Melissa Mangum | Commercial/Print Agent, Founder
Q: Why did you start your business?
A: I was working as a commercial producer prior to starting my business. Once my son was born, I knew I wanted to continue working in entertainment but I needed to figure out a way to get off set, to give myself more flexibility. I didn’t mind the long hours and the chaotic madness inherent in the industry, but I needed the ability to spend more time at home. I started Minc Talent, a talent agency representing actors for film, television, commercial and print in 2010. As an agent, so long as I have Internet and a working phone line, I can technically be anywhere. Thus, being an agent has afforded me the flexibility I need to be a mom and to support my family.
Q: What are some key factors or decisions that contributed to the success of your business?
A: Surrounding yourself with the right people to push things forward is key to any business. A wonderful woman who was formerly a casting director has been heading up our film and television division for the past six years. This allows me to stay focused on the commercial and print division, as well as the general operating considerations of the business. I have a very strong assistant who has been with me for many years. By understanding how best to focus my efforts and energy, I can keep the business growing.
Q: What are some challenging aspects of your business?
A: There are many challenging aspects. We represent actors and our actors ultimately represent our agency. There are many factors over which we have no control. We put forth a lot of energy on the front end to ensure that we are bringing on talent who will not only contribute to the bottom line, but whom we can also have a working business relationship with. We intentionally represent a smaller group of talent to be able to keep up with the level of communication and relationship we like to have with our talent. We encounter many personalities, varying levels of professionalism, and varying levels of business knowledge. This can pose many challenges but in the end, our work is very fulfilling.
Aside from the talent we represent, the work itself requires multi-tasking experts. I can be very focused on reviewing a contract and there are three calls on hold for me. Or four people in the waiting room that are there to see me. Being constantly pulled in multiple directions requires ability to shift gears very quickly. On the plus side, there is never a dull moment in our work.
Q: Do you feel you made any serious mistakes as you were starting or growing your business? Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently?
A: Starting the business as a partnership was a mistake. When you are entering new territory with many risks and unknowns, it is comforting to have someone alongside you, clocking in sweat equally. It is difficult to forecast and foresee what potential issues you may have with a partner. Will their priorities change? Will they continue to clock in as much work as you are? In retrospect, it is easy to say I should have taken the gamble on my own from the outset, especially since the initial investment was very minimal. In this business, it’s ultimately time expenditure that will make or break you. And if you’re not partnered with someone who will clock in the time, it’s very difficult for a partnership to run smoothly. Fortunately, the partnership ceased early in the business.
Q: What other advice or words of inspiration would you like to share?
A: Make the jump but always be smart. If there are aspects to a business in which you are not knowledgeable, get knowledgeable, or surround yourself with people who can help you. There will always be unknowns, but you want to minimize costly mistakes.
About Minc Talent
Minc Talent represents talent of all ages in the areas of film, television, commercial and print.
"I was working as a commercial producer prior to starting my business… I didn’t mind the long hours and the chaotic madness inherent in the industry, but I needed the ability to spend more time at home."—Melissa Mangum