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Michael Ovitz, Hollywood super-agent, on ‘winning at all costs’
SEPTEMBER 28, 2018 | Financial Times | by Matthew Garrahan.

In Ovtiz's 20 years at CAA, it assembled hit after hit, including Jurassic Park, Tootsie, Goodfellas and Dances with Wolves. He talks about the agency as though describing a military campaign (he is a keen student of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War). “When I was at CAA, I had a singular mission, which was to win at all costs,” he says. “We were ultra-competitive and we were in a service business but my thesis was that we weren’t selling a product. We were selling and putting together people’s dreams . . . if we showed a weak link then we would be vulnerable. Vulnerability was a sin.”....Ovitz explains that the memoir evolved from an earlier idea about a book on deals. He played a leading role in the arrival of Japanese companies in Hollywood three decades ago, advising Sony on its 1989 purchase of Columbia Pictures and the sale a year later of Lew Wasserman’s MCA (later renamed Universal, and now part of Sky’s new owner Comcast) to Matsushita. Advising Japanese buyers was a strategic move, he explains. “If the studios are in trouble and going to go out of business, we lose leverage and our clients lose jobs. But if we can bring people in to buy the studios, not only do clients continue to get jobs but we’re the people talking to the owners.”...Ron Meyer and Ovitz
slowly built an empire, starting in television and moving into films, with the aim of representing every significant writer, director and star in town: “no conflict, no interest” was his mantra. It was a radically different model to what had come before. “Agents traditionally fielded orders, so if I was your agent and someone had a job, they’d call me and ask for you,” he says. “Or they’d tell me they had an assignment and, if you happened to be available, I’d pitch you.” Agencies were like “clearing-houses”.....that was archaic. You’re a writer, you’re loaded with ideas . . . why don’t we take those ideas and add elements to them and then sell the whole thing and let you control it? Why would we just wait to answer the phone?”.....Agents took on a more central role in Hollywood after CAA’s rise to power, assembling the composite parts of a film or television project before taking the “package” of script, star and director to the studios....."[Endeavour's] thesis is very similar to the thesis we had [at CAA], which is to expand into new areas that can service clients.”
actors  books  CAA  creating_valuable_content  dealmakers  deal-making  Hollywood  memoirs  Michael_Ovitz  professional_service_firms  Sun_Tzu  talent_management  talent_representation  vindictiveness  Lew_Wasserman 
october 2018 by jerryking
A Former Superagent Bets Big on a More Diverse Hollywood
October 8, 2017 | The New York Times | by Calvin Baker who teaches at Columbia University and is the author of four novels, including “Grace” and “Dominion.”

The offices are in a rapidly transforming corridor of Los Angeles. The work of up-and-coming artists adorns the walls; the soundtrack is classic rap, and the work force looks as harmoniously multicultural and gender-balanced as America imagines itself. These employees aren’t just betting their fates on the movie business but on interlocking shifts in demographics, culture and technology. Macro, King believes, is in the vanguard of a new cultural universe, one made possible by the shrinking space between technology and film. “We’re building a global company for a new majority. We won’t be the only one.” He begins listing mighty firms that fell (MGM, Blockbuster, Time Warner), noting new entities that sprang up seemingly from nowhere (Netflix) and theorizing what the landscape may look like decades from now — before going abruptly silent, to keep from tipping too much of his own hand. “Well, you can imagine,” he concludes, cutting across several lanes of rush-hour traffic on the freeway after missing an exit.

King is not the first to see the problem of diversity in popular culture;
Hollywood  diversity  inspiration  producers  popular_culture  digital_media  talent_representation  packaging 
october 2017 by jerryking
Why Andreessen Horowitz Models Itself After A Hollywood Talent Agency - Venture Capital Dispatch - WSJ
By DEBORAH GAGE
Jan 21, 2011

Andreessen Horowitz’s investors, including university endowments, foundations and funds of funds, are also betting big money on the firm’s story, Horowitz says. The firm aims to flip the venture industry on its head by acting more like a talent agency – specifically Creative Artists Agency, which became so prominent in Hollywood that it was hard to do deals without them being involved.

CAA co-founder Michael Ovitz, who served on Opsware’s board from 2000 until H-P’s acquisition in 2007, shared his secrets with the two partners, Horowitz said — even talking to Andreessen Horowitz’s employees when the firm started so that everybody could be on the same page.

Horowitz says he and Andreessen looked hard at everything Ovitz did, “and a lot of little things, we copied,” including even how Ovitz ran staff meetings.

Like CAA – and unlike more traditional venture capital firms – Andreessen Horowitz employs over 20 well-paid partners whose job is to help clients, i.e. the entrepreneurs, much in the same way CAA agents serve the talent.

Instead of book and movie and TV deals, the partners, each specialists in their fields, find engineers, designers, and product managers; the best marketing and public relations; and relationships with key customers – not just top management, but the guys who run the network and the database. They check references, and research companies and markets.

“When we were at Netscape, John Doerr introduced us to the CEO of AT&T,” Horowitz said. “That’s great, but he’s not buying a Web server. If you have no relationship at that level, it’s not as powerful, so we invest a lot in that.”...Like his firm, Horowitz believes every company should have a great story, too, because it motivates employees and helps explain the company to the outside world. “In a company, hundreds of decisions get made, but objectives and goals are thin,” he says. “I emphasize to CEOs, you have to have a story in the minds of the employees. It’s hard to memorize objectives, but it’s easy to remember a story.”
Andreessen_Horowitz  Marc_Andreessen  Ben_Horowitz  creating_valuable_content  Michael_Ovitz  CAA  partnerships  insights  professional_service_firms  talent_representation  storytelling  reference-checking 
march 2017 by jerryking
Steve Golin: Hollywood’s Anonymous Power Player - WSJ
By JOHN JURGENSEN
Feb. 11, 2016

Anonymous Content also assembled the popular dramas “True Detective,” “The Knick” and “Mr. Robot,” which won a Golden Globe for best TV drama on the same night “The Revenant” dominated the film categories.

Though his company is just one hub in Hollywood’s sprawling machinery of financiers, talent agencies, production companies and distributors, Mr. Golin’s career mirrors the changes reshaping the industry......He turned elsewhere, five years ago, when he saw “House of Cards” sold to Netflix as a two-season package complete with movie stars and director David Fincher. He told his staff to double down on its then-slight television business. Anonymous expects to have 11 series on the air this year, including new shows on Netflix, Hulu and cable channels such as Starz. While a movie is usually a one-off for production fees and other revenue, TV shows can keep on giving over numerous seasons.

Anonymous is a rare example of a production company that moved into talent management.
doubling_down  Hollywood  films  movies  entrepreneur  entertainment  entertainment_industry  talent_representation  packaging  prolificacy 
february 2016 by jerryking
The Mind of Marc Andreessen - The New Yorker
MAY 18, 2015 | New Yorker | BY TAD FRIEND.

Doug Leone, one of the leaders of Sequoia Capital, by consensus Silicon Valley’s top firm, said, “The biggest outcomes come when you break your previous mental model. The black-swan events of the past forty years—the PC, the router, the Internet, the iPhone—nobody had theses around those. So what’s useful to us is having Dumbo ears.”* A great V.C. keeps his ears pricked for a disturbing story with the elements of a fairy tale. This tale begins in another age (which happens to be the future), and features a lowborn hero who knows a secret from his hardscrabble experience. The hero encounters royalty (the V.C.s) who test him, and he harnesses magic (technology) to prevail. The tale ends in heaping treasure chests for all, borne home on the unicorn’s back....Marc Andreessen is tomorrow’s advance man, routinely laying out “what will happen in the next ten, twenty, thirty years,” as if he were glancing at his Google calendar. He views his acuity as a matter of careful observation and extrapolation, and often invokes William Gibson’s observation “The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed.”....Andreessen applies a maxim from his friend and intellectual sparring partner Peter Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and was an early investor in LinkedIn and Yelp. When a reputable venture firm leads two consecutive rounds of investment in a company, Andreessen told me, Thiel believes that that is “a screaming buy signal, and the bigger the markup on the last round the more undervalued the company is.” Thiel’s point, which takes a moment to digest, is that, when a company grows extremely rapidly, even its bullish V.C.s, having recently set a relatively low value on the previous round, will be slightly stuck in the past. The faster the growth, the farther behind they’ll be....When a16z began, it didn’t have even an ersatz track record to promote. So Andreessen and Horowitz consulted on tactics with their friend Michael Ovitz, who co-founded the Hollywood talent agency Creative Artists Agency, in 1974. Ovitz told me that he’d advised them to distinguish themselves by treating the entrepreneur as a client: “Take the long view of your platform, rather than a transactional one. Call everyone a partner, offer services the others don’t, and help people who aren’t your clients. Disrupt to differentiate by becoming a dream-execution machine.”
Marc_Andreessen  Andreessen_Horowitz  Silicon_Valley  transactional_relationships  venture_capital  vc  Peter_Thiel  long-term  far-sightedness  Sequoia  mindsets  observations  partnerships  listening  insights  Doug_Leone  talent_representation  CAA  mental_models  warning_signs  signals  beforemath  unevenly_distributed  low_value  extrapolations  acuity  professional_service_firms  Michael_Ovitz  execution  William_Gibson 
may 2015 by jerryking
Ari Emanuel's WME-IMG Merger: The Possible Financial Troubles
March 2015 | | Vanity Fair | BY WILLIAM D. COHAN.

“Take advantage of each day that's given to you, and do something to move the needle on your business, even if it's just an inch. You've heard it before, but life is not a dress rehearsal. Don't waste your time (or mine).”....In 2009, Emanuel decided to take another big risk. “Nobody fucks up like I do,” he once wrote, “but you'll never succeed unless you take big risks. Big ones.”......“There's nobody more important when it comes to television packaging than Ari and Rick Rosen [WME's television chief],” says entertainment mogul David Geffen. “There's nobody who does it better. For instance, Steven Spielberg was at CAA for decades, and they did nothing for him in television, and he goes with Ari, and he has had seven or eight shows on the air. That's about accomplishment, not about bullshit.”........Over the next decade Forstmann transformed IMG into an international production-and-packaging powerhouse. The expanding business cut profitable deals with more than 200 American college and university sports teams, as well as with Indian Premier League cricket, Wimbledon, the Australian and U.S. Open tennis tournaments, tennis tournaments in Spain and Malaysia, and Barclays Premier League soccer. It ran Fashion Week in New York, Milan, and London, and in China it formed an exclusive joint venture with the national television network to create sports programming—all this in addition to representing such sports stars as Novak Djokovic, Maria Sharapova, and Venus Williams. It also signed up an array of fashion designers and models, including Michael Kors, Diane von Furstenberg, Gisele Bündchen, and Kate Moss.
Ari_Emanuel  mybestlife  talent_management  mergers_&_acquisitions  entertainment_industry  chutzpah  Hollywood  overachievers  Ted_Forstmann  talent_representation  dealmakers  packaging  Silver_Lake  affirmations  idea_generation  creating_valuable_content  hard_work  performance  strivers  sports  fashion  superstars  risk-taking  William_Cohan  James_Baldwin  personal_accomplishments 
march 2015 by jerryking
Hollywood Talent Agency’s New Division to Manage Visual Artists’ Careers - WSJ
By KELLY CROW
Feb. 10, 2015
Should painters and sculptors be treated like movie stars? United Talent Agency thinks so.

The Beverly Hills, Calif., agency known for representing actors like Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie said Tuesday it has launched a division called UTA Fine Arts to manage the careers of contemporary visual artists.

The move marks the first time a Hollywood talent agency has stepped into a role traditionally played by art galleries, and it underscores the growing commercial appeal that top artists wield in the global, multibillion-dollar art market.

Jim Berkus, chairman, said the agency won’t broker art sales or show the art as galleries do, but he said the art division will help contemporary artists amass financing for their creative projects and sign potentially lucrative corporate sponsorships and merchandising deals. Mr. Berkus said the firm will also assist artists who want to get more involved in the moviemaking business....The agency’s arrival is likely to rattle the art establishment, particularly the growing list of mega-dealers who have opened gallery branches around the world and are known for transforming artists into museum-ready superstars.

Marc Glimcher, who oversees the New York powerhouse Pace Gallery, said he thinks talent agents could drive a divisive wedge between artists and their dealers, who have historically guided artists toward commissions or relationships that may secure them a lasting place in art history.

“It sounds like an interesting idea, but it’s going to be super hard to pull off,” Mr. Glimcher said. “If you’re going to be an artist’s agent, you need to know more about their work, their prices and their collectors than their own dealer does—and no dealer will be induced to share that kind of information.”

Beyond market intelligence, Mr. Glimcher said talent agents will need to discern how many commercial deals an artist can shoulder without looking like a sellout to art-world insiders: “Do too much, and you’re just not cool anymore,” he added.
Hollywood  talent_management  career  contemporary_art  artists  product_launches  galleries  lawyers  entertainment_industry  market_intelligence  talent_representation  superstars  art_market 
february 2015 by jerryking
Brash Agent at William Morris Extends Reach in IMG Merger - NYTimes.com
December 17, 2013, 4:12 pm 13 Comments
Brash Agent at William Morris Extends Reach in IMG Merger
By BROOKS BARNES and DAVID GELLES
private_equity  Hollywood  Ari_Emanuel  talent_management  Silver_Lake  talent_representation  entertainment_industry  mergers_&_acquisitions  M&A  talent  chutzpah 
december 2013 by jerryking
With New Move, Jay-Z Enters a Sports Agent State of Mind - NYTimes.com
By KEN BELSON
Published: April 2, 2013

Roc Nation Sports is the newest arm of Roc Nation, Jay-Z’s “full-service entertainment company” that has quickly built a strong reputation representing artists like Rihanna, Shakira and M.I.A. Jay-Z has been temporarily licensed to represent professional baseball players, said Ron Berkowitz, a spokesman for Roc Nation Sports, which also has teamed with Creative Artists Agency, a leading Hollywood agency that provides formidable negotiating authority.
Jay-Z  sports  talent_management  Live_Nation  baseball  talent_representation 
april 2013 by jerryking
Robinson Cano Leaves Scott Boras for Jay-Z’s Agency - NYTimes.com
By DAVID WALDSTEIN
Published: April 2, 2013

In an announcement Tuesday, the new agency, Roc Nation, which is affiliated with Creative Artists Agency Sports, said it had signed Cano as its centerpiece and first client.

The announcement included a statement attributed to Cano.

“At this point in my career, I am ready to take a more active role in my endeavors both on and off the field,” it read. “I am confident that the pairing of Roc Nation Sports and C.A.A. Sports will be essential in helping me accomplish my short- and long-term goals. I am making this important decision now so I can keep my focus on helping the Yankees succeed in 2013, while minimizing any distractions for me and my teammates.”
Jay-Z  sports  talent_management  talent_representation 
april 2013 by jerryking
A New Spin for Corporate Music Deals - WSJ.com
June 13, 2007 | WSJ | By ETHAN SMITH
A New Spin for Corporate Music Deals
Warner Venture With Top Manager Aims to Build on Ties to Artists.

Brand Asset Group, as the newly formed venture with Chris Lighty, the manager of rapper 50 Cent, is called, aims to address one of the biggest complaints among record labels: Their inability to capitalize on lucrative revenue streams such as merchandise sales and image licensing that typically benefit artists and their managers.

For years, labels have been vowing to vault out of the narrow CD and download business and into the "brand" business. Executives have watched in growing frustration as their artists cash in on endorsements, sneaker and clothing deals and the like. Labels have spent millions marketing artists and building their brands, but have benefited from only one dwindling revenue stream.

"The music industry is growing," Warner Chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr. told an investor conference last week. "The record industry is not growing." He went on to say that his company is trying to expand into "many, many other businesses" beyond the sale and licensing of music.
music_labels  music_industry  branding  celebrities  talent_representation  music_publishing 
june 2012 by jerryking
"Silver Lake buys into talent agency."
3 May 2012 | Financial Times | by Matthew Garrahan.

Silver Lake, the technology investment firm , has bought a 31 per cent stake in William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, which represents stars such as Matt Damon and Sacha Baron Cohen, to finance the expansion of the media and entertainment agency into new digital areas,
mergers_&_acquisitions  M&A  talent  digital_media  talent_management  actors  entertainment_industry  Silver_Lake  talent_representation 
may 2012 by jerryking
Andrew Wylie - WSJ.com
MAY 27, 2011 | WSJ Magazine | by Daniel Gross. Profile of old
school literary agent Andrew Wylie, of the Wylie Agency and Odyssey
Editions (distributes electronic versions of books he represents through
Amazon.com)....Wylie remains a rare optimist in publishing circles,
fueled perhaps by the healthy backlists and literary estates he
represents. Information technology may be upending business models, but
he believes the global interconnection these advancements permit
provides immense opportunities for his authors....The devaluation of
quality editing and writing is sad and it's inevitable. Each house has a
large number of titles to publish, and with a difficult economy, fewer
people to handle the publications. But publishers need to become
smaller, leaner, and they will have to learn new disciplines. The whole
one-year publication process must be reduced.

opportunity for Igloo?? Michael Levine
literary_agents  publishing  Michael_Levine  globalization  talent_representation  talent_management  digital_media  Andrew_Wylie 
june 2011 by jerryking
Licence to deal
Mark Medley, National Post · Saturday, Dec. 13, 2008.

An agent’s job description. An agent is a writer’s primary advocate and
chief negotiator (“You are the paycheque,” says Bruce Westwood, founder
of Westwood Creative Artists). An agent will scout new talent; mentor a
writer; mediate problems between author and publisher and, if necessary,
find a new publisher; suggest new sources of income, for example
speaking engagements; and sell foreign rights as well as television,
film and stage rights.

“It’s not just selling the book and doing the deal and leaving them at
the door of their publishing company,” says Jackie Kaiser, who works at
Westwood. “As an agent, I have an interest in helping my writers
understand how they can best navigate the entire publishing process.”
literary_agents  publishing  Michael_Levine  books  scouting  talent_management  digital_media  talent_representation  talent_scouting 
january 2011 by jerryking
Fifteen Percent of Immortality
July-August 2010 | Harvard Magazine | by Craig A. Lambert ’69,
Ph.D. ’78, is deputy editor of this magazine. Profile of literary
agent Andrew Wylie, who aims for the high end—financial and literary.
publishing  writing  literary_agents  talent_management  high-end  digital_media  Andrew_Wylie  Harvard  talent_representation 
july 2010 by jerryking
The Manager as Double Agent - WSJ.com
June 3, 2008 WSJ article by Matthew Gurewitsch which looks at a
record labels' launch of a talent management agency representing
recording artists some of whom were not the label's clients.
branding  music_labels  talent  product_launches  management  artists  music_industry  talent_management  talent_representation 
january 2009 by jerryking

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