and TV.
Vincent took some time out of his insanely busy schedule to talk to I Am Entertainment Magazine about his awesome career and to share his expert advice with actors and other industry professionals.
Tell us where you’re from and what got you interested in the entertainment industry?
I’m very New York; born in Brooklyn and I’ve always wanted to be in entertainment.
When did you get into management?
I got into management early on. I started out producing and managing jazz artists in the music business. As I hit my 30s, I decided that I wanted to work with actors and actresses but I had no mentor, and no one wanted to give me a job or an internship because I was older. I had no clue what I was doing, but I just went for it. I told a friend of mine that I wanted start a management company representing actors but I had no office space, so he gave me his closet to work out of, no joke [laughs]. One thing led to another and I ended up managing a lot of people in New York.
The thing is, I didn’t have a Plan B. In order to be successful in entertainment, I don’t believe you can have a Plan B. When I interview actors and they tell me they went to college just in case things don’t work out, it feels like they’re expecting failure. It’s my belief that if you have that “fall back” plan, as soon as the going gets tough, you’re going to fall back. If you have a family and can’t afford to not have a “Plan B,” then those are real things to consider. But if you really want to be successful in anything in life, failure cannot be an option for you.
It should be an all or nothing thing. Nothing in life is guaranteed, even your fall back plan has a chance of failing, so you why not give it your all if acting is what you want to do? Many of my clients, whether it’s Halle Berry, Taraji Henson, or Julie Benz; none of them had a Plan B because they got into the business knowing that this is what they wanted to do for a living.
What exactly do talent managers do?
The best way I can explain it is – let’s say we have a football team. You have the Head Coach, Defensive Coach, Offensive Coach, and Backfield Coach; well I’m the Head Coach. I work with the client’s agents, publicist, and lawyers. I have to help make sure each player is sticking to the initial game plan and things are progressing in a positive way. I don’t wait around for agents to get opportunities for my clients; some of my clients have agents and some don’t.
For agents, their job is to sell as many clients for a project as they can. For a manager, it’s not necessarily like that. A career takes time to develop and sometimes talent will come to me and within 2 or 3 months they leave because they didn’t become instant stars. But I have a lot of clients who stay with me. Halle has been with me for 22 years, Julie has been with me for 22 years, for Ruben Santiago-Hudson it’s been almost 25 years, and Taraji’s been with me for 13 years. People stay with me because I do my job and they believe in me, not necessarily because I’m a nice guy. I don’t promise anything, but one thing I can deliver is me and my staff. I can’t promise a client work, but I can get them opportunities to showcase their talent. It’s up to them to land the job.
At what point do you think actors should pursue the assistants of a manager?
Some people will tell you that you’re not ready for the business, but realistically, every serious actor is ready to begin their career. As an actor, you want all the help you can get. For those people who tell you that you don’t need a manager because you have nothing to manage, the truth is that you do have something to manage, it’s called a dream that needs direction. If you are fortunate enough, you’ll may find someone who really believes in you, but keep in mind that this is a business and some people aren’t going to be crazy about you and your talent. You have to decide what you want for your life, and if someone says you don’t need a manager, then they probably don’t have much faith in your career. If the agent thinks it’s great for you to have a manager, then it shows that they are willing to get as much help as they can with building your career. We are all on the same team because it’s about the client and not what we individually do for the client. Also, it’s not just about getting an agent; it’s really about getting a good agent. A lot of people move out to LA and get with agencies that are factories, so the actor ends up not getting the attention that they need. The reality is, if you’re not making money, it’s hard to find people who are going to give you any attention.