Booking Agent

What does a Booking Agent do?

Booking agents represent and promote artists, performers and athletes in dealings with current or prospective employers. In general, a booking agent acts as a middleman between talented creative types and those that are looking to hire them. They may handle contract negotiation and other business matters for clients. Many booking agents choose to represent only one type of client, such as musicians, actors or models.

A booking agent’s responsibilities may include:

  • conducting auditions or interviews to evaluate potential clients
  • conferring with clients to develop strategies for their careers, and to explain actions taken on their behalf
  • negotiating with managers, promoters, union officials, and other persons regarding clients’ contractual rights and obligations
  • working with a publicist to ensure that clients are getting media exposure
  • scheduling a client’s performances
  • scouting out venues
  • making travel arrangements
  • keeping informed of industry trends and deals
  • collecting fees, commissions or other payments, according to contract terms.

Interview with a Booking Agent

Melissa Conradie | BOOKING AGENT & MEDIA MANAGER | Breakout Agency

What did you study, and where?
Contemporary Music and Management at Damelin.

Why did you choose this profession?
I wanted to be a Rock Star 🙂

What work training did you undergo?
The course at Damelin gave us practical and theoretical knowledge in all aspects of being a musician. From vocal training, live performance and sound engineering to learning about marketing, advertising, the music business and the history of music genres.

Is there a type of personality best suited to your line of work?
You have to be an outgoing, energetic person because the job has crazy working hours and you spend a lot of time at events.

Is experience as important as formal training?
My course at Damelin was a great platform to get into the business, and what I have learnt through experience has been incredible too, so I would say they are both very valuable.

Does your theoretical knowledge assist you in the course of your work?
The marketing, advertising and music business parts of my course have been the most essential part of what I do today.

Describe a typical day on the job
A typical day starts with going through all my emails and responding to requests. I get to book the artists I look after for shows, then I’m sending mails and making phone calls to submit my artists for key festivals and concerts coming up, or communicating with press and media to promote and market the festivals and shows I work on. Usually in the evening there’s a live event to attend, where I get to mingle with other people in the industry and enjoy watching artists perform.

What do you like the most about your job?
I love that I get to work in the music industry and with some of the country’s most talented artists. I get to go to great events and watch some incredible live acts.

Anything that you’re not keen on?
Only one thing… I work long hours!

What factors helped you climb the ladder to where you are now?
I’ve met some great people in the industry through the guest lecturers at college; people who gave great advice which has helped me to work my way up the music industry ladder.

What’s been the highlight of your career?
Seeing my artists succeed and watching their careers grow bigger and bigger.

What advice do you have for students?
Listen to what people have to say and ask as many questions as possible; there’s no such thing as a dumb question. We learn a lot from other people because they have the experience that you want.

Describe your job in three words
Best Job Ever!

Interview with a Booking Agent

Sonia Bodla | AGENT/BOOKER | Boss Models

What is it that you do for a living?
I book models and actors for work in films, television commercials and magazines.

Why the modelling industry?
The funny thing is that the industry actually chose me (and that’s a true story)!

What training did you undergo?
I undertook a Diploma in Fashion Design. I also did some modelling myself when I was younger, so I gained a good sense of the industry through that.

Is there a type of personality best suited to this work?
You need to be outspoken, have a good eye for beauty and have an understanding of the differences between human beings. You definitely need to be in control of your emotions at all times.

Experience versus formal training
Experience is of major importance in this game as I doubt you can train a person to see the things that experience teaches you.

What do you love the most about your job?
Changing lives, especially the lives of young guys and girls; showing them that they can make anything of themselves in features, and showing them the value of self-confidence.

Any aspects you aren’t keen on?
None to be honest, and if there are any, they usually last about five minutes and they are gone, so I don’t recall them much. It is never personal.

What’s been the highlight of your career?
The challenges I am faced with, the self-respect I have gained and the opportunity to have worked with such an amazing team. The eight years that I have spent working with them feels like a lifetime together!

What are your goals for the future?
I will have succeeded if I can continue working in a business this frustrating, with all its daily challenges, and still embrace the work that I do!

Advice for wannabe bookers
Don’t be big-headed or have a bullish ego as you can be reduced to a lamb in five minutes! Have barrels of self-confidence. If you have trust issues, don’t touch this industry with a barge pole. Be willing to listen and take advice, to ask questions and be open-minded. Don’t be too hungry for it, you might just burn out! Most importantly, enjoy yourself and have fun.

Describe your job in three words
Challenging, Rewarding and Stimulating.

WHAT QUALIFICATIONS DO I NEED?

Although formal education is not always necessary when pursuing a career as a booking agent, it is highly recommended. Aspiring booking agents should consider earning a bachelor’s degree in areas like public relations, marketing or human resources. Minors in areas like music business or film production can also help you collect contacts and help you learn more about these industries. An internship is another way of getting hands-on experience, as well as learning from successful professionals in the industry. It is beneficial to be registered with a reputable association within the industry.

WHAT SUBJECTS DO I NEED?

Contact each institution for their specific requirements, but these subjects are recommended: 
• Music
• Drama

WHERE CAN I STUDY?

Damelin
Various Courses
www.damelin.co.za

IMM Graduate School of Marketing
Bachelor of Business Administration: Marketing Management
www.imm.co.za

University of Johannesburg
Marketing Degree; Degree: Public Relations and Communication
www.uj.ac.za

North-West University
Marketing Degree
www.nwu.ac.za

Cape Peninsula University of Technology
National Diploma /Bachelor of Technology: Marketing; National Diploma: Public Relations Management
www.cput.ac.za

Tshwane University of Technology
National Diploma/Bachelor of Technology: Marketing; National Diploma: Public Relations Management
www.tut.ac.za

University of the Witwatersrand
Degree: Public Relations and Communication
www.wits.ac.za

Durban University of Technology
National Diploma: Public Relations Management
www.dut.ac.za

WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFO?

Music Managers Forum South Africa (MMFSA) - www.samro.org.za
Advertising Media Association of South Africa (AMASA) - www.amasa.org.za
National Association of Model Agencies (NAMA) - www.nama.co.za

Sources:
www.mymajors.com
www.theartcareerproject.com
www.musiceducationmadness.com