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jerryking : vindictiveness   1

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

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