Written By: Brandy Miller | December 8, 2017 | No Comments
Hollywood is a different kind of place, isn’t it? No, I’m not talking about the politics of the place. I’m more referring to the legions of people working under-paying jobs in order to give themselves time to hit it big, despite the overwhelming odds of every person ultimately hitting the big time. Such is life in the sports and entertainment industry.
Sports and entertainment have one major thing in common. There are far more people who would do anything to get a job in the industry than there are jobs. The result is that while most of the public sees the chosen and select few who are globally famous and making more money than they can spend, there are countless more people struggling to make ends meet in an effort to try to last in an industry where no matter what job you have, there are millions behind you willing to do the job for less money.
Consider looking at the sport of baseball as an example, where less than two percent of anyone who ever plays professional baseball in an affiliated minor league system ever play a day in the major leagues. That’s after the natural process of taking only the very best after each level of baseball takes only the best from the level before. Then, of the people that actually make the major leagues, the average career lasts only two years. Unless you are the select chosen few, sports is a profession where few will ever make good money at any time in their careers.
Needless to say, in such an industry, millions of people with legitimate talent feel the need to do anything and sacrifice everything just to have a shot. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking sports or entertainment, they are both the same. This makes for very uneven bargaining leverage for anyone who actually gets a chance to work in their chosen field. And the powers that be always take advantage of that.
It’s hard to tell a young aspiring actor, entertainer, or athlete not to be desperate and insist on protecting their rights at what seems like the risk of never getting that shot at all. But the young person who does so will make the money they deserve instead of letting the powers that be take all of the profit from their work.
How do you make sure you are not taken advantage of? First, and by far most important, have representation early. There are professional agents and lawyers in each field who have dedicated their entire careers to this area, and they will make sure you are protected from those that want to take your livelihood from you.
However, most aspiring athletes and entertainers find that those well known agents will not take their business until they’ve already become big in the business. That’s okay because there are a number of less well-known professionals who are glad to help, and often are willing to defer payment for their services until the young person begins to make big money in their field. I always recommend legal counsel, as lawyers are legally bound to represent the client in the client’s best interest, whereas an agent is often not bound by such restrictions.
Finally, always remember your worth. For both athletes and entertainers, endorsement deals can be lucrative even when you are just starting out, and taking the time to build your image and your brand is sound business. Protect your rights and your value because no one else will.