9 Hollywood Agents You Don’t Wanna Meet
Los Angeles is chock full of film industry folk to network with. Larry Chiang character compasses (reads people) like an NBA advance scout. Harvard Business School’s, Harbus, featured him in a cover story, “What They Don’t Teach You At Stanford Business School“. NOTE: The opinions, views and comments expressed in this column, ‘What They Dont Teach You At Business School‘ and article, “9 Hollywood Agents You Don’t Wanna Meet” are solely those of Lawrence H Chiang and not of this publication. You HAVE the right to rebroadcast, retransmit, otherwise regurgitate or tweet any or all of his content as it is not copywritten*.
Chiang is marketing the movie rights to his book INSIDE of his book (and at Sundance on Jan 23, 2010)
By Larry Chiang
Los Angeles, Calif — July 23rd —
I’m just a newbie in the industry with a small property that is getting me into some meetings. Here’s a peek behind the curtain of Hollywood, specifically the secret world of agents.
I proudly present the nine agents you don’t wanna meet:
-1- The SuperAgent in Training
Currently only a junior assistant, but that doesn’t keep their ego in check. Feels stratospheric since leaving the mailroom two months ago. Has two agency business cards. One is the official one that says his real title, “Biatch” and the other one he printed at Kinko’s. Will treat you worse than his boss’ boss only because he can only say ‘no’ and never can say ‘yes’.
-2- The Armchair Agent
Will talk your ear off about how they’d manage Cruise, Pitt or Clooney if they repped them. Too bad their own client portfolio doesn’t get as half as much analysis and thought.
Harvard Law School-ers might make fun of their dumber MBA classmates, but when it comes to networking, MBAs palm press and kiss butt for clients almost as good as a Hollywood superagent.
-3- The Networker
This uber hard palm presser just keeps working the room. He knows everyone. Its hard to get mad at a person who is constantly introducing you to people, but when pressed won’t take you on officially as a client. They’ll use you to get to your friends and generally keep networking until they find their golden goose client.
-4- De-worse-ify You.
Thinks that if you branch off into a singing between film gigs (or acting between writing screenplays) that they can start repping musicians. Wait, who is Joaquin Phoenix’ agent again?! Yes, lets get our Oscar winner into the rap industry.
-5- Talent-Gate to Fill a Talent Pool
Wants you to fit into a celebrity development track or talent lane that they feel is underserved. Yah sure you’re a comedian on-the-rise or writer-on-the-cusp, but there are wide open lanes for tall, Kung Fu fighting, Asian dudes. Yes, they will voice-over your non-Chinglish accent. KungFu Panda, the reality show prequel… You should SOOOO go audition for that!
-6- The Legacy
It used to somewhat matter what your dad did here in LA. Now its just all about deal-flow. Wait, your dad’s name helps you meet people and get invites to industry events. So, if I go with you I’ll be springboarding with a coat-tailer.
-7- The Dual Producer / Agent / MBA
Went to Peter Stark Producer’s Program at SC and even has an Ivy MBA. Had stints in banking (NY) and venture capital (Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park California). Has never made more than $100k in any 12 month time period. Owes more than $250k in school loans and is looking for their “My Big Fat Greek Wedding / Passion” independant mega-hit to cover his school loans and remaining 4 years of Porche payments.
-8- The Non Agent
Just because you’re a lawyer in the LA area, doesn’t make you an agent. By day they advise commercial real estate, consult on tax, or advise on intellectual property. They did one quasi entertainment “deal” liquidating prequel/sequel rights after a messy divorce proceeding for a developer and wallah, they’re an agent. Buddy, unloading prequel rights to Casper the friendly ghost doesn’t make you a Hollywood superagent.
-9- The Agent Actor
There is nothing worse in this town than an acting agent. They can’t do either while they’re dabbling in both. Hard to catch red-handed because they use a pseudonym to express their creative side. During workshops they’re torn between repping rising stars and developing their own craft. The upside is that their train wreck of a life can be optioned as a script. Google my next next property 😉
Oh muh gawd, I just lied too. There are a few more. I was afraid that if the title said eleven, you wouldn’t read this
He is his own assistant while being an assistant. He is the only dude in his agency from Naperville (near Chicago). He has a law degree from night school while working as a consultant for Accenture/Arthur Anderson.
This dude hustles, is street smart and has a nose for talent. You don’t wanna meet him because you don’t have enough talent for this rising, bulldog agent, rainmaker.
-11- Mr Vacationer
Does ‘lunch’ 12 times a year and hosts two agency events. He hates being on or near the “scene”. Goes on vacation 26 weeks a year and lives with three blackberries tailored right into his suit. If the blue tooth frequencies don’t kill ’em the year-round suntan surely will.
Take note: My book’s business case study is getting turned into a movie (I hope). I am promoting the movie rights at the Sundance Film Festival where I am a hosting The AfterParty. Consider reading this your golden invite to my Sundance after party Jan 23, 2010.
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Larry’s mentor Mark McCormack wrote this in 1983.
His own book comes out 09-09-09. It is called ‘What They Don’t Teach You At Stanford Business School‘.
Larry’s book releases 09-09-09
This post was cranked out in about an hour so email me if you see a spelling or grammatical error(s)… larry@larrychiang com
Larry Chiang started his first company in college. He mimicked his mentor, Mark McCormack, founder of IMG who wrote the book, “What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School”. He has testified before Congress and World Bank on credit.
Text or call him during office hours 11:11am or 11:11pm PST +/-11 minutes at 650-283-8008. If you email him, be sure to include your cell number in the subject line.